Couple Awarded Settlement 7 Years After Accident

On July 11, 2007, on Interstate 70, around 9 a.m., Steve and Wanda Hartzler of Rich Hill were traveling east near the Centralia exit east of Columbia when the traffic they were in were forced to slow down due to debris on the road, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, Kevin Stanley.

“A fully loaded tractor trailer carrying grain slammed into the rear of the 2007 Hyundai Sonata that Steven Hartzler was driving” at an estimated speed of 45 to 50 miles per hour,” Stanley said in a news release.

The Hartzlers were treated and released at a nearby hospital but Steve Hartzler “developed post-traumatic stress disorder and an aggravation of his ongoing bout with depression,” the news release said. Hartzler was hospitalized “for the aggravation of pre-existing depression” within a month after the accident and was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder for a little more than a year after the accident, according to Stanley.

The couple filed suit against the trucking company, Big K Enterprises, claiming it was liable for the accident, which they alleged was caused by truck driver Carl Campbell’s negligence. Stanley said he thinks the evidence pertaining to Hartzler’s psychological trauma is what swayed the jury and  that the trucking company admitted liability, which Glen Ehrhardt, the defense attorney, confirmed.

The jury awarded Steve Hartzler $365,000 and Wanda Hartzler $180,000 for physical injuries.

According to Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly, here are the specifics of the case:

$545,000 verdict

Motor vehicle collision

Venue: Boone County Circuit Court

Case number/date: 08BA-CV04165/Aug. 21, 2014

Judge: Gary Oxenhandler

Last pretrial demand: $250,000 total

Last pretrial offer: $55,000 for Steve Hartzler and $35,000 for Wanda Hartzler

Caption: Steven and Wanda Hartzler v. Big K Enterprises LLC and Carl Campbell

Plaintiffs’ experts: Dr. P. Brent Koprivica, Kansas City, Kansas (occupational medicine); Wayne Stillings, St. Louis (psychiatrist); Terry Cordray, Overland Park, Kan. (vocational rehabilitation)

Defendants’ experts: Dr. Adrian Ray, Columbia (emergency room doctor); Elizabeth Pribor, St. Louis (psychiatrist)

Plaintiffs’ attorneys: Kevin Stanley and Timothy J. Kingsbury, Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, Independence

Defendants’ attorneys: Glen Ehrhardt and James Howard, Rogers, Ehrhardt, Weber & Howard, Columbi


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