On April 11, 2016 Carl Kovar was coming home from work. It was approximately 5:30 p.m. Mr. Kovar was a 56 year old man who worked for a natural gas drilling company. He was stopped at a traffic light on a 4 lane highway. Traffic had stopped in front of him because of a red light and he had just come to a stop behind the car in front of him. Without warning a freightliner tractor trailer slammed into the rear of Mr. Kovar’s vehicle flipping the vehicle on its top. The tractor trailer continued through the intersection uncontrollably smashing into multiple other vehicles. A download of the ECM from the tractor trailer showed that the truck had entered the intersection at 67.5 MPH just 1 second before impact. Mr. Kovar sustained a spinal cord injury which left him paralyzed from approximately his umbilicus to his toes.
The stretch of road where this collision occurred has a downhill grade, but is straight with an unobstructed view of the intersection for approximately ¾ of a mile. This tractor-trailer driver had driven this route many times. It was a bright sunny day with no road construction and no reason the tractor-trailer driver could not have seen the multiple cars stopped at the traffic light. He had to be distracted.
An in-depth analysis of the truck driver’s phone records were compared to the electronic logs of the truck. This analysis clearly established that the truck driver would routinely send/receive text messages on his phone while he was operating the tractor-trailer. In fact, in the hour and a half leading up to the time of the collision with Mr. Kovar, the truck driver had sent or received 14 text messages. Additionally, at the time of the collision with Mr. Kovar, records show that internet downloading was occurring on the truck driver’s phone. All of this information pointed to the unmistakable fact that the truck driver was using his mobile device at or very near the time of the collision which distracted him and caused this horrific collision that left Mr. Kovar paralyzed.
Medivisuals assisted Colombo Law in preparing and interactive chronology that tracked the movement of the tractor trailer and documented each time the truck driver was using his cell phone while operating the tractor trailer. This powerful chronology demonstrated the recklessness of the truck driver and also helped to establish that the trucking company had failed to enforce its policy of prohibiting drivers from using their cell phones while driving their trucks.
This case was settled for $5,500,000.00 which were the policy limits of the trucking company.
The Plaintiffs were represented by Dino S. Colombo and Travis T. Mohler of Colombo Law in Morgantown, WV.
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