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Houston car accident allegedly ends firefighter's career; rear end crash; low back disc injury with laminectomy; $900,000

Motor Vehicle
Accident Allegedly Ends Veteran Firefighter's Career
Mediation: $900,000.00
Attorney fees:  $360,000
Litigation expenses:  $40,000
Case Type: Rear-ender
Case: Tranquilino C. Munoz, Sr. v. Newtron, Inc. and John D. Grant, No. B165254
Venue: Jefferson County District Court, 60th, TX
Judge: Gary Sanderson | Perry Neichoy (Mediator)
Date: 02-12-2003

 

PLAINTIFF(S)
Attorney:  
  • Vuk S. Vujasinovic; Houston, TX, for Tranquilino Munoz
 

 

DEFENDANT(S)
Attorney:
  • Keith Kebodeaux; Law Offices of Keith Kebodeaux; Beaumont, TX, for Newtron, Inc., John D. Grant


Expert:
  • Carl Shrontz M.E.; Independent Medical Examiner; Beaumont, TX called by: Keith Kebodeaux
  • Dr. Stephen Winder; Accident Reconstruction; Houston, TX called by: Keith Kebodeaux
  • Timothy Harrigan Sc.D., P.E.; Biomechanics; Natick, MA called by: Keith Kebodeaux
Insurer:
  • Kemper Insurance Company for all defendants

 

Facts:
Tranquilino Munoz, Sr., a 52-year-old veteran firefighter with the Houston Fire Department, was driving a pickup truck northbound on I-45 in Houston, when he was rear-ended by a Ford Expedition driven by John D. Grant, an employee of Newtron Inc., an electrical instrumentation company in Jefferson County. A police officer stopped at the scene, but the parties advised him that an investigation wasn't necessary. Munoz drove his vehicle from the scene back to work.

Munoz sued Newtron and Grant alleging that, at the time of the collision, Grant was both negligent and acting within the course and scope of his employment.

The defendants maintained that the accident was unavoidable and that Grant had acted reasonably in response to a sudden emergency. The vehicles were traveling in lunch hour stop and go traffic. Several vehicles stopped abruptly. Grant claimed that he was unable to stop in time to avoid colliding with the rear of Munoz's pickup truck.

 

 


Injury:
Munoz was treated conservatively for a year-and-a-half for injuries to his neck and lower back and then underwent a micro laminectomy at L5-S1. The treating neurosurgeon further recommended a future cervical fusion at C5-6.

Munoz had to retire from the Houston Fire Department. He now works on a fire rescue team.

The defendants argued Munoz had pre-existing injuries to his lower back and neck caused by a violent prior rear-end motor vehicle accident. After that accident, Munoz was hospitalized and diagnosed with multiple herniated discs in his lower back and neck, including the L5-S1 and C5-6.

 


Verdict Information Mediator Perry Neichoy of Beaumont successfully negotiated a pre-trial settlement in the amount of $900,000. The primary insurance policy limit was $1 million.

Post-Trial: The case which had been set for trial on Feb. 19, 2003, has been settled.

 

Awarded: $900,000 settlement; $360,000 attorney fee; $40,000 expenses


Vuk Stevan Vujasinovic
Board Certified Injury Lawyer. First Generation American. Life-Long Texan. Husband. Father.