A Baltimore city jury awarded a $3.8 million verdict last week to a Baltimore County man who sustained gruesome injuries after he was hit by a tractor-trailer while changing a tire on I-695 northbound.
Martin A. Seman was changing his van’s left rear tire in August 2014 when driver Horace Brown veered off the travel lane in his tractor-trailer, into the highway shoulder and hit Seman and his van, the lawsuit states.
Seman was dragged about 200 feet under the tractor-trailer until it stopped. He was rushed to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Unit and was in the ICU for four days. He was treated for a fracture in his heel and left toe, traumatic brain injury, two large deep cuts on his head and several others on his body, numerous abrasions and road rash, the lawsuit states.
After a four-day trial and two hours of deliberations, a jury of four men and three women awarded Seman nearly $296,000 in past medical expenses, more than $931,000 in future medical expenses and more than $2,625,000 in non-economic damages, which will be reduced to $785,000 in accordance with the statutory cap.
“It’s amazing he survived,” Seman’s attorney, Jason T. Wasserman, said Friday. That was the theme of his case, he added.
“If he was standing up at the time, he would’ve been dead. If he would’ve been stooped down any lower, he would be dead,” said Wasserman, a partner at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC in Baltimore.
After an investigation by Maryland Transportation Police, Brown said he was driving the truck for Samuel Coraluzzo Co. Inc., a New Jersey-based corporation with a Baltimore location. Brown also admitted he was exhausted and nodding off to sleep at the time of the collision, the lawsuit states.
In addition, four of the tractor-trailer’s 10 brakes were out of adjustment, making it unfit to drive, transportation police found, according to the lawsuit.
The case was about whether Seman, 50, was as injured as he said and whether he needed future care, Wasserman said. He felt the jury was swayed by seeing Seman and “hearing what he felt” when the collision occurred.
“The testimony was that my client was a very hard worker, a great neighbor. He was independent and he loves helping people and was always on the go,” Wasserman said, adding that Seman’s injuries have caused him to “withdraw professionally and socially.”
When Seman was dragged under the tractor-trailer, his body collected glass pieces from the side of the highway. He underwent multiple surgeries to remove the debris.
“He’s still pulling glass out of himself,” Wasserman said.
The parties had two unsuccessful private mediations and a pretrial settlement conference, Wasserman said.
Attorneys representing the defense, Andrew T. Stephenson and Justin E. Tepe of Franklin & Prokopik P.C. in Baltimore, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Martin Arnold Seman vs Horace Brown, et al
Court: Baltimore City Circuit
Case No.: 24C17003210
Judge: Barry Williams
Proceeding: Jury trial
Outcome: Verdict for plaintiff.
Incident: Aug. 3, 2014
Suit filed: June 6, 2017
Verdict: Nov. 1, 2018
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Jason T. Wasserman of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC in Baltimore
Defendants’ Attorneys: Andrew T. Stephenson and Justin E. Tepe of Franklin & Prokopik P.C. in Baltimore
Count: negligence, respondeat superior, negligent hiring
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