At highway speeds, one careless decision from a negligent truck driver can change a life forever. Yet no matter how clear the evidence may be, innocent injury victims often face numerous obstacles and wait years to get a settlement check, or their day in court.
Unfortunately, Michael’s case was no different. An accident with an 18-wheeler on I-35 caused severe, life-altering injuries and a pile of medical bills. Liability was clear. But the insurance company was unwilling to pay what they owed and assembled their own team of “hired gun” experts to try to take Michael’s case down.
Fortunately, Michael had the truck accident attorneys at Crosley Law on his side. This is a story of hard work, attention to detail, and being willing to go as far as it takes to get justice. This is Michael’s story.
A Careless Lane Change Alters a Life Forever
It was a spring day, in March of 2018. Michael was driving his Chevy Malibu northbound along I-35 near San Antonio, in the second lane from the left. Just ahead of him was a semi-truck in lane three.
Suddenly, the truck made a rapid and unexpected lane change directly into the travel path of Michael’s car, leaving him with no time to react. The back of the trailer smashed into the front-right side of Michael’s Malibu, causing extensive damage to the vehicle and shattering the windshield.
Fortunately, Michael remained conscious and was able to safely pull over onto the left shoulder. But it was soon clear that he had suffered injuries that would require significant, long-term medical attention.
After the crash, Michael suffered from persistent, severe neck pain, lower back pain, multiple herniated discs, and bilateral radiculopathy causing nerve damage and pain in his thighs and legs. He required two separate surgeries to correct as much of the damage as possible, but it’s clear that he will continue to need therapeutic services, medications, and follow-up care long into the future.
Before the accident, Michael was a healthy, active 27-year-old with a family and no serious medical problems. He enjoyed golfing, kayaking, playing multiple sports, and playing the drums. After the accident, he struggled with social anxiety and found it much harder to stay active and enjoy his favorite activities. But most importantly of all, it impacted his ability to be the kind of father and partner he wanted to be for his loved ones.
Michael needed help getting his life back on track and the financial support he deserved. Fortunately, Michael’s sister was a previous client of ours, and she highly recommended he reach out to Crosley Law.
Crosley Law’s Thorough Investigation Reveals Troubling Negligence
Crosley Law went straight to work investigating Michael’s case, and it soon became apparent that the truck driver was not credible or honest about what had happened.
The truck driver claimed that he was forced to slam on his brakes after being cut off, leading to Michael’s vehicle smashing into the back of his trailer. However, the electronic data recorder in Michael’s Malibu clearly showed that he had been traveling straight at a constant speed up until the moment of impact—meaning that the damage could only have been caused by the truck veering into Michael’s lane without leaving enough space. Furthermore, the truck driver was evasive and clearly angry in his deposition.
Crosley Law also hired an accident reconstructionist, who arrived at the same conclusion based on the electronic data recorder, collision dynamics, and damage patterns. He agreed that the overall cause of the collision was a sudden, unexpected leftward lane change from the truck driver, who failed to maintain a proper lookout and control the speed and path of the trailer.
But there’s even more to the story. The truck driver’s road review evaluations during his apprentice period—from just a few months prior to the crash—showed a clear pattern of struggling with signaling and lane control. Only two months earlier, a reviewer had commented “need to look more at mirror” in their evaluation.
Reviewing the driver’s electronic logs also revealed he was making multiple daily edit requests over an extended period of time—something that the trucking company admitted should have flagged the attention of a log auditor.
Liability in this case should have been a slam dunk. But that isn’t always how it plays out with particularly stubborn trucking companies. And it was clear that Crosley Law would have to pull out all the stops in this case to get Michael the justice he deserved.
Preparing Michael for a Tough Fight
Most personal injury cases are filed in state court, but Michael’s case was filed in federal court. While there are pros and cons to filing in each jurisdiction, one thing to understand about federal court is that the rules tend to be much stricter.
We knew that Michael was going to be facing some tough questions during his deposition, so it was critical that he was as prepared as he could possibly be for whatever traps the defense might try to set for him. We spent a lot of time with Michael, getting him ready for his testimony and every other aspect of this case.
The preparation paid off and we’re happy to report that Michael did great and handled the pressure with ease.
“I was able to walk in with confidence,” Michael later said about his experience with Crosley Law. “They know the community of lawyers so well that they were able to prepare me to talk to one specific lawyer, which I thought was really neat.”
Countering the Insurance Company’s “Hired Guns”
Even though we had the truth on our side, the defense did everything in their power to shift the narrative. They brought in their own life care planner, accident reconstructionist, radiologist, and orthopedic surgeon—hired guns who tried to argue that Michael’s symptoms were degenerative instead of caused by the accident, despite the fact that he was a healthy and active 27-year-old.
Unfortunately, these kinds of defense tactics are often successful if the attorneys representing the accident victim aren’t prepared. “In a case like this,” said Crosley Law attorney Shawn Mechler, “if you don’t have the right experts, you’re not going to get a good result.”
So, Crosley Law made sure to bring the right experts—credible professionals who could pick apart the testimony of the defense’s hired guns.
“We hit this case really hard,” said Mechler. “We had an accident reconstructionist, who did really well. We had the treating physicians. We had a healthcare planner. We hired an economist.”
Patience—and Justice—Win the Day
With all the prep work we had done, our team was confident that we could take this case to trial and win. And ultimately, the defense agreed, finally offering a $1.3 million settlement. Crosley Law then negotiated with Michael’s healthcare providers to reduce his medical debt. That gave Michael the financial means to pay for his long-term care needs and support his family.
But it wasn’t fast or easy. Between the insurance company’s stubbornness and pandemic delays, it took nearly four years from the date of the accident for Michael to finally get the fair settlement offer he deserved. And in that time Crosley Law spent nearly $73,000 of its own money to help build the best possible case for Michael.
Was it worth it? Absolutely.
We knew Michael deserved a great result for a life-altering accident that wasn’t his fault, and we were more than happy to go the extra mile for him and his family.
Michael was happy, too.
“I could not recommend this firm enough!” he wrote in a recent 5-star review. “It was a pleasure working with Shawn, Francesca, and Tom. … Even during the midst of the pandemic, they checked up on me and kept me informed with any updates they had for my case. They made appointments for me, worked around my schedule, and guided me through the whole process.
“The whole process of going (or possibly going) to court was very nerve-wrecking and intimidating, but having this team on my corner definitely helped put me at ease and feel confident I was going to get the help I deserved. And of course the settlement was great!”
Crosley Law: Fighting for the Injured in Greater San Antonio
Heavy truck crashes like Michael’s are a major focus for our practice, and an area where we have a lot of experience. Victims of these accidents are often left to deal with serious, long-term injuries, huge medical bills, and—as with Michael’s case—trucking and insurance companies that will fight as long and hard as they possibly can to get out of paying what they owe.
If you or someone you love is faced with a similar situation, contact Crosley Law today for your free consultation. You can reach us (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000, or complete the simple contact form on our website.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.