$3 Million Settlement to Woman Severely Hurt in Verizon Truck Crash

As Patricia Pinkerton drove her car and waited at a red light on Feb. 27, 2012 on Garrett Road in Upper Darby, Pa., a Verizon bucket truck slammed into the rear of her vehicle as the truck driver was using his cellphone for work. The rear-end crash caused Pinkerton to suffer a traumatic brain injury and spinal injuries.

To compensate her for her serious injuries, Pinkerton recently was awarded a $3 million settlement from Verizon in the midst of a trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, according to an Aug. 12 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

At the time of the crash, Pinkerton was an operating-room nurse who was on her way home after working at Bryn Mawr Hospital, according to the plaintiffs’ pretrial memorandum, the story reported. “Verizon’s truck slammed into Patricia Pinkerton’s car with such force that she was knocked unconscious and had to be rescued by passersby from her car that caught fire,” according to court papers referred to in the story.

After the crash, Pinkerton was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury in addition to spinal injuries that caused problems with her memory, the paper reported. In addition, when she tried to return to work after the crash, she “found herself handing surgeons the wrong instruments during operations as well as giving out the wrong medications to patients,” the story stated.

The Verizon bucket truck driver, Robert McCollick, said in court papers that he was using his Verizon cellphone just before the crash as he sat in his truck and that he looked down for a moment to get a job ticket number for a repair assignment, the story reported. “When I looked up, I saw the plaintiff’s car in front of me,” he explained in his statement. “I hit my brakes but was unable to avoid striking the plaintiff’s car at a very low speed.”

The crash ended Pinkerton’s 32-year career as a nurse, which Pinkerton argued to the court was caused by “Verizon’s policy of having its employees check the details of daily jobs on their cellphones,” the story reported. “Court papers also noted that McCollick had been reprimanded by Verizon for a prior accident.”

The injuries suffered by Pinkerton in the crash left her unable to continue her work as a nurse and have caused her difficulties with sleeping, eating, dressing herself and remembering to pick up her daughter from school, according to court papers. “Though Verizon has a policy that prohibits the use of cellphones during the operation of its trucks, in conscious disregard for the health, welfare and safety of the community, and Patty Pinkerton, Verizon disregarded that policy and communicated with McCollick on his cellphone while he operated its eight-ton truck,” the court papers continued.

The defense had argued that the victim’s injuries were not necessarily permanent, the story reported. Verizon had offered to settle the case before trial for $200,000 and then for $300,000 on the day of jury selection, one of the victim’s attorneys told The Legal Intelligencer.

The case highlighted the continuing issue of the risks of distracted driving by vehicle operators.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.