New Jersey man struck by 18-wheelers reaches $3.8 million settlement lawsuit against trucking companies

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by John Chapman

Early one morning in the summer of 2010, Kyle Kelly was driving home from work on Interstate 380 near Coolbaugh Township, New Jersey. An 18-wheeler travelling on the opposite side of the divided highway veered across the grass median and struck Kelly’s SUV head-on. Kelley and his disabled vehicle were then struck by a second 18-wheeler. Kelly was seriously injured.

Kelly brought a lawsuit alleging that the accident and his injuries were caused by the negligence of the drivers of the tractor-trailers and their trucking companies. The suit—against Isabel Lopez and Proud 2 Haul Inc. and John Bonyea and his employer Leonard’s Transportation Inc.—was scheduled to go to trial in November. However, Kelley has reached a settlement with the defendants.

According to Kelly’s lawsuit, Lopez, who was driving the first truck that crossed from the northbound to southbound lanes, admitted to state police that he took his eyes off the road to search for an apple that he had dropped in his cab. The lawsuit alleged that Lopez and Proud-2-Haul Inc. were negligent for failing to safely drive the truck, violating federal motor carrier safety regulations, failing to keep accurate driver logs and failing to maintain the truck. Similar allegations were made against Bonyea, who drove the second truck, and Leonard’s Transportation.

Kelly, who was 23 at the time, suffered head injuries (including two fractured eye sockets, a fractured jaw and palette, and traumatic brain injury), a broken leg, a broken foot and other injuries. After 16 surgeries and rehabilitation, Kelly still suffers cognitive impairment and has difficulty walking, according to his lawsuit. The defendants have agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle Kelly’s claims.

Get Help With Your Trucking Accident Claim

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, our attorneys have handled dozens of cases involving accidents with 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. We are very proud of the work we had done representing the victims of trucking accidents. For example, our attorneys have helped achieve a $36 million verdict for the family of a teenager injured in a bus crash in East Texas and a $15 million settlement of a case involving an 18-wheeler accident that killed several members of the same family. Our attorneys have also achieved multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements in several other cases involving 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles.

A victim of a trucking accident should not entrust their case to a lawyer with little or no experience with complex trucking accident litigation. Trucking companies and their insurance companies have plenty of money and time to spend fighting against your claim. Such lawsuits can be expensive and difficult. For example, an attorney representing the victim needs to be prepared and able to hire expert witnesses if necessary, including experts in trucking regulations, accident reconstruction and life care planning. To properly pursue a claim against a trucking company, an attorney must not only work hard but be able to spend what it takes to force the trucking companies and their insurers to take responsibility for their actions.

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the experience and knowledge to handle even the most complex trucking accident lawsuits from beginning to end. Significantly, we also have the financial resources to help our clients stand toe-to-toe with even the biggest trucking and insurance companies.

If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost someone in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering. Contact us today by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 or by following the link to our website contact form to receive a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.