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Jury Awards $16.5 Million to Accident Victim, Family

By: The Associated Press,

March 30th, 2003

BATON ROUGE (AP) – A jury has awarded $15.5 million in damages to a man who suffered brain damage and other injuries when an 18-wheeler rear-ended his pick-up truck.

The jury awarded another $1 million to 29-year-old ___________’ parents, ______ and _______ ______, for loss of consortium with their son after the Jan. 4, 2000, accident.

The $15.5 million issued late Thursday night, covers ___________’ future medical expenses and care, loss of enjoyment of life, physical disabilities, lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages.

A hearing will be held to determine how much each of the defendants- Mike’s Trucking Co. of Grosse Tete, Star Insurance Co., Nutmeg Insurance Co and Twin City Fire Insurance Co. – will pay.

“This is a horribly tragic case,” said Locke Meredith, one of the attorneys for the ___________ family which sued in state District Court in Baton Rouge. “These were devastating injuries. His life as an adult is terminated. He is like a child that will never grow up.”

___________ now has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old, Meredith said. He also suffered paralysis of the right side of his body and injuries to his spine, eyes, shoulder and mouth, according to the plaintiffs.

The trucking company’s attorney, James Pate of Lafayette, did not return phone calls from the (Baton Rouge) Advocate for comment on whether the defense will appeal.

Before the trial began, Mike’s Trucking Co. accepted complete responsibility for the accident, according to court records. The trial was held solely to determine damages in the case.

There was no testimony during the trial about what caused the accident, but it appears that the truck driver, Dwight Daigle, was not paying attention said Sean Fagan, another of ___________’ attorneys.

The plaintiffs claim the truck, which was carrying 28 tons of sand, had defective brakes and also contend that the driver was speeding.

Daigle was charged with negligent injuring, driving without a license, and careless operation.

According to court records, the negligent injuring and careless operation charges were dismissed, and Daigle paid about $160 in fines and court costs for driving without a license.

___________ had the left-turn signal light on and was waiting for traffic to clear when the 18-wheeler hit him from behind.

The crash catapulted the pick up into a patch of trees. ___________ and a passenger in the pickup, ___________, were injured.

___________, who also sued Mike’s Trucking and the insurance companies, suffered multiple injuries in the accident, including brain damage. Meredith said the trial in that case is set for April.