Bill was the designated driver. It was 3:00 a.m. He had acted responsibly by consuming only non-alcoholic beverages. After dropping off his friend, Bill drove onto the entrance ramp of I-71 from downtown Columbus. He accelerated as he entered from the left side of the freeway. Suddenly there it was. A Camaro had hit the median wall and was protruding halfway into Bill’s lane. Bill swerved immediately but at 60 miles per hour, he didn’t have time to avoid a collision. The front of his Camry struck the Camaro.
The collision was violent. Bill’s leg rolled from the impact and snapped his ankle bone apart. A squad rushed Bill to the emergency room. A skilled orthopedic surgeon put Bill’s ankle back in place with plates and screws. Bill eventually went back to work but not until he finished a long course of physical therapy. The pain subsided but never went away completely.
We made a claim for compensation on Bill’s behalf. We learned that Peggy, the driver of the Camaro, had fallen asleep at the wheel, struck a vehicle in front of her, and then spun to the left side of the freeway. Her Camaro struck the median wall and came to rest with the front end halfway into the left lane. Peggy did not attempt to move her car and did not activate her hazard lights. Peggy’s insurance company refused to pay Bill’s claim. The insurance company said the accident was Bill’s fault because he should have avoided the collision. We knew Bill was not at fault. He was traveling at a lawful rate of speed and could not see the vehicle in front of him in time to avoid hitting it.
Fortunately, soon after the accident, we hired experts in accident reconstruction and visual perception. We were able to prove that there was no way Bill could have seen Peggy’s vehicle in time to avoid the accident. Thus, it was Peggy’s negligence in falling asleep at the wheel that was the sole cause of the accident. With this evidence in hand, we were able to get Bill the compensation he deserved for his serious leg fracture.
Motor vehicle accidents are not always straight forward. Only after questioning the defendant at deposition, reconstructing our client’s path of travel before and after the impact, and measuring the amount of ambient lighting at night were we able to debunk the defense argument that our client was responsible for the accident. This case was one of many our office has handled in which a careful investigation and hiring of knowledgeable experts led to a successful outcome.