A man who was injured in a car crash will receive a $1.4 million settlement from a company that allegedly failed to perform background checks on their employee driver who caused the crash.
Sam Clawson and Christy Fargnoli of Clawson Fargnoli Utsey in Charleston report that their client suffered spine and shoulder issues because of the crash. Clawson said that eyewitnesses reported seeing the defendant’s driver operating their vehicle erratically before causing the crash.
Due to a confidentiality agreement, many details of the case, including the identities of the parties and the defense counsel and the date and location of the crash, were withheld.
Clawson said that the employer was vicariously liable for the crash, not only because of their driver’s negligent acts, but also because of the employee’s lengthy history of driving infractions. He said that the driver also had an extensive criminal record including assault, shoplifting and drug possession, and had incurred a speeding citation just two weeks before the collision.
“There was no indication that the employer did its due diligence during the hiring process, for example by running a criminal background check, running a ten-year driver history check, checking references and things of that nature,” Clawson said.
Clawson said that the settlement indicated that the client’s case was a strong one.
“I think ultimately at trial, the defense likely would have admitted to simple negligence,” he said. “They would have disputed that liability was aggravated. They would have admitted to simple negligence only, not to gross negligence or negligence per se.”
Clawson said he thought the case might also have been defended on causation of the injuries, because while his client’s spine issues weren’t in dispute, there were questions about whether his shoulder problems were related to the incident due to a delay in seeking treatment.
“The plaintiff had not yet undergone surgical intervention on the shoulder, although his physician indicated that that would be reasonably likely to occur in the future,” he said. “From the plaintiff’s perspective, we felt like we had a reasonable explanation. He tackled these in order of severity. He went with the spine first.”
SETTLEMENT REPORT – MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Amount: $1.4 million
Injuries alleged: Shoulder, neck and lower back injuries
Case name: Confidential
Date of settlement: Dec. 10, 2021
Special damages: $293,000 in past medical expenses
Most helpful experts: Lindsay Moore of Mt. Pleasant (life care planner)
Attorneys for plaintiff: Sam Clawson and Christy Fargnoli of Clawson Fargnoli Utsey in Charleston
Attorneys for defendants: Confidential
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