A jury in San Diego has awarded a former student $17.3 million compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up after a four week hearing.
In the fall of 2012, 24-year-old Russell Sheaffer was just completing his Ph.D. at Indiana University when he traveled to California to make a film documentary. On 3rd November, he was traveling southbound on Interstate 15, when he pulled up in a line of cars waiting at lights in Escondido.
While the cars were waiting for the lights to change, a 35,000 Freightliner driven by Thomas Mose crashed into the back of the line of cars – causing a concertina effect. Russell was thrown from his Toyota Corolla and landed in the back of the utility vehicle in front of him.
Russell was rushed to hospital suffering from concussion and several broken bones, including a broken jaw. He underwent surgery on his head injury and was checked for brain damage. He was discharged three days later, but his jaw remained wired up for a further eight weeks.
Russell sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up. In his claim, Russell alleged that Mose had been negligent in the operation of his vehicle and his employer – NuCO2 Inc – was vicariously liable for his injuries.
NuCO2 Inc admitted liability for the accident; but, as no settlement of compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up could be agreed, the case went to the Superior Court of San Diego County where it was heard by a jury before Judge Timothy Casserly to assess how much compensation Russell was entitled to.
After a four-week hearing, during which time the jury heard testimony regarding Russell´s future medical costs and his future employment prospects, the jury awarded $17.3 million compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up. The compensation award covers Russell´s personal injury, his past and future medical costs, his future loss of income and his non-economic damages.