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Dauphin County Jury Awards $2.85 Million In Damages For Hummelstown Car Accident

Posted on Dec 12, 2012

The Harrisburg Patriot News is reporting today, December 12, 2012, on a Central Pennsylvania car accident which resulted in a jury verdict this week of almost $3 million.

Nearly seven years after it happened, a Dauphin County jury today awarded $2.85 million in damages over a horrific crash that killed a Hummelstown man. The panel ruled after hearing a week of testimony in a trial on a lawsuit involving the death of 57-year-old William H. Smith. Smith, a father of two, died on Jan. 3, 2006 when a backhoe was jolted from a tractor trailer on Interstate 83 and its bucket slammed into his sport utility vehicle.

Smith’s wife, Linda, filed suit a year after her husband’s death. She claimed that workers at MGD Equiptech of Myerstown, Lebanon County, had not properly secured the backhoe to a flatbed trailer for transport. MGD employees hadn’t measured the height of the backhoe or warned the truck driver, who was taking it to Florida, that the machine was too tall to pass beneath some highway bridges, Linda Smith contended. MGD denied Smith’s claims and in turn added truck driver Robert Weis and his employer, Raynor Farm Service, both of North Carolina, as defendants in the case.

The defendants then pointed fingers at each other during the trial in Judge Bruce F. Bratton’s courtroom. According to police, the backhoe was launched from its trailer and into William Smith’s vehicle when the boom of the digging machine struck the underpass for Paxton Street in Swatara Township. The backhoe had clipped one other underpass just before the fatal crash, court filings state. It was determined that when loaded on the trailer the backhoe was more than a foot too tall to negotiate the underpass.

In its verdict, the jury attributed 35 percent of the negligence for the accident to MGD and allotted the rest of the blame to Weis and Raynor.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another driver, contact a Harrisburg car accident lawyer at 717-888-8888 or 888-476-0807 for a free case review. You may also download a free copy of our book Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured in an Automobile Accident? for more information about how Schmidt Kramer Dauphin County Car Accident Lawyers can help.