Romanucci & Blandin secures $4.5 million settlement for client injured in trucking accident
Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, announces a $4.5 million settlement on behalf of a client who was seriously injured in a trucking accident on August 14, 2018 on I-80 in Albany County, Wyoming. The case resolved July 12, 2022. The plaintiff was a truck driver on his way to Idaho to deliver freight, when a Traffic Safety Services (TSS) pick-up truck drawing a trailer crossed from the shoulder to the median of the highway without warning, causing the plaintiff’s trailer to collide with the TSS trailer. A TSS employee, who was moving warning cones and signs for an ongoing highway improvement project, operated the pick-up truck. Croell, Inc., which provides roadway paving, asphalt and other roadway maintenance services in several states, ran the project, hiring TSS as one of its contractors.
After the crash, the 52-year-old Polish-American plaintiff was transported by ambulance to Ivinson Memorial Hospital for significant neck and back pain. After a year of conservative treatment failed to provide any meaningful improvement to the plaintiff’s pain and physical restriction, he underwent a right shoulder repair surgery in April 2019, a multilevel anterior spinal fusion in September 2019, a multilevel posterior cervical spinal fusion in April 2020, and a posterior multilevel lumbar spinal fusion in October 2020. Liability, causation and the nature and extent of plaintiff’s damages were contested. The settlement, reached on the eve of trial, is believed to be one of the largest personal injury settlements in Wyoming.
Defendants in this case were Traffic Safety Services, the TSS laborer involved, and general contractor Croell, Inc. The case was litigated in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming.
“The message sent by this settlement is one of accountability. Performing interstate construction is inherently dangerous work, and requires the necessary safety personnel to ensure the safety of both the traveling public and workers. Pursuant to industry customs and practices, there should have been at least two workers assisting with moving cones and signs on a project like this one. There should have also been an experienced traffic control maintainer present rather than a seasonal laborer. I-80 is one of the busiest highways in the country, the dangers and injuries were foreseeable and preventable, and our hope is that construction companies will heed the warning that if they try to cut corners on safety and harm others they will be held accountable,” said Partner Martin D. Gould.
“Our firm was honored to be brought in on this truck accident case involving an Illinois resident who was injured out of state, and then to secure what we believe is one of the largest reported settlements for a back injury in the state of Wyoming,” said Managing and Senior Partner Hon. Gina A. DeBoni.
“In discovery, we learned there was a race to the bottom when it came to hiring contractors, where the lowest priced vendor got the contract. Contractors overpromised and underbid to secure the work, and ultimately prioritized their financial interests above the safety considerations for the driving public and workers on this site,” said Romanucci & Blandin Senior Attorney Jason J. Friedl.
The plaintiff was represented at Romanucci & Blandin by Partner Martin D. Gould, Managing and Senior Partner Hon. Gina A. DeBoni, Senior Attorney Jason J. Friedl, Senior Attorney Debra L. Thomas, Attorney Valerie A. Letko, and at Woodhouse Roden Ames & Brennan by Partner Chris Brennan and Partner Gay Woodhouse.
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