In August of 2012, a young man named Christopher Arnold was riding in a Ford SportTrak down FM 624 near Calallen, Texas. Little did he know that a series of bad decisions made by others would ultimately leave him paralyzed from the waist down.
The driver of the SportTrak that Arnold was riding in decided to make a U-turn on the highway with oncoming traffic. The vehicle turned right in front of a van resulting in the first of two collisions. Arnold and the driver were then struck a second time by Robert Earl Sims, who worked for Weatherford, U.S., L.P. He was driving a company-owned Chevrolet Silverado.
Unfortunately, Arnold was not wearing a seatbelt. Not only did the accident leave him paralyzed, he suffered many other injuries too including rib fractures, a collapsed lung, and bleeding from the brain.
Although Arnold’s injuries may have been less severe had he been wearing a seatbelt, he is clearly not to blame for what happened that day. But who is?
That was the burning question. Was it the driver of the vehicle he was riding in who made the U-turn? Was it the fault of the van that hit the SportTrak? Or the Weatherford driver who caused the second impact?
Arnold consulted a lawyer and they filed the suit against Sims, the driver of the second vehicle, and Weatherford. The lawsuit stated that Sims and Weatherford could have prevented the collision.
Weatherford’s defense argued liability – placing the blame on both Arnold for not wearing a seatbelt, and the driver of the vehicle he was in for making the U-turn.
To most people, it would seem like the defense had a pretty good reason as to why Sims and Weatherford were not to blame. At this point, some might even give up the fight.
But Arnold had the help of a lawyer with experience going up against big companies like Weatherford. And they didn’t back down. Instead, they took the fight to court.
In the Nueces County courtroom, Arnold’s attorney brought up the “Safe Following Distance” rule. This rule, also known as the 3-second rule, states that it should take at least 3 seconds before you pass the same object that the car in front of you passed.
If Sims had been following the 3-second rule, he would have had more time to respond – and could have avoided colliding with the vehicle Arnold was riding in. So this clearly demonstrates liability on the driver’s end.
But what about Weatherford? How were they to blame for the accident?
Since the company owned the vehicle that Sims was driving, they could be held liable too. Arnold’s lawyer investigated Weatherford’s policies and procedures surrounding safe following distance. And the lawyer found nothing on the subject.
Arnold’s lawyer presented this evidence to the jury and the jury agreed. Large companies like Weatherford should enforce safe driving protocols. In their verdict, they held both Sims and Weatherford responsible citing negligence and gross negligence.
And Arnold, who suffered numerous injuries and is paralyzed from the waist down, was awarded $67 million.
Arnold was smart to consult with a lawyer after the accident. With so many expenses and medical bills, he now has the money he needs to move on with his life. But he didn’t find just any lawyer, he sought the help of one with experience going up against big companies.
The odds may have seemed stacked against him – no seatbelt and a driver making a U-turn into oncoming traffic. But his lawyer was able to see past these challenges, uncover the true reason why Arnold is now paralyzed, and clearly explain it to the jury.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, the best thing you can do is talk to a lawyer. Jason DeSouza is an experienced attorney and tough negotiator who will fight for every dollar you deserve. It costs you no money up front to work with him. In fact, his services are free unless he wins your case. Don’t let another day go by without getting the help you need, give Jason DeSouza a call.
DeSouza Law Firm is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.
If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call DeSouza Injury Lawyers today at 361-799-2222.