Highway collision with big rig. $750K verdict, followed by settlement. Monterey County.


Truck driver suddenly stops big rig in traffic lane on highway, is rammed by plaintiff's vehicle.

The Case

  • Case Name: Sabino Trejo v. Northwest Freightways, Ltd.
  • Court and Case Number: Monterey County Superior Court / M133274
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, November 21, 2016
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
  • Type of Case: Negligence, Vehicles - Tractor Trailers
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Thomas W. Wills
  • Plaintiffs:
    Sabino Trejo, 34.
  • Defendants:
    Northwest Freightways, Ltd.
    Dalvir Singh Grewal
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $734,040.92
  • Settlement Amount: $750,754.65 (Defendants agreed to pay all costs in plaintiff’s Memorandum of Costs.)
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 hours.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: None.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Southwest Legal Group by L. Dean Smith, Jr., Woodland Hills.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Gordon & Rees LLP by Charles S. Custer and David A. Serrano, San Francisco.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Moshe Wilker, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Max Wintermark, M.D., radiology, Palo Alto.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Russell Gish, P.E., accident reconstruction.

    John Gardiner, P.E., biomechanics.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Michael Braun, accident reconstruction, Livermore.

    Winthrop Smith, biomechanics, Livermore.

    Karen Preston, billing.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On October 29, 2013 plaintiff was driving his 1991 Honda Accord southbound on US 101 in Monterey County.  Defendant, Dalvir Singh Grewal, in course and scope of employment with Northwest Freightways, Ltd., was operating his 2008 Freightliner eastbound on San Juan Road approaching US 101. Defendant Grewal pulled his truck into the #2 lane of US 101 and stopped. Plaintiff Trejo applied his brakes, but could not avoid the collision.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant, Dalvir Singh Grewal, was negligent because he failed to yield the right of way when he pulled onto the freeway and stopped.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants contended that plaintiff, Sabino Trejo, was negligent because he was traveling 60 in a 55 m.p.h. zone and had he been traveling the speed limit he could have avoided the accident by braking. Defendants also disputed the extent and nature of plaintiff's medical care, as well as the reasonableness of the cost.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Lumbar decompression and fusion at L4-5.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $274,040.92
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $350,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None claimed.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None claimed.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $450,000