Texas Lawyer reported on May 26, 2014 that Stephanie Kinnaird, represented by attorneys Jamal Alsaffar and Tom Jacob recovered one of the top settlements in Texas in 2013 as a result of the negligent operation of a United States Department of Army truck in Lawton, Oklahoma. On the morning of June 26, 2007, an Army Sergeant negligently ran a red light while driving the last vehicle in an Army convoy. The vehicle driven by the Sergeant was a U.S. Army Oshkosh PLS in Lawton, Oklahoma. An Oshkosh PLS weighs over 24 tons and can reach speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour. It is a 500 horsepower, heavy-tactical truck with a payload capacity of over 16 tons. On this particular day, the truck had about four tons of cargo. Two witnesses in the parking lot of a gas station at the intersection saw the Army truck and described it as travelling “at a high rate of speed,” and “fast.”
Stefanie Kinnaird was driving legally through a green light when the Army truck crashed into her driver-side door. Ms. Kinnaird’s car spun counterclockwise 360 degrees and came to a rest. Witnesses called the Lawton police, who arrived to investigate. Three witnesses to the crash provided statements to the police that they saw the Army truck enter the intersection on a red light. After conducting further investigation, the police officers cited the Army Sergeant for failing to stop at a “steady … red signal.” The Lawton police noted the “unsafe/unlawful contributing factor” in the collision report was Sgt. Galindo’s failure to stop for the traffic signal. The Lawton police department did not cite Ms. Kinnaird for any traffic violations. The Army Sergeant subsequently plead no contest and was convicted of “failing to obey instructions on traffic control device” in violation of Oklahoma law.
Even though Ms. Kinnaird was wearing her shoulder and lap seatbelt, the collision report noted that she had “incapacitating” injury to her head, abdomen (both internal and external), arms and legs.” She was taken away from the crash scene in an ambulance to the hospital. Ms. Kinnaird’s car was totaled and towed away from the crash scene. Ms. Kinnaird suffered a closed head injury, fractured ribs, collapsed lung, complex lacerations in her abdominal/pelvic area, hematomas, internal injuries, multiple soft tissue contusions and abrasions, including open wound wrist, jaw, and a contusion of her buttocks. Her medical records indicate that she had “resultant immobilization” for over two and a half months after the crash and “severe muscular contusions with likely micro focal bleeding and scarring.” Her doctor diagnosed her with whiplash syndrome to multiple segments of her spine.
Prior to the accident, Ms. Kinnaird was very active and involved in her daughters’ lives and as head of the household while her husband was serving overseas in the Iraq war theater. She had no significant medical history or injuries, and was otherwise physically and mentally healthy. As a result of the accident, Ms. Kinnaird suffered a permanent, traumatic brain injury that will require therapy and treatment. As a result of the crash, Ms. Kinnaird has undergone several surgeries and medical procedures to treat the injuries she sustained. According to Texas Lawyer, the $1,000,000 settlement obtained on behalf of the family (with clients receiving $650,236 plus lifetime benefits after attorneys’ fees and case expenses) was one of the top verdicts in any practice area in Texas in 2013.