Kenneth Willis, 54, was driving his tractor-trailer on a four-lane highway when he was struck by a van driven by Lera Sawatzky, who had crossed the highway median from the opposing lane. Willis suffered a rotator cuff injury that required three surgeries.
A truck driver earning about $1,000 per week, he was out of work for 71 weeks and incurred about $85,000 in medical expenses. He now has limited range of motion as a result of the collision.
Willis sued Sawatsky, alleging failure to properly control the van, keep an adequate lookout, and devote her full attention to driving.
The defendant admitted liability. The jury awarded about $1.51 million.
Citation: Willis v. Sawatzky, No. CIV-09-106 (W.D. Okla. June 16, 2010).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Joe S. Carson, Oklahoma City.