A 42-year-old Waterbury man who was left a quadriplegic following a truck rollover on Route 8 in Waterbury two years ago has settled with his former employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier for $5.49 million.
Schley Hunter was a passenger in a Rinaldi box truck owned by New Milford Laundry when the driver of the truck, police said, fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of the vehicle. The truck, which was heading northbound on Route 8, hit 50 yards of guardrail and flipped over on its right side after striking a large rock on the side of the road, according to Michael Burrell, Hunter’s attorney. Hunter was struck by a tractor-trailer traveling 50 miles per hour as he tried to pull driver Howard Dozier to safety.
Burrell, a partner with Adelman Hirsch & Connors in Bridgeport, said the workers’ compensation negotiations with Pacific Insurance Co. Ltd. took months. The settlement was finalized on Monday, and calls for Hunter to receive the money over a span of 30 years. The agreement with Pacific, a subsidiary of The Hartford Insurance Group, calls for the settlement money, which is tax-free, to be put into several accounts including a college fund for Hunter’s 10-year-old son and for nursing care for Hunter.
After Pacific Insurance originally offered less than $1 million, Burrell said he secured a life care expert who said Hunter would probably need at least $7 million in future medical care for the rest of his life.
Burrell said Hunter previously sued Dozier personally and the insurance carrier for Larry Shunk, the driver of the tractor-trailer. Burrell settled both cases. He said the Dozier settlement and his insurance carrier’s identity are confidential. Burrell said Hunter received $1 million in early 2017 from the insurance carrier for Central Transport, Shunk’s employer.
The money from the two settlements, Burrell said, went toward purchasing Hunter a handicapped accessible home in Waterbury. Burrell said his firm did not take any attorney fees from the workers’ compensation portion of the case. “We waived our $825,000 fee because we wanted to do everything we could for the family,” Burrell said Friday.
Pacific Insurance Co. was represented by Christopher Buccini of the Law Offices of David J. Mathis in Hartford. Buccini did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Burrell said Dozier suffered minor injuries and Shunk had soft tissue injuries to his neck and back.