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Truck Accident Brain-Damage Suit Settles for $22M

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. | Last updated on

A New York City woman who suffered brain damage after a hit-and-run truck crash has settled with the truck driver and his employer, Duane Reade.

The 2008 accident left Shirley Miller, 37, with brain damage, blindness, and very limited communications skills. The parties intend to settle the lawsuit for $22 million, according to Brooklyn Daily Eagle. If approved, it would be the largest personal injury settlement in New York state history, the New York Daily News reports.

Even though Miller was the only one injured in the truck accident, her parents are also a party to the lawsuit.

Vicarious Liability

Miller and her parents were able to sue Duane Reade, an NYC-based drug store chain owned by the Walgreen Company, under the theory of vicarious liability.

While truck drivers are usually liable for the accident they've caused, it may be difficult to also hold the trucking company liable unless the driver was acting within the scope of his employment.

However, under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer can be held legally responsible for an employee's negligence if:

  • The injury occurred when the employee was on the clock,
  • The injury was caused by an activity that the employee was hired to perform, or
  • The employee benefited in some way from the activity that the employee was performing at the time the injury occurred.

Though lawyers for Miller and Duane Reade have agreed on a settlement, it's now up to the court to approve it. Aside from the record-setting proposed dollar amount -- $22 million -- details of the settlement have not been made public.

Parents as Co-Plaintiffs

One interesting fact about Miller's lawsuit is that her parents are also plaintiffs, though they weren't directly involved in the accident. Although reports don't indicate why Miller's parents are a party to the lawsuit, they may have joined to recover damages to pay for their daughter's future medical expenses and care.

According to Brooklyn Eagle, Miller suffered serious brain damage and has very limited communication skills as a result of the accident. Her injuries likely require her parents to take care of her for the rest of her life, so the settlement award can help manage the healthcare costs.

As this settlement proves, truck accident lawsuits can be complex and take years to resolve. That's why it's best to consult an experienced truck accident attorney if you've been injured in a truck crash and need more legal help.

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