On December 3, 2007, 59-year-old Niven Anderson was on his way to West Palm Beach to connect with some of his business customers and had stopped his car at a traffic light in Belle Glade, Florida. Without any warning, the flatbed trailer of a passing commercial vehicle swerved from its lane and smashed its left rear tire into Mr. Anderson’s car. The truck driver did not stop. Fortunately, a local law enforcement officer was at the intersection when the collision occurred, and the truck driver was stopped and apprehended some distance down the highway. In spite of the obvious physical evidence, and eyewitness accounts of the accident, the truck driver denied having anything to do with the accident.
In March 2007, just nine months prior to this accident, Mr. Anderson had suffered severe injuries when, as a pedestrian, he was struck by a passing motorist. He spent 24 days in a hospital undergoing treatment for a badly broken right leg and a cervical fracture. Through outstanding medical treatment and his own hard work, Mr. Anderson was able to slowly put his life back together. Unfortunately, the injuries caused by this accident made Mr. Anderson’s neck and spine more susceptible to further injury should he be involved in another accident. Following the accident caused by the inattentive truck driver in Belle Glade, Mr. Anderson was set back to square one in his physical condition. Because of the damage done by the second accident, he eventually had to endure a four-level cervical fusion of his spine.
The trucking company, Gypsum Express Limited, not only refused to accept responsibility for the injuries caused by their negligent truck driver, and but even refused to acknowledge that the crash had happened. Niven Anderson and his wife, Betty, were forced to file suit in Palm Beach County and sought representation by SDSBS attorneys Jack Hill and Brian Denney. Following two years of pretrial litigation, they were able to present their case to a jury. The attorneys spent eight days fighting the truck company’s many attempts to explain why it was not responsible for Mr. Anderson’s injuries. The trucking company argued that its driver did not hit Mr. Anderson’s car, and that, even if the truck had hit the car, Mr. Anderson’s problems were the result of a combination of degenerative changes and the March 2007 injuries. The trucking company even blamed the driver of a vehicle behind Mr. Anderson’s car, who, in the face of the sudden and unexpected emergency caused by the truck slamming into the Anderson car, had rear-ended the Anderson vehicle. Ultimately, the jury rejected each of the trucking company’s excuses. The jury found the company 100% responsible for Niven Anderson’s injuries and awarded the Andersons over $720,000.
“Through their verdict, it is apparent that the jury was able to see through all of the trucking company’s laundry list of excuses, right to the heart of the case,” said Mr. Hill. Because the defendants had failed to accept the Andersons’ offer to settle the case for $425,000, attorneys Hill and Denney will now seek to recover attorney fees as well.