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College-Bound Young Man Wins $49 Million for Injuries Sustained During Truck Accident

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Drew Bianchi had a promising future: he was just finishing community college and was head to the University of California, Davis. Sadly, those plans were dashed after Bianchi was severely brain damaged in a Pacheco Pass highway car accident in Santa Clara County, California.

A Santa Clara County jury awarded Bianchi $49 million in damages this week after he was permanently injured in a highway accident on May 3, 2007. The then 23-year-old Bianchi was a passenger in a Toyota Avalon on the Pacheco Pass highway, when two trucks collided near the centerline of the two-lane highway. One of the trucks hit the Toyota in the rear, crushing the part of the car where Bianchi was seated. He will need care for the rest of his life.

The two truckers, Samuel Bimbela and Michael Demma, were accused of driving recklessly, including talking on their cell phones. The jury divided the blame between the two truckers and the state, with 60% assigned to Bimbela, 35% to Michael Demma, and 5% to the state. The company Bimbela worked for, Salazar Trucking, agreed to settle outside of court for $2 million. Moreover, prior to the resolution of the trial, the California Department of Transportation agreed to pay Bianchi $10 million to settle his claims against the state. According to court documents, Bianchi and his attorney argued that long-needed safety issues were neglected on Highway 152, ultimately contributing to the crash and his injuries.