On August 16, 2013, Stephen Bowles slowed his SUV on I-95 in New Haven due to heavy summer traffic when a tractor trailer owned by M&G Trucking and driven by its employee, Jose Moreira, of Rhode Island, plowed into the back of the SUV pushing it into the car ahead of it. The SUV was struck with such force that it was totaled, causing Stephen Bowles to briefly lose consciousness and his wife, Diane, who was a passenger, to suffer serious chest injuries.
The truck driver claimed to the police that his load had suddenly and unexpectedly shifted, that he could not stop his truck in time and that the accident was not his fault.
Stephen Bowles, age 69, experienced a concussion, a fractured pelvis and a left shoulder injury. He went through a left shoulder arthroscopy. Due to the trauma of this crash, he was subsequently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and extreme anxiety especially when driving, for which he went through cognitive therapy. His medical bills totaled $74,000.00 His orthopedist assigned him a 39% impairment, including 14% to his neck, 15% to his shoulder, 7% to his lumbar spine, 9% to his left hip and 2% to his knee. As a self-employed court reporter, he valued his lost earnings at $130,000.00
Diane Bowles, age 62, was hospitalized for 3 days with six fractured ribs, a liver contusion and neck and torso sprains. She then underwent physical therapy and received steroid injections to her lumbar spine. She received a whole person permanency rating of 23%. Her medical bills to date are $60,000.00. It is anticipated that she will go through a lumbar decompression and fusion some time during her life at a cost of another estimated $60,000.00.
The trucking company only had 1 million dollars in coverage but approximately $20,000.00 had been paid out for property damage, leaving available coverage of $980,000.00. There was no other insurance covering the tractor-trailer and its driver. The case settled after mediation in Federal Court for $900,000.00, each receiving $450,000.00.
"Mr. & Mrs. Bowles were very pleased that the case could be settled before trial for virtually all of the available insurance coverage, without lengthy and expensive litigation," according to Atty. Kelly Reardon of The Reardon Law Firm of New London, who represent them. Reardon explained that "there was no realistic possibility here of additional recovery from a small, independent, out of state trucking company, but fortunately there was a substantial liability policy available to my clients that they were able to recover. My clients were happy to bring closure to their cases so that they could get on with their lives."