MULTI-MILLION VERDICT AWARDED IN ACCIDENT INVOLVING MOWING TRACTOR ON HWY 15
Mowing Tractor Crosses Median Into Path of Plaintiff’s 1996 GMC Truck Injuring Two
Sumter & Georgetown, S.C., May 21, 2007 – A plaintiff’s verdict of $2,200,000 was announced last Friday night, by local attorneys from the Bell Legal Group against defendants Oscar D. Montiel Hernandez, E & H Mowing and the State of South Carolina Department of Transportation, as the result of a July 2005 car accident involving a mowing tractor and a GMC pick-up truck, which left Christopher Stuckslager, the driver of the pick-up severely injured with resulting permanent brain damage. The verdict awarded was for actual damages, with $2,100,000 for Chris Stuckslager and $100,000 awarded to Kim Stuckslager. The Stuckslagers were represented by J. Edward Bell, III and Vanessa Richardson, of the Bell Legal Group, Georgetown, South Carolina.
On July 28, 2005, Defendant Oscar D. Montiel Hernandez was the driver of the mowing tractor (owned and operated by Defendant E & H Mowing) traveling south along Highway 15 in Sumter, South Carolina; when suddenly and without warning, the Defendant’s vehicle left the median and crossed directly into the path of the Stuckslager vehicle, which was heading north on Highway 15, causing a violent collision. It is believed that Mr. Hernandez left the country after the accident and returned to Mexico.
The area where the accident occurred has a constant flow of traffic given that it is one of the major intersections for Highway 15 and Highway 521. Witnesses testified that they did not see any warning signs regarding mowing up ahead. It was learned that the signs were placed 3 miles away from the scene. Drivers entering the roadway within the 3 miles zone would never have seen the warning.
At the time of the accident, Mr. Hernandez was an employee of E&H Mowing Contractors, Inc., who in turn was a contractor of the Gerald David Orr Contracting, Inc., who had been employed or contracted with the Defendant State of South Carolina Department of Transportation for the purpose of mowing the grass along the public roads and medians in Sumter, South Carolina.
J. Edward Bell, III, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs commented, “The mowing companies were from Tennessee and this was the first time that the grass in this particular area of the highway had been cut. I believe it was very significant that there had not been any pre-mowing inspection as required by the South Carolina Department of Transportation. Had this occurred, the swamp between the two highways would have been easily recognizable and precaution taken to make sure the large tractor and mowing equipment had room to turn around. The defendant commented on the stand that if they inspected every area they were supposed to mow, they would not be able to make any money. ”
“I believe the verdict was fair considering the permanency of the injuries to Mr. Stuckslager,” said Vanessa Richardson, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff.
The lawsuits filed against Oscar D. Montiel Hernandez, E & H Mowing and the State of South Carolina Department of Transportation questioned the cause of the accident and the safety of the vehicle, including failing to equip the tractor with adequate brakes or if properly equipped then the failure to use properly, the steering mechanisms, headlights or a horn. Attorneys J. Edward Bell, III, Vanessa Richardson and Carla Todd of the Bell Legal Group LLC, Georgetown, South Carolina, represented the plaintiffs.
For more information about this verdict, contact the Law Offices of J. Edward Bell at 877-453-5055 or visit www.belllegalgroup.com.
About the Bell Legal Group LLC. The attorneys and staff of the Bell Legal Group focus on select and challenging areas of law and bring 25 years litigation experience. To successfully litigate the large scale cases for which the Bell Legal Group has become known, the firm offers its own unique reserve of capital, resources and state of the art technology. The firm has built its reputation managing and successfully litigating complex cases in the areas of automotive defect, medical malpractice, environmental litigation, nursing home litigation, personal injury litigation and police misconduct cases. The Bell Legal Group has also gained a national reputation in developing solutions that help business and environmental groups find common ground using an environmentally sensitive and practical approach to litigation. For more information on the Bell Legal Group LLC call 877-453-5055 or visit www.belllegalgroup.com.
Media Contact: Christi Harcourt
Law Offices of J. Edward Bell
232 King Street
Georgetown, SC 29440