Washington, DC – The owners of the big-rig truck involved in a highway crash plan to ask for a new trial after a California court awarded almost $3.5 million in damages and compensation to a visiting Indian couple after a highway crash that left the woman catastrophically injured.
A Riverside County, California Superior Court jury awarded Jaishree and Prakash Sheth $36,482,302.56 in the tractor trailor truck crash that left Jaishree Sheth paralyzed and requiring 24-hour attendant care.
In a statement to India America Today, Erin Elliott, Senior Executive, Public Relations and Social Media of Schneider National Carriers, said, “While we respect the process and thank the jury for their service, we believe that the verdict and the award of damages are not supported by the evidence. We will request a new trial; if a new trial is not granted, we will aggressively pursue an appeal.”
“Schneider National employs some of the safest drivers in the industry; the driver involved in this case has an excellent safety record and was not cited in this accident,” added the statement.
Earlier Brian Panish, one of the attorneys for the Sheths, told India America Today, “The Sheths want to express their gratitude to the American judicial system that allowed them their day in court and allowed the community (the jury) to assess their tremendous losses and harms.”
The Sheths were represented at the four week trial by the law firm Panish, Shea & Boyle, made up of attorneys Brian Panish, Tom Schultz and Ryan Casey.
Commenting on the staggering amount awarded in the case, Panish said, “In America it is the community and jury who decides compensation not the wrongdoer.
“The amount was based on the devastating injuries Mrs. Sheth suffered and will continue to suffer,” added Panish.
According to the attorneys, the Sheths were passengers in a Toyota Camry traveling westbound on the 10 freeway in Beaumont when a big-rig owned by Schneider National and operated by its employee improperly attempted to pass the car, crossed over into the Camry’s lane and hit the vehicle.
The impact of the truck caused the Camry to spin out of control across the freeway where it hit the median barrier and was struck by another vehicle. The Camry then careened back across all three freeway lanes and over the freeway shoulder, coming to a rest on the edge of a man-made wash with a 20 foot drop below.
58-year old Jaishree Sheth, who was seated in the backseat of the Camry behind the driver, suffered a C5-6 fracture and spinal cord injury in the March 26, 2010 accident.
“When she arrived at the hospital, Mrs. Sheth was completely paralyzed. She underwent two emergency surgeries, experienced respiratory failure and was hospitalized for two months. Mrs. Sheth still requires 24-hour attendant care,” noted the court documents.
At the time of the accident, the Sheths were visiting the United States from India and were on their way to the Orange County airport for a family vacation to Hawaii.
“The plaintiffs have suffered tremendously and will continue to suffer for the rest of their lives. The jury recognized this with their verdict. Justice was done,” concluded Panish. (IATNS)