MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.
— A Maui-area man who was forced to repair his appliance with a hammer and crowbar after it broke after an out-of-service trailer hit his car won $5 million in a federal lawsuit.
The jury awarded Joshua Miller $4.75 million Friday after finding he suffered “significant emotional distress and humiliation” as a result of the incident in September 2014, according to court records.
The verdict came as Miller’s attorney and the attorney for the trailer company that owns the trailer that struck Miller’s car asked for the award to be reduced to $1.9 million.
Miller’s car was damaged in the crash, which occurred when he lost control of the trailer after it went over a curb in downtown Maui.
Miller told the jury that he was driving in his driveway and the trailer “started to veer out of control and hit my car,” the lawsuit states.
The trailer, which was being towed by a company, “kicked Miller out of the way, causing the car to crash into a house,” the complaint states.
Miller said he was able to pull himself from the wreckage of the crash and get help from a tow truck operator, who called 911 and was able “to safely get me to the hospital for treatment.”
He was in a medically induced coma and had to be transferred to a rehabilitation center, the lawsuit says.
Miller suffered “a severe concussion, multiple fractures and severe brain damage” after the crash.
He suffered an additional “severe brain injury” after being left in a coma for several weeks, the suit states.
His wife and other family members also suffered “severe emotional distress,” the suit says.
The lawsuit says that the trailer’s owner, “without warning, caused the trailer to accelerate, veer into the path of a tractor trailer, then swerve into a ditch and crash into the house.”
Miller, who was not named in the lawsuit, was awarded $4,700 in damages for his injuries and $2,400 for emotional distress, according the lawsuit.
He was also awarded $1,200 in compensatory damages and $500 in punitive damages, the complaint says.