Truck driver sues tractor trailer companies for massive winter accident that caused brain injuries

By Jim Boyle | Sep 2, 2014

A man claiming permanent physical injuries from a large traffic accident in January 2013

on a snow-covered Interstate 80 in Union County, Pa., that involved three tractor trailers has filed a personal injury suit against each company at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

David Klemann, of Fruitland Park, Fla., says he suffered traumatic brain injuries from the accident, plus hearing loss, headaches, speech and vision impairments, depression, anxiety and cognitive problems. He seeks damages in excess of $50,000 for each count against the shipping companies and the truck drivers. His wife, Kathryn Klemann also claims loss of consortium with her husband and seeks in excess of $50,000 from each defendant.

According to the suit, on Jan. 21, 2013, all parties were driving eastbound on a snow-and-ice covered I-80 in White Deer Township, Pa., when driver Jeffrey Elder lost control of the truck he was operating for Covan World-Wide Moving and jacknifed on the highway, obstructing the lanes. Another truck driven by Jonathan Blaurock and owned by Coleman American Moving Services could not stop in time to avoid a collision, the complaint says, and struck the first truck.

The complaint says that the cause of the accident was another, unnamed driver who operated a JARO Transportation Services and lost control on the slippery road. The third driver was not involved in the obstructing accident, but the suit says the truck's movements distracted Elder and Blaurock before the collision.

The eastbound lanes were completely obstructed when a Toyota Sienna struck one of the trucks, blocking the highway. That driver, Kathleen Hauman, has also been named a defendant in the suit. According to the complaint, Klemann could not stop in time to avoid hitting one of the vehicles. The collision caused severe and permanent injuries to the plaintiff, the complaint says, and he has needed to pay for continuing medical care while experiencing a diminished earning capacity.

The claim says that all of the defendants acted negligently by driving at excessive and unsafe speeds. The tractor trailer companies are blamed for employing drivers who could not maintain their vehicles and operate them properly on public roads. The suit says the drivers are liable for not monitoring the slippery road and remaining aware of surrounding cars.

The plaintiff is represented by Churchill Huston of the Maher Law Firm in Philadelphia.

The case ID number is 140703975.

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