$610,000 Settlement for Injured Driver and Passengers Struck by Trucks After Jack-knifed Tractor-Trailer Collision

A driver of a tractor-trailer owned by J.M. Leasing was traveling on an interstate roadway where the conditions were poor because of snow. The tractor-trailer driver passed a slow-moving vehicle in the right lane. When the truck driver attempted to return to the right lane at about 55 mph, he lost control of the vehicle and the truck jackknifed. The plaintiff in this case, Christopher Spunar, was driving a sedan on the highway and was able to stop in time in front of the jackknifed truck. However, another tractor-trailer operated by Arthur Medeiros for Medeiros Trucking Inc. crashed into the Spunar vehicle. Yet another tractor-trailer driven by L.W. Miller Transportation also collided with the Spunar sedan.


Hope Spunar, 70, a passenger in Christopher’s vehicle, suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a traumatic brain injury and fractures to her neck at C2, her coccyx and her sacrum.


Her medical expenses were $85,000. Christopher Spunar, who was in his 50s at the time, suffered a fractured sternum, a bulging disk at C5-6 and a fractured clavicle among other injuries. Another passenger in the Spunar vehicle was Nicholas Spunar, 18, who suffered a hematoma, a fractured rib and a closed-head injury resulting in post-concussion syndrome.


The three Spunars filed this lawsuit against J.M. Leasing, L.W. Miller and Arthur Medeiros claiming that these defendant drivers negligently operated their trucks on the snowy roadway.


The lawsuit also claimed that the defendants were negligent in hiring the individual drivers. Medeiros and L.W. Miller denied that they had struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. J.M. Leasing argued that the snow had started suddenly and that its tractor-trailer had not jackknifed across both lanes of the interstate as claimed. The three plaintiffs had no claim for lost income in the lawsuit.


Before trial, the parties settled for a total of $610,000. Hope Spunar received $550,000 with J.M. Leasing and L.W. Miller each contributing $230,000. Medeiros contributed $40,000 and Spunar’s underinsurance carrier contributed $50,000.


Christopher Spunar and Nicholas Spunar each received $30,000 paid equally by J.M. Leasing, L.W. Miller and Medeiros.


The attorney representing the Spunar family was Jamie J. Anzalone.


The experts retained by the Spunar family who would have testified as to the injuries as well as how the occurrence took place included a surgery expert, a neuropsychologist, a rehabilitation expert and an accident reconstruction expert.


Highways and roads often are snow covered because of slippery conditions caused by the presence of snow and ice. The driving speeds by truck drivers and other motorists must be lowered when these weather conditions arise. When weather conditions like snowy roadways occur, speeds on highways and roads must be reduced to accommodate for the possibility of losing control because of the slippery or icy conditions. These kinds of accidents are predictable and preventable but too often happen because of the carelessness of motorists.


Spunar v. Olivas, et al. No. 684-2012-CV (Pa. Ct. Com. Pleas, Jefferson County, August 2014).


Kreisman Law Offices has been handling truck accident cases and catastrophic injury cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of another for more than 38 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Bensenville, Lemont, New Lenox, Naperville, Elk Grove Village, Lansing, Hoffman Estates, Justice, Northbrook, Olympia Fields, Orland Park, Orland Hills, Prospect Heights, Thornton, Tinley Park, Western Springs, Chicago (Roscoe Village, Printers Row, Princeton Park, Portage Park, Pilsen, Pill Hill, Oz Park, Northwood Park, Chinatown, McKinley Park, Loyola Park, Beverly, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Bucktown, Buena Park), River Grove and Elmwood Park, Ill.

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