|Trial Results on Carbon Monoxide Case
We just completed a trial on a tough case involving carbon monoxide poisoning and I am happy to report we won and received a fantastic verdict for our very deserving client. The case was denied for two years because the responsible party did not want to admit he was responsible for causing the carbon monoxide exposure that injured our client. We had to fight every step of the way, which included becoming amateur experts on carbon monoxide poisoning and the mechanical aspects responsible for producing carbon monoxide into the cab of the truck (the piece of junk pictured below). We alleged the hole in the floorboards, along with a leak in the exhaust, caused a dangerous amount of carbon monoxide to enter the cab of the truck while our client was plowing snow. As a result of the poisoning, he passed out at the wheel but, luckily, he got out of the truck which probably saved his life. Unfortunately, he passed out again and fell face first, directly onto his mouth and chin. He fractured his two front teeth and lacerated his chin.The defendant bad guy did not bother calling an ambulance or taking him to get care; instead, he drove around to check on other parking lots with our client bleeding everywhere and then let him drive home forty minutes to Wentzville. Our client was the equivalent of intoxicated and was completely out of it and is fortunate to make it home without incident. When our client got home, his mom saw him and rushed him to the emergency room where they confirmed he had 19.8% carboxyhemoglobin (the measure of carbon monoxide in your blood), which was 8X the “normal” amount. He was hooked up to oxygen to expedite getting the carbon monoxide out of his system and had to get extensive dental care to repair the his two front teeth. The crowns he received were not aesthetically pleasing because they were much larger than his original teeth and were a different shade than his other teeth.
We proceeded to trial where we had to prove the truck owner was negligent and that our client was injured as a result of the truck owner’s negligence. Our office was all-in for the last few weeks and we simply outworked the other side. Here were just a few of the gems we uncovered:
(1) The truck was never supposed to be on the road – it was registered as a historic vehicle but it was not to be used for commercial purposes. Not only was he breaking the law, this allowed the defendant to avoid safety inspections, which we alleged would have prevented this incident from happening had it been in the hands of a skilled mechanic who would have checked the vehicle every two years as required by law.
(2) One of the drivers who drove the truck previously did not get sick. They used this extensively to allege our client did not get sick in the truck because many others had driven it and not been sick. Thanks to Sarah, we discovered this driver did not have a valid driver’s license and should not have even been driving at all!
(3) The engineer who testified for the defense made two simple mathematical errors in calculating the averages of some data. I used an old school TI-83 calculator to do the math live and made him look really bad on the stand, especially after he agreed with me that precise calculations were crucial for engineering work. It could be the difference between a bridge collapsing or staying structurally sound.
(4) The engineer’s testing was also different than what was present on the night of the poisoning. He only considered whether the windows were up or down and whether the defrost was on high. He chose to ignore many other factors, such as temperature, wind, the hole in the floorboards, the act of plowing snow, all of which could create more load on the truck, which in turn produces more carbon monoxide.
(5) The doctor they used to make their entire case to say our client was not poisoned in the truck was never given raw data that would have shown the truck was capable of producing carbon monoxide of high enough levels which were dangerous. Instead, he was only given a report with the averages (some of which were calculated wrong!). We hammered him on the fact that he only received the data the night before trial and all his conclusions were based on numbers which were not even accurately representing the situation on the night of the poisoning.
(6) We used before and after photos to illustrate the change in his life. All the photos before showed him with a huge, open-mouthed smile. All the pictures after showed him with his mouth closed, no teeth showing. The impact was clear to anyone and, thankfully, the jury believed us and validated what this young man went through here.
Overall, this was an incredible effort by our whole team and we fought hard for a great young man who had something terrible happen in his life and robbed him of his smile. We are all exhausted (so pardon any typos), relieved and happy it is over and was in our favor!