It goes without saying that distracted driving is dangerous and can cause dangerous accidents and devastating injuries. On August 4th, 2016, a Missouri man and his son were severely injured by a distracted driver while they were trying to repair their vehicle’s mechanical problems on the shoulder of Missouri Highway 78 near Independence. Wendt Law Firm, P.C. was able to earn the victims a $4.83 Million auto accident settlement for their injuries and pain and suffering.
How it Happened
Robert Craig Ashurst (“Craig”) and his son, Joseph, were heading east on Missouri Highway 78 late on the evening of August 4th when their vehicle, a 2003 Dodge Durango, began experiencing mechanical problems. Frustrated, Craig pulled the vehicle over to the shoulder to investigate about a mile away from the intersection of 78 Highway and 7 Highway. After a few minutes of investigating, Craig called his friend, Robert James, to help him with repairs. Robert arrived just after midnight and turned to park his Pontiac Grand Am nose-to-nose with Craig’s Durango.
A few moments later, a tow truck was called to the scene. Craig and Robert remained outside to investigate the cause of the mechanical problems while they waited. Joseph remained safely in the passenger seat of the Durango.
Before the tow truck could arrive, Zachary Wolfe was driving a large box truck, owned by his employer Barefoot, Inc. d/b/a Snake N’ Rooter, east on Highway 78. He was in a distracted state, possibly texting, when he drifted off the roadway and struck the Durango, Grand Prix and Craig, as a pedestrian. Robert James luckily avoided the main impact.
The Durango and Grand Prix sustained total damage while were pushed down the roadway over a dozen feet. Joseph, still seated in the Durango’s passenger seat, suffered some whiplash and blunt head trauma from the accident, but it was Craig who suffered the main impact. He was unprotected between the two standing vehicles when the truck driven by Wolfe struck him. Craig was thrown from the scene and pinned under one of the vehicles’ tailpipes.
It wasn’t long before emergency vehicles arrived, and their quick response undoubtedly saved Craig’s life. They were quickly able to jack the vehicle off Craig and transport him to a nearby medical center by ambulance.
Injuries and Recovery
Craig Ashurst suffered life-threatening injuries throughout his body as a result of the accident. He suffered countless fractures to his lower extremities, acute blood loss and respiratory failure. While medical workers were able to stabilize his injuries, he still spent weeks in the hospital recovering and even faced a staphylococcus infection as he recovered. His medical expenses rose to over $90,000.
While Joseph didn’t face the same grave injuries as his father, his injuries led to a concussion and continued neck pain from a cervical strain. His hospital stay was relatively short, but the medical expenses were over $1,000.
Auto Accident Claim and Settlement
Craig’s brother was the first to contact Wendt Law Firm, P.C. while Craig was in the hospital and still unresponsive. As a previous client, he knew the importance of contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, and at the time it was still unclear if Craig would survive the accident.
Wendt Law Firm, P.C. attorneys Samuel Wendt and Jessica Agnelly worked quickly to make two claims against the truck’s owning company, Barefoot, Inc. and their insurance companies. One claim for Craig, and another for Joseph. In just a few months, settlements of $4,775,750.00 and $50,000.00, respectively, were reached.
Luckily, Craig has made a remarkable recovery since August given the extent of his injuries. While he has regained limited mobility, doctors believe he’ll struggle to walk for the rest of his life because of this accident. Joseph has made a full recovery but may experience neck pain for some time to come.
It’s important to note, however, that all of this could have been avoided. Distracted driving caused an estimated 3,179 people deaths and 431,000 injuries in 2014, and while law enforcement is trying to crack down on distracted drivers, not all accidents can be prevented without the help of drivers.
If you have been in injured in an auto accident and you believe that the driver causing the accident may have been distracted, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The auto accident attorneys at Wendt Law Firm, P.C. are experts at getting the settlement you deserve. Click here to get a free consultation of your case today.