California trucker gets $1.9 million injury settlement for hay bale crash

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 11/19/2013

A California trucker who suffered serious injuries after a 2012 crash involving a hay bale has been awarded a $1.9 million payout.

Trucker Chris Alcantara, 48, of Porterville, reached a settlement with the insurance company, according to a Nov. 15 report in The Sacramento Bee.

Court documents filed in connection with Alcantara’s lawsuit show he initially filed a complaint in the Tulare County division of the Superior Court of California in June of last year against Alden Nunes Inc., a harvesting business in Tulare, Calif.

According to the complaint, at around 8:30 p.m. on May 12, 2012, Alcantara was driving a westbound milk tanker truck on behalf of his employer, Ruan Transport on Avenue 120 near the intersection of Road 136 in a rural area of Tulare. At around the same time, Enrique Avila, an employee of Alden Nunes was driving a John Deere tractor pulling a hay baler.

Avila had been baling hay in an adjacent field when he pulled onto the roadway without first securing the hay bale. The hay bale dropped onto the roadway and Alcantara did not see it until he was very close, causing him to swerve at 50 mph to avoid hitting the hay.

Court records indicate Alcantara lost control of his rig and went off road, rolling the vehicle over and becoming trapped in the cab. The documents say he was pinned for approximately 45 minutes before being extracted by emergency personnel and medical-flighted to a nearby hospital for treatment of severe injuries.

A meditation brief filed in connection with the case states that Alcantara has incurred nearly $226,000 in medical expenses. That figure is expected to grow with future treatment and possible surgeries. The brief also states that he has suffered lost wages between $832,159 and $1,177,738.

The brief also notes that Alcantara has suffered long-term injuries, including pain that prevents him from sitting or driving for long periods of time; physical damage to his brain, face, neck, shoulders and back; blurred vision; memory loss and depression.

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