We Fight For Results in Your Trucking Accident Case
Christopher DiGirolamo, managing partner at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has protected the rights of victims of car accidents, construction accidents, job injuries, and more. This past week, DiGirolamo has settled a trucking accident pre-suit for an outstanding $450,000, proving once again that at MDL, no case is too large to handle.
Recently, Christopher took on the case of the clients, a mother and her three adult sons. They were traveling from Maryland back to their home in New York in a rented vehicle from the Hertz company when the vehicle began to sputter and lose power suddenly crossing over the Delaware Bridge into New Jersey. The mother, quite surprised by this, continued to drive the vehicle but found it in her best nature to contact Hertz about providing roadside assistance – however, Hertz then advised her that they did not have roadside assistance available. They advised the client to drive the vehicle to the nearest Hertz station to provide the assistance she needed.
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The FMCSA has cited in their Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (390.21) that all motor carriers like Hertz shall be marked correctly on the carrier and the truck itself, and also that carrier vehicles must be checked for safety before they are handled by those using the services. Also available on Hertz’s database of U.S. Membership and Rental Terms (parts VII and VIII) that, before operating the vehicle, one must check the car inside and out for cleanliness and any damages that may affect suitability of usage. You are also responsible for the car and anything that happens to the car from the moment that it is unlocked by you in most cases. The client was unsuspecting of what would happen in moments to come.
The Hertz station the client was traveling to was 25 miles away from her location, meanwhile, the vehicle was still showing signs of malfunction but she could not travel any faster than 20-25 MPH on the New Jersey Turnpike. She moved her vehicle into the right lane and was on the phone with Hertz pleading for their help, claiming that she was unsure if the vehicle would be able to make it to the drop-off location. That’s when the unthinkable happened… the vehicle was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer from Canada. The force of the impact was so severe that it propelled the vehicle over a guardrail, down an embankment, and ultimately flipped the vehicle over into a ravine. All four occupants of the vehicle were taken to the ER, where Lateef Grant received 26 stitches to his face. The other three were treated for their injuries and released. It was later determined, after a thorough inspection of the Hertz vehicle, that it had been filled with too much oil and the oil leaked into the engine, causing it to lose power and ultimately leading to the incident on the highway.
Of all involved in the accident:
- Nathaniel Grant was treated for approximately 1 year for knee pain, neck and lower back symptoms stemming from a result of the accident. He was later diagnosed with a knee sprain and a herniated disc in his lower back.
- DaQuan Grant was treated for 4-5 months for neck and back pain and was also diagnosed with disc bulges.
- Shakera Grant was treated for 9 months and was diagnosed with a partially torn labrum in her shoulder, torn ligament in her left ankle and neck, and back pain. She was recommended for shoulder surgery but did not go through with it.
- Lateef Butler received 26 stitches in the forehead that were removed, but was left with a visible permanent scar and raised skin above the eye.
The matter, taken by Christopher DiGirolamo in court, was settled against both Defendants for $450,000. This was divided amongst the Canadian trucking company, VTL Express, Inc. and their driver, Eddy Sanial who paid $400,000 of that sum, and the Hertz Corporation, which paid $50,000 of that.
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The Defendant trucking company argued that Shakera was traveling way too slow in the right lane of the New Jersey Turnpike and he attempted to swerve to avoid hitting her car. Although he rear-ended her vehicle, Shakera was partially at fault for not pulling off the roadway and for driving below the minimum speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike, which was risky in itself. Defendant Hertz claimed that they had instructed Shakera to exit the roadway immediately upon her call and pull over. They also had the audiotape record of the phone call where Hertz recommended that she not continue driving if the car was malfunctioning. Both Defendants were arguing that Shakera had contributed to the collision the moment she didn’t exit the roadway and drove too slowly on the New Jersey State Turnpike. In the end, Christopher DiGirolamo fought for what he believed to be right in the case and settled on the helpful $450,000 granted to the victims of this trucking accident.