PWD obtains $950,000 Settlement in Trucking Crash Case, Helping Appliance Installer Re-Invent Himself and Build a Successful Business.
This is the story of a man who overcame his injuries and built a business. This is a story about PWD’s belief in people and our commitment to doing everything necessary to help clients rebuild their lives and reach for goals that may seem out of reach.
Mr. Jackson was a 48-year-old, skilled appliance installer. He was hired by a Florida company to fly out to Washington State as part of a crew to install appliances in hundreds of new homes. On July 30, 2018, the company’s truck driver fell asleep and crashed into two imposing Northwest Fir trees. The cab was crushed. Mr. Jackson was in the passenger seat.
After working 45 minutes to extract him, first-responders life-flighted the unconscious Mr. Jackson to the Univ. of Washington Trauma Center. He had critical injuries: multiple skull fractures, brain swelling, a crushed leg, and severe injuries to his right arm. All told, Mr. Jackson underwent four surgeries in two different hospitals and persevered through 8 months of rehabilitation.
From the beginning, there were multiple questions regarding the availability of any insurance coverage on the company’s liability policy. These problems included an employee exclusion, the failure to list the driver on the policy, and even the failure to add the truck to the policy. To make matters worse, the company had no workers compensation coverage whatsoever.
Mr. Jackson was on his own. He retained PWD.
Early in the case, PWD fought for a small victory, but it was important and made all the difference. With hardly any money to pay basic bills and his credit score tanking because of the crushing hospital bills, PWD fought for a $5,000 automatic payment on the company’s policy. It took a while, but PWD was successful. With that money — after 8 months of surgeries, rehab, and an uncertain future ahead — PWD encouraged Mr. Jackson to start his own business. Mr. Jackson made a down payment on a used box truck, hired a small crew, and set out to obtain appliance installation contracts. Home Depot hired him.
Although Mr. Jackson’s injuries — particularly those to his right hand, which had rendered him unable to lift appliances or adequately use any of the basic appliance installation tools needed, like a screwdriver, drill or pliers — Mr. Jackson had the skill set to supervise and teach. And Mr. Jackson had the know-how and honesty to obtain Home Depot’s confidence. In less than a year, his business grew to three trucks and the addition of a second client – Lowe’s.
Meanwhile, PWD filed suit in federal court and successfully fought through the various coverage issues on the liability policy as well as the interpretation of Washington law to the crash facts. And that small $5,000 payment early on proved to be a powerful precedent for the remaining fights on insurance coverage. Ultimately, PWD obtained a $950,0000 settlement for Mr. Jackson, now giving him the opportunity to take his growing business to even greater heights.
At PWD, we salute Mr. Jackson for his never-give-up attitude, his resourcefulness, and his vision to reinvent himself. We are proud that we played a role in that. This case exemplifies our commitment to our clients’ success. At PWD, Commitment is our Culture.