SALINE COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A record-setting settlement has been reached in a lawsuit stemming from a 2013 crash involving a tractor trailer in Saline County, Illinois.
Martha Lanham and her husband Bobbie Lanham were awarded a $939,000 settlement in their suit. According to Law Bulletin Publishing Company, the record settlement is the highest reported settlement or verdict for an ankle injury in Saline County.
The crash occurred on July 12, 2013 on route 34 at the intersection with DeNeal Road in Saline County. Martha Lanham suffered severe injuries after a Tison & Hall coal truck crashed into the rear of a slowing flatbed truck, causing the flatbed to cross over into oncoming traffic where it collided head on with a minivan driven by Lanham.
Matha Lanham and her husband Bobbie Lanham sued Tison & Hall in 2015. In the suit they alleged that the driver, Dennis Barger, failed to be aware and maintain a proper speed, causing him to collide into the stopping flatbed.
According to the Lanham'a attorney, Matthew S. Sims, Barger could not offer any explanation as to why he was unable to stop. Barger, whose truck weighed 80,000 lbs. with a full load of coal, failed to slow in time causing the crash. By the time Barger tried to stop the vehicle it was too late.
"Unfortunately, drivers were incentivized to make as many coal runs a day as they could, which could have led to the temptation to drive in an unsafe manner and take safety shortcuts if it meant more runs could be fit into a day," Sims said.
After the accident, Martha Lanham had to be transferred to several hospitals, where she underwent a complicated orthopedic surgery to try and repair her ankle. Her surgeon was able to save her foot, but she was unable to return back to work.
"The failure of the defendants to make safety of other innocent people on the roads a priority unfortunately led to Martha's injuries, which could have been avoided," Sims said.