Dump truck pulling a trailer veers into plaintiff's vehicle. $1.6M. Sacramento County.

Summary

Dump truck driver sideswipes small car and says he did not realize there had been a collision.

 

The Case

  • Case Name: Robert Earl Anthony Venkus v. Santiago O. Nolasco, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Sacramento Superior Court / 34-2016-00204507-CU-PA-GDS
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, July 02, 2018
  • Type of Action: Vehicles - Truck vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Alan Perkins
  • Plaintiffs:
    Robert Earl Anthony Venkus, 34, laborer.
  • Defendants:
    Santiago O. Nolasco, dump truck driver.
    Biondi Paving, Inc., employer.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,670,689
  • Net Verdict or Award: $1,852,325.95 including CCP 998 costs of $127,757.53 and interest of $53,879.72.
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Final judgment issued on 10/01/18.

  • Economic Damages:

    $795,689

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    S875,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Del Rio & Associates, PC by Daniel R. Del Rio and David Trent, Sacramento.

    Gavrilov & Brooks by Ognian Gavrilov, Sacramento.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Wolfe & Wyman, LLP by Brian H. Gunn, Sacramento.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Andrew Fox, M.D., neurosurgery, Sherman Oaks.

    Ardavan Aslie, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Sacramento.

    Carol Hyland, billing and life care planning, Lafayette.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Robert Rovner, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Danville.

    Vicki Schweitzer, RN, past medical billing, Redding.

    Edward Bennett, MA, future medical billing, Santa Barbara.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Laurence Neuman, P.E., accident reconstructionist, Loomis.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Winthrop Smith, Ph.D., accident reconstructionist, Livermore.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On July 20, 2015 defendant Santiago Nolasco was driving an orange 2014 International 7600 outfitted as a dump truck on Arden Way in Sacramento. The dump truck weighed between 40- and 60-thousand pounds, owned by defendant Biondi Paving Inc. The dump truck was also towing a trailer, which although empty, was for moving large construction equipment and added several thousand more pounds to that of the dump truck.

    Plaintiff was driving a 1996 Toyota Corolla which weighed between 2,300 and 2,400 pounds. Plaintiff was traveling in the same direction as defendant in the lane next to defendant's vehicle.

    Per his statement in the traffic collision report, defendant Nolasco was not aware that the dump truck he was driving had drifted out of its lane and collided with plaintiff's vehicle, spinning plaintiff's vehicle 90 degrees until it was in front of the dump truck; that he pushed the car a block down the road before he realized that his antenna was vibrating and decided to pull over and check it out, discovering the collision.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended that defendant Nolasco was negligent in allowing the dump truck he was driving to drift out of his lane, ultimately colliding with plaintiff's vehicle and dragging it down the road. Plaintiff further contended that this collision caused an L5-S1 herniation in plaintiff’s back requiring a fusion spine surgery and a follow-up surgery to remove the hardware.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants contended that they were not liable for the accident until two weeks prior to trial.  At trial, defendant contended that the injuries were exaggerated and more likely due to a life of physical labor, that the treatment was unreasonable, and that the cost of the medical treatment was unreasonable. 

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    L5-S1 herniation in plaintiff’s back requiring a fusion spine surgery and a follow-up surgery to remove the hardware.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $395,689
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $800,000

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $650,001

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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