Wrongful Death Case – Jury Rewards $2,950,000

Oversized vehicles and tractor trailers are often a cause of concern for other drivers on the road. When an oversized vehicle or tractor trailer and a car get into a car accident, the injuries can sometimes be fatal. This was the case in Lee County on December 22, 2004 when a family lost a loved one to a car accident with a tractor trailer. The car accident occurred at approximately 5:40 a.m. on Metro Parkway. The decedent, Michael K. Bandsuch, was traveling southbound in his vehicle when a tractor trailer allegedly stopped in the middle of the road and blocked both lanes of traffic. The driver of the tractor trailer was an employee for Werner Enterprises and was making a delivery at the time of the car accident. In a vehicle next to the decedent was another driver, Ronald Lemaster. Both Lemaster and Bandsuch noticed the tractor trailer, but unlike Lemaster, Bandsuch was unable to avoid the car accident. He struck the tractor trailer and sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision.

After a nine day trial and eight and half hours of deliberation, a jury in Lee County, Florida returned a verdict of $2,950,000. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the jury’s verdict on April 6, 2010. The defendant driver claimed that the truck he was driving complied with the required amount of reflective tape on the side of the trailer and also claimed that the tractor and trailer had sufficient lighting at the time of the car accident. However, he did not dispute that he was blocking both lanes of southbound traffic. Despite the defendants’ allegations that Bandsuch had medical conditions that contributed to the car accident and could possibly reduce damages, the jury found no negligence on the part of Bandsuch.

If a case like this goes before a jury, many unique factors come into play. Specifically, the testimony of witnesses referred to as “experts” can greatly increase a plaintiff’s chance of recovery. Experts are witnesses who through a showing of sufficient knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, are entitled to give an opinion in a case and testify to scientific or technical matters if it would assist a jury. The attorneys for the Plaintiffs in this case, John Romano and Maureen Martinez-Schwab of West Palm Beach, FL, put on an Accident Reconstructionist and Economist to aid the jury in understanding how the accident happened, and to help the jury to determine the amount of damages. The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes have a great deal of experience with jury trials and specialize in wrongful death cases such as this. Two attorneys at our firm are Board Certified in Trial Advocacy, and all of our attorneys work hard to determine what type of experts are important to your case. If you lose a family member in a car accident such as this, we see you through.

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