Shannon Nielson, 38, and her lawyers win her case against a trucking company after she and her fiance were involved in a crash with a truck, taking the life of her fiance and causing her serious injuries

Accident Type: 
Motorcycle Accident
Incident Date: 
Friday, September 23, 2005
Result Date: 
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monetary Result: 
On September 23, 2005, Shannon Nielson, a 38-year-old hairstylist, was riding on the back of a motorcycle that her fiance, Troy McDaniel, was driving on the Mt. Rose Highway in the Sierra Nevada range of California. As they were riding on the highway, they came across a flatbed truck operated by Carl McAlister, an employee of the White Cap Construction Supply company. McDaniel grounded the motorcycle to avoid striking the truck, which was making a U-turn on the two-lane highway. The couple skidded on the pavement towards the truck and were run over by its rear wheels. McDaniel died within the hour, however Nielson survived with injuriesto her pervic bone and her wrist. She was bedridden for three weeks and later used a walker and then crutches. Nielson, McDaniel's estate, and his parents decided to sue McAlister and his employer, and its corporate owner, Home Depot USA, Inc. Ten months before the trial, however, McDaniel's parents agreed to a confidential settlement with Home Depot, and were voluntarily dismissed from the trial. Nielson was therefore left as the only plaintiff at the trial. She and her lawyers argued that she and her fiance were traveling at approximately 40 MPH uphill and approached a slight curve. After taking the curve, she reported that she saw a truck positioned across the highway. As her fiance grounded the bike, they were propelled across the pavement into the truck. Subsequently, the trucks rear tires drove over McDaniel's chest and over her right hip. The defendants admitted liability on the first day of trial. Nielson claimed emotional distress at the thought of her open reduction surgery and the trauma related to the moments preceding the accident and at the time of the impact. In addition, the screws placed in her hip caused persistent irritation. As a yoga enthusiast, she can no longer perform certain poses, and the permanent discomfort of her right wrist has cause her difficulty in performing her work as a hairstylist. She therefore sought compensation for her medical expenses, loss of income, and emotional damages. In the end, the jury ruled in favor of Nielson. She was awarded $775,361.

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