A 2004 freeway auto accident on I-405 in the Seattle area which left a Renton woman blind and disfigured has resulted in a $15.5 million verdict. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, 28 year Maria Federici said she hopes the money will help her get back to living a more normal, independent life.
The University of Washington graduate was nearly killed when a board flew from a U-Haul trailer and smashed through her windshield. It took the Superior Court jury nearly a week to decide that U-Haul was a big part to blame for the accident. Jurors found U-Haul to be 67% at fault in the accident, and the driver of the U-Haul truck to be 33% at fault, for not tying down the entertainment center he was towing in the open trailer.
The $15.5 million verdict will help Federici pay for the innumerable surgeries she still faces and possibly a house. Federici hopes to someday be able to live on her own. “It’ll just help me get back to living a bit more of a normal life-as normal as it can get. I hope it opens people’s eyes up on this matter,” she said, referring to bringing awareness about the dangers of driving with unsecured loads.
Maria’s Law, which stiffens penalties in Washington for motorists who fail to properly secure their loads, was inspired by this 2004 trucking accident.
Although the driver was found to be 33% responsible for this accident, if he is unable to pay his share, U-Haul would have to pay the entire $15.5 million, under state law. Jurors decided that the trailer was “not reasonably safe”, as it did not come with adequate instructions or warnings. The general consensus was that U-Haul International Inc. and U-Haul Co. of Washington were negligent. Also found negligence in part was Capron Holdings Inc., owner of the Bellevue Texaco station where the trailer was rented. However, they were not found to be a cause of the accident.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Seattle auto accident such as this, call the personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282, or visit our website at www.4injured.com .