$6 Million Jury Verdict in Head-On Crash Case

Sammie Pendergrass, 24, was driving on a highway when Franklin Burgess lost control of his tractor-trailer, crossed the median, and collided head-on with Pendergrass’s van.

Pendergrass was thrown from his vehicle into a ditch; he suffered blunt force trauma and other serious injuries.

He lost consciousness approximately 30 minutes after this crash and died of cardiac arrest the same day.  He was survived by his parents and siblings.

The lawsuit against Burgess and his employer, S&D Coffee Inc., alleged that it was Burgess’s negligent driving that caused the crash and Pendergrass’s death. Burgess testified that he had just passed out several seconds before the crash due to cough syncope.  Cough syncope is a well-recognized condition that occurs in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and pulmonary hypertension. It can be confused with seizures.

However, the Pendergrass plaintiffs presented an eyewitness who testified at trial that Burgess had been weaving from lane to lane before the crash.

The jury signed a verdict for $6 million. The decision was appealed by the defendants.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case for the Pendergrass family were Wade Byrd and Curtis Osborne.

At trial, the Pendergrass attorneys presented experts in emergency medicine, pulmonology, accident reconstruction and trucking safety.

Pendergrass v. S&D Coffee, No. 18-CVS-200 (N.C. Super. Ct. Anson County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling catastrophic injury lawsuits, truck accident cases, head-on crash lawsuits, wrongful death cases and car accident lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 45 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Elk Grove Village, Des Plaines, Lake in the Hills, Hawthorne Woods, Northfield, Morton Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, LaGrange, Burbank, Evergreen Park, Richton Park, Chicago Heights, Calumet City, Orland Park, Plainfield, Highland Park, Highwood, Homewood, Bensenville, Lincolnshire, Chicago (Logan Square, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Near North Side, Streeterville, Little Village, Brighton Park, Bronzeville, Englewood, South Side, Calumet Heights, South Shore, Back of the Yards, Pilsen), Winfield, West Chicago, St. Charles, North Aurora, Oswego, Naperville, Burr Ridge, Alsip and Orland Hills, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

Related blog posts:

$13 Million Jury Verdict in Fatal Head-On Car Crash

$280 Million Jury Verdict in Head-On Truck Crash on Interstate Highway Involving Five Passengers

$10.75 Million Jury Verdict for Death of Teen Struck and Killed By Truck