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Volusia County

The two plaintiffs in this action, a 37-year-old female at the time of injury and her daughter, alleged that the defendant driver disregarded a stop sign and caused an intersection collision. The plaintiff mother, who was unrestrained, sustained p 7 3 severe injuries in the accident resulting in her being comatose for four months. The plaintiff daughter, who was wearing a seatbelt, received only minor injuries. The owner and driver of a delivery truck which was parked at the corner were also named as defendants on the theory that the truck obscured the defendant driver’s visibility of the controlling stop sign. The defendant driver settled before trial for his minimum liability policy limit of $________ and the case proceeded against the defendant truck driver and transport company. The defendants argued that the parked truck did not obscure visibility and that the accident was caused solely by the negligence of the defendant driver.

On June 12, ________, the plaintiff mother, her daughter and a back seat passenger were traveling with the right-of-way on Howland Boulevard in Daytona Beach. The defendant driver disregarded a stop sign on New Mark Road and collided with the plaintiff’s car, causing it to roll over, ejecting the plaintiff mother. A delivery truck owned by the defendant transport company was parked on the side of New Mark Road. The plaintiff presented several eyewitnesses who testified that they expressed concern to the investigating officer that the delivery truck was parked too close to the stop sign.

The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the most logical scenario of the accident was that the defendant’s truck was parked within 30 feet of the stop sign and blocked the defendant driver’s visibility as he approached on New Mark Road.

This expert admitted that if the truck was parked ________ feet or more from the stop sign, it would not have blocked visibility.

The plaintiff mother’s medical experts testified that she sustained multiple fractures in the accident including fractures to her right hip, right side of her skull, three right ribs, both sides of the pelvis, cervical vertebra, lumbar vertebra, sacrum and left clavicle. In addition, this plaintiff sustained a closed head injury and brain injury resulting in a four-month coma. She also suffered renal failure and was placed on dialysis. Her medical experts testified that she is required to drain her lungs three to four times daily as a result of her accident-related injuries.

During the plaintiff’s hospitalization, her family was informed that she had no hope of survival and they sought to withdraw life support. The plaintiff is currently able to walk with a cane. Her neurosurgeon testified that she has no permanent cognitive deficits other than a memory loss relating to the accident itself. The plaintiff claimed $________ in past medical expenses and future medical expenses of $________ including the cost of a future hip replacement. The plaintiff’s vocational rehabilitation expert testified that the plaintiff is totally disabled from employment. She was employed as an accounts payable clerk at the time of injury.

The investigating homicide officer testified for the defense that the defendant’s delivery truck was parked more than ________ feet from the stop sign and was not a factor in causing the accident. This officer also testified that there were no skid marks prior to the point of impact. The defendant truck driver testified that he purposely made sure that the truck was parked far enough away from the stop sign so that it would not obscure visibility. The p 7 3 defendant’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the accident was caused solely by the negligence of the defendant driver. In all likelihood the defendant’s truck was parked in excess of ________ feet from the stop sign, according to the defendant’s accident reconstruction expert. However, this expert added that, even if the truck were within 30 feet of the stop sign, it still would not have blocked the defendant driver’s visibility so as to prevent him from avoiding the accident. In addition to the stop sign, there was also a "Stop Ahead" sign and stop bars on the road, according to evidence offered. The defendant’s vocational expert opined that the plaintiff was capable of part-time, sedentary employment.

Volusia County was listed on the verdict form under the Fabre/Messmer Doctrine based on defense arguments that the intersection was dangerous and should have included a traffic light. The defense presented a videotape made by the defendant truck driver which depicted the truck parked in the same spot as the day of the accident. The video showed a driver’s perspective driving up and down New Mark Road and the defense argued that the parked truck did not obscure visibility. The video also showed that a traffic light had been installed at the location. The defense also played a computerized recreation of the accident.

The jury found that the defendant truck owner/driver was not negligent.

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