The Tractor-Trailer Crash
Like many who commute in the metro-Atlanta area, Valerie Gregory (not her real name) began her day sitting in standstill traffic on her way to work. On April 18, 2018, Valerie’s vehicle was one of many slowly inching their way on 1-85 South. Valerie patiently waited in stopped traffic on the exit 61 lane towards Fairburn, Georgia. With a stretching yawn and another sip of coffee, she sat thinking about the work day ahead when suddenly her vehicle was hit from behind.
A tractor-trailer slammed at full speed into the line of vehicles stopped in the exit lane. The collision created a ricochet effect causing seven vehicles in the lane to crash into each other upon impact. Valerie’s vehicle, 5th in the line of cars from the trailer, was hit with such force that it flipped over and landed on its side.
Scene of the Truck Accident
Upon arrival, emergency medical personal and the Union County Fire Department witnessed several vehicles scattered about in disarray. Pieces of debris, shattered glass and smoke covered the stretch of road along exit 61. Victims of the horrific collision stumbled out of their vehicles or were assisted out and placed on stretchers to be transported to the emergency room.
Valerie’s vehicle was the only one rolled over on its side. Members of the Union County Fire Department immediately sought to rescue Valerie who was trapped in her vehicle, unconscious and bleeding from the head. For a moment, they thought she was dead. Valerie eventually regained consciousness and the team was able to extract her through the shattered sunroof window. She was then carefully placed on a stretcher, stabilized, and transported to Grady Memorial Hospital.
Head, Neck, and Back Injuries from the Accident
Valerie sustained several injuries all over her body. At Grady, Valerie underwent a “neck dissection.” She remained there for ten days before being transported to Glancy Rehabilitation Center where she continued treatment for several weeks. On May 16, 2018 Valerie had vascular surgery for injuries she sustained to her carotid artery and the V1 segment of her vertebral artery.
Valerie’s injuries also included a vertical fracture to the C7 vertebra, fractures to the right transverse spinal processes at levels T4, T5, and T6, a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra, a facial fracture to the sinus wall, multiple facial lacerations, bilateral scalp hematomas, two fractured ribs, a severe arm laceration, and pulmonary contusions.
Over the course of several months, Valerie underwent extensive surgery and rehab; her treatment is ongoing to this day.
Truck Accident Lawyers
When Butler Kahn was asked to represent Mrs. Valerie in this case, we immediately sought to gather evidence and quickly got to work. Knowing there could be multiple lawsuits due to the many individuals who were injured in the collision, we wanted to be first to file the case and send a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Michael Underwood, was operating an Ameritur company truck insured by Northland Insurance Company. Underwood negligently drove his vehicle into the back of those cars at highway speed. He was issued a citation by Fairburn Police for following too closely in violation of O.C.G.A. 40-6-49. Our team gathered evidence of Valerie’s vehicle after it was towed from the scene and collected her extensive medical records. Valerie’s medical bills were already high and would continue to increase with her on-going treatment plan.
Truck Accident Settlement
We were able to prove not only that the tractor-trailer was at fault for the accident (which was obvious), but that Valerie’s injuries were very, very severe. That is important in any personal injury case, but it was especially important here because this truck accident had caused personal injuries not only to Valerie, but to several other drivers as well. (Several others had also sustained very serious in the truck accident.)
Jeb, Alyssa, and Valerie attended a “global” mediation set up by the tractor-trailer’s insurance company, Northland Insurance, in which all the injured persons were present. The trucking insurance company was forced to pay out its full insurance policy. We presented the evidence on behalf of Valerie, including body camera video from the officers who investigated the crash, photos from the scene of the collision, photos from the hospital, and Valerie’s medical records.
We were able to secure $335,000 to settle Valerie’s case. Representing Valerie was a pleasure and an honor, and we were pleased to be able to get the best possible outcome for her.