$650,000: Tractor Trailer Causes Fatal Car Accident

CASE DESCRIPTION:  Tractor trailer makes U-turn at night on MacArthur Blvd. Two cars crashed into the trailer resulting in the death of two individuals.  Plaintiff argued that poor lighting and no warnings for on coming traffic were contributing conditions that led to the accident.  Defendants claimed that the Decedent was at fault.

RESULT:  $650,000.00 total settlement

Plaintiffs’ Decedents, Howard and June M. were traveling southbound on MacArthur Boulevard at approximately 10:00 p.m.  Defendant James E. was delivering a paving machine to a construction site under the direction of the San Joaquin Transportation Corridor Agency.  Defendant James E. proceeded to make a U-turn in the middle of MacArthur Boulevard in the middle of the night in a poorly lit area.  Decedent Howard M. failed to see the tractor-trailer rig completely blocking MacArthur Boulevard and slammed into the trailer carrying the paving machine.  Both Howard and June M. sustained fatal injuries.  Another vehicle traveling behind them also failed to see the trailer blocking the street and rear-ended the Howard and June’s vehicle.

Plaintiffs contended that Defendants’ vehicle improperly and unsafely blocked the unlit street and that the lighting on the tractor-trailer rig was either not properly working or was insufficient for the roadway conditions.  Two other vehicles were also traveling southbound in the same proximity – red Honda Civic two-door sedan driven by Karen T. (which was traveling behind the plaintiffs’ vehicle and was also involved in the incident), and another vehicle driven by a witness to the accident (which was traveling behind the red Honda Civic and was able to narrowly avoid the collision).

Defendants contended that the lights were working properly and were sufficient and also that Decedent Howard M. was taking medication that impaired his ability to drive.

TYPE OF CASE:  Auto vs. Semi Tractor-Trailer

INJURIES:  Howard and June M. died as a result of the auto accident.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT:  On 9/10/95 at Macarthur Boulevard south of its intersection with Newport Coast Drive in the City of Irvine, California.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE:  Decedent Howard M. -74 at time of incident.
Decedent June M. – 76 at time of incident.

OCCUPATION:  Decedents were retired.

Richard A. Cohn & Wylie A. Aitken
For Plaintiffs – Terry & Thomas M., Kay L., Sandy P., & Caroline B.

John Setchell
For Defendants – James E., Mark T., Individually and d/b/a Protrans Trucking

DEFENDANT INSURANCE CO.:  Golden Eagle/Liberty Mutual