A jury in Pennsylvania has awarded a State Trooper $1.44 million in damages for personal injuries he sustained when a driver who was under the influence of alcohol crashed into his cruiser while he was monitoring a construction zone. The jury award included money for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and loss of life’s pleasures.
The accident occurred around 3:20 a.m. on May 31, 2008. The trooper was on duty assisting the construction crew in his marked state police vehicle with its emergency lights activated. The lawsuit states the defendant traveled through the construction zone, struck a concrete barrier and slammed into the rear of the trooper’s vehicle. The defendant was arrested for DWI. Authorities alleged the driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent at the time of the crash. Police stated the driver’s breath smelled strongly of alcohol and he had bloodshot eyes as well as he failed field sobriety tests at the crash site. The trooper suffered injuries that included herniated discs, a concussion and headaches.
The lawsuit also included allegation against the company who was operating the construction site stating they were negligent for creating a hazardous condition by removing the traffic control device warning drivers that the left lane was closed. By doing so they created a situation where approaching drivers did not have sufficient warning that the left lane was closed. Therefore, drivers did not have adequate time to perceive, react and slow down their vehicles to prevent a driver from crashing in to police or other construction vehicles on the site.
After a trial, the jury awarded the $1.44 million to the trooper, finding that the defendant driver and company performing the construction work were negligent and that their negligence caused the harm suffered by the trooper. Court documents show that the jury attributed 70% of the negligence to the defendant driver and 30% to defendant company.
The trooper’s attorney released a statement saying: “My client is satisfied, but in these injury cases there is no amount of money that can ever make you whole. Any client would much rather not be injured. He was elated that he was able to tell his story and that the case had finally come to a conclusion and justice was served.” The trooper’s attorney added: “He has permanent injuries and he may need surgery in the future and the verdict will insure that if he needs the surgery in the future, it’s paid for. He’s very pleased with the outcome.”