A lawsuit stemming from an incident in which a man sustained a traumatic brain injury after being hit by a vehicle on I-95 has been settled for nearly $16.5 million.
In May 2015, plaintiff Hoang Le pulled over on the shoulder of the highway after a diesel fuel tank fell from the bottom of a truck and spilled fuel across the road. According to the plaintiff’s pretrial memorandum, an oncoming vehicle lost control after hitting the fuel slick and struck Le.
The defendants in the case were TM Kovacevich International—a produce wholesaler—and Weldone Trailer Repair.
According to the settlement agreement, the $16.5 million settlement was broken down into $15.5 million to be paid by the insurance companies for TMK and $950,000 to be paid by the insurance company for Weldone. The driver who struck Le had previously tendered the policy limit of his insurance policy.
Court papers said that Le required multiple surgeries and therapies, with doctors declaring him disabled in terms of employment and not medically cleared for driving.
Additionally, eight days prior to the accident, Le and his wife Kim Cong had married. However, as a result of the accident, Le suffers from amnesia and no longer recognizes his wife.
Le’s attorney, Brian Chacker of Gay & Chacker in Philadelphia, said, “The Les experienced a tragedy that no family should be forced to endure.”
He continued, “We are honored to have had the opportunity to give them some sense of security and well-being for their future.”
The plaintiff alleged that the straps holding the fuel tank in place on the truck failed, claiming that TMK was responsible for making sure all trucks were in safe driving condition and that Welldone was responsible for performing repairs and inspections.
In its court papers, TMK pointed the finger at Weldone.
“Weldone, only five days before the accident, made no comments or suggestions regarding straps or brackets of the fuel tank of the refrigerated trailer,” TMK’s pretrial memorandum said. “It is Weldone that has the extra level of expertise. TMK, even with inspection afterwards, relied upon Weldone’s representations of no need to do any additional repairs, particularly for the fuel tank or brackets which they had sold and installed only 14 months before.”
Weldone, in its pretrial memorandum, maintained that the fuel tank mounting system on the truck was in good condition when it was inspected.
“Ultimately, TMK held the responsibility of ensuring that the subject tractor-trailer was in a safe condition while on the road,” court papers said.
Welldone’s attorney, Francis Deasey of Deasey, Mahoney & Valentini, declined to comment.
TMK’s attorney, Stephen Ledva of Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers, did not return a call seeking comment.