The Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld an award of $10.5 million car crash injury compensation in favor of a woman who was severely injured when her vehicle was forced into a utility pole by an out-of-control dump truck.
In May 2010, Theodus Williams was driving a Mack dump truck loaded with stone thru Scranton, Pennsylvania, headed for the Marjol Battery Site in Throop. As he drove down Dundaff Street, Williams lost control of his vehicle and the truck ran into a line of vehicles – forcing a Toyota SUV driven by Holly Ann Kuchwara into a utility pole.
Holly Ann suffered fractured vertebrae in the accident, along with a shattered ankle and a blunt force head trauma. She still bears visible scars on her face from the accident and is still undergoing surgery for her injured back.
A police investigation into the accident found that the truck had brake and steering deficiencies, a faulty speedometer and that Williams had been driving with an expired medical examination certificate. Williams and his employer – Valvano Construction of Dickson City, PA – were charged with sixteen vehicle safety violations.
Holly Ann made a claim for car crash injuries against Williams and Valvano Construction, against which the two defendants neither made a defense nor an offer of settlement. Consequently it was left to the jury at the Pennsylvania Court of Pleas to consider what represented a fair settlement of compensation for car crash injuries.
Their verdict of $10.5 million was comprised of $9.1 million in compensatory damages, $1 million in punitive damages and $400,000 in delay damages; however, attorneys for Valvano Construction felt that this was too much and appealed the decision.
Last week a three-judge panel at the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the award; stating that the jury had been properly instructed, and that the amount of $10.5 million in car crash injury compensation was lower than the plaintiff´s attorneys believed the jury would award.