Suit: Faulty U-Haul trailer and tractor trailer driver's fatigue caused severe car accident

By Jim Boyle | Dec 1, 2014

A Montgomery County man has suffered permanent disfigurement and severe head injuries caused when a tractor trailer operated by a sleepy driver colliding with his jack-knifed SUV and U-Haul trailer that had malfunctioning brake lights, according to a personal injury suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Gary Williams, of Norristown, Pa., seeks compensatory and punitive damages against U-Haul and K&B Transportation, Inc., on five counts, including negligence and reckless conduct. Williams' wife, Nina, has also filed suit for loss of consortium with her husband.

According to the complaint, Williams purchased an adapter to tow a U-Haul trailer at the company's Yuba City, Calif., location on Feb. 28, 2012. He also rented a box trailer from U-Haul at its Quick Serve location in Colusa, Calif. The suit says that both items' lights and braking systems were defective, unbeknownst to Williams.

On March 2, 2012, Williams was traveling in his Chevrolet Trailblazer with the U-Haul trailer hitched on the adapter on eastbound Interstate 80 in Henry County, Ill., on his way home to Norristown. The vehicle suddenly jack-knifed and ended up blocking both eastbound lanes of I-80.

Moments later, a tractor trailer driven by Brian Sala, an employee of K&B, collided with Williams, separating the U-Haul trailer and the SUV and sending both vehicles to the center median. The claim alleges that Sala had been operating the truck beyond the hours of service and drastically hindered his ability react quickly to unexpected road obstacles. Williams also says that defects in the U-Haul trailer failed to warn other drivers of its position on the road.

As a result of the accident, Williams suffered severe brain trauma, rib and spinal fractures, a hematoma, renal contusion and other injuries. Willams has incurred costly medical expenses during his recovery while experiencing a decreased earning capacity.

The plaintiff is represented by attorneys from Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock & Dodig in Philadelphia.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-06727-PBT.

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