Two Motorcyclists Injured in Sacramento; Severe Brain Injury in One Plaintiff, Part 3 of 4

The following blog entry is written to illustrate how a brain injury lawsuit could develop and resolve. Reviewing this summary should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

Danbee Livestock’s trailer operator testified that he had possessed the trailer since it was new in 1993. He was responsible for all maintenance on it, but only kept maintenance records in his head. He took it to XYZ or D-2 when it needed work and told XYZ or D-2 personnel generally what parts of the trailer he wanted work performed on. Invoices presented at trial established that there was no regular maintenance program for the trailer. Before trial, and again after all evidence had been presented, plaintiffs sought a judicial determination that Danbee Livestock could not delegate its duty to maintain the trailer and its wheel bearings to XYZ and/or D-2. The court declined to so rule. The court also declined to apply res ipsa loquitur against Danbee Livestock. The court instead instructed the jury on presumption of negligence per se under CACI Instruction 418 and Vehicle Code § 24002(a).

The only documented work on the trailer’s wheel bearings was performed by D-2 in 2002 and 2004 and by XYZ in 2005 when it repacked the trailer’s wheel bearings while doing brake replacement. Plaintiffs and defendant Danbee Livestock contended, through the testimony of plaintiffs’ expert Dame and Danbee Livestock’s experts Curt and Williamson, that XYZ improperly cleaned the wheel bearings prior to their inspection, thereby rendering inspection ineffective, and that the cleaning method used, wiping with shop rags and pumping new grease into the bearings with a “bearing packer,” left dirt and grit which caused rapid wear.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Plaintiffs also contended that XYZ should have determined that the wheel bearing was failing when it replaced a tire on that wheel 44 days before these accidents. Plaintiffs established that ABC provided wheel bearing procedural training to XYZ’s mechanics. XYZ and ABC countered through testimony from experts Walter and Stein that XYZ’s methods were permissible within the industry and that plaintiffs and Danbee Livestock could not document any actual corrosion at the time of XYZ’s 2005 work. The court allowed XYZ, over plaintiffs’ and Danbee Livestock’s objections, to present a video at trial, which was recorded under ideal conditions and pursuant to litigation, of its mechanic who had performed the 2005 wheel bearing work doing a bearing re-pack on a similar trailer, and to have the mechanic narrate the video to the jury. XYZ and ABC also contended that there was evidence that someone had performed work on the failed wheel after XYZ did. No party was ever able to fully explain the existence or meaning of this evidence, which consisted primarily of a brake assembly “backing plate” that had been unprofessionally
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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