Bakersfield jury returns $10 million verdict in 2017 crash

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A jury on Friday awarded $10 million to a man who suffered a brain injury and other trauma when a semi-truck ran a red light and broadsided his vehicle in 2017.

The family of Laurence Little will receive a total of $13 million, said attorney Nicholas C. Rowley. That number includes $3 million in prejudgment interest because the trucking company’s insurance carrier refused an offer to settle for $1 million, he said.

“We’re very, very proud of the Kern County jury,” said the attorney, one of several who represented the family. “Very proud and thankful.”

John S. Lowenthal, the lawyer representing defendants Davinder Singh and US Freight Carrier, LLC, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

On May 17, 2017, Little was making a right turn from eastbound Ming Avenue south onto Gosford Road when a semi-truck driven by Singh broadsided the driver’s side door, according to court filings. Witnesses reported Singh ran a red light while traveling between 60 to 65 mph while looking down with a cellphone pressed to his ear.

Little lost consciousness and stopped breathing, according to the lawsuit. He began breathing again after other drivers at the scene — including a respiratory therapist and nurse — pulled him from his vehicle and laid him on the ground.

He was taken to Kern Medical and discharged the next morning.

Seven days later, Little returned to the hospital with ongoing pain in his shoulder and hip, the documents say. Further examination revealed multiple injuries, according to the suit, and Little, after experiencing cognitive issues, was later diagnosed with a brain injury.

“His brain was totally changed,” Rowley said. “His body has changed. He’s a different person.”

Little ran a home alarm business where he typically worked 10 to 12 hours a day. He’s no longer able to work, Rowley said.

The documents say, “Mr. Little’s injuries from the accident have impacted his ability to work and function independently. He is physically impaired by the fact that he has muscle wasting and no power in the left shoulder, external rotation of the shoulder is very painful, and lifting over head is hard.”

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