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GLADYSZ v. UNITED STATES

September 26, 1951

GLADYSZ
v.
UNITED STATES. WAUGH v. UNITED STATES



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MURPHY

Plaintiffs, age 34, driver and passenger respectively, residents of this district, seek damages for injuries sustained about 9:10 P.M., September 3, 1948, in a collision involving a taxicab *fn1" in which they were riding, a station wagon *fn2" and a United States Army tractor trailer *fn3" driven by a member of the United States Armed Services in the course of his official duties at the intersection of Paxson and Comeron Streets *fn4" in the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The cases were joined for trial to the court without a jury. Jurisdiction is based upon 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1346(b) and 1402(b) of the Federal Tort Claims Act.

 Findings of Fact

 The taxicab, in the lane nearest the easterly curb, and the station wagon, to its immediate left in the outermost lane, were traveling in a northerly direction on Cameron Street; the tractor trailer, in the lane nearest to the southerly curb, in an easterly direction on Paxson Street, intending at the intersection to turn right into Cameron Street and proceed in a southerly direction thereon. West of the intersection a bridge crosses Paxson Street, supported by a concrete abutment and steel pillars so located that the view to the right of a driver approaching the intersection on the south side of Paxson Street and the view to the left of a driver approaching on the east side of Cameron Street is somewhat obstructed. When the taxicab and the station wagon arrived at the intersection the light being red as to north and south traffic, they came to a full stop at the pedestrian line crossing Cameron Street. When the light changed green in their favor they proceeded north across the intersection, the front of the station wagon to the side of but a few feet ahead of the taxicab. Before starting out the driver of the taxicab and the passenger therein- seated on the front seat immediately to the right of the driver- looked to the right and left and saw nothing approaching in either direction. The driver then proceeded to cross the intersection in a northerly direction. While in the act of doing so the plaintiffs again looked to the right and to the left; the view to the left was then however obstructed by the side of the station wagon.

 When the front of the station wagon reached a point one-fourth of the way across the intersection and the taxicab immediately to its right but a few feet behind, the tractor trailer, traveling twenty-five to thirty miles an hour, came through the red light, struck the station wagon causing it in turn to strike the taxicab, damaging all three vehicles and, insofar as this action is concerned, injuring the occupants of the taxicab.

 When the light turned green in favor of north and south traffic on Cameron Street, the tractor trailer was so far west of the abutment that it could not be seen by the driver of either vehicle. As the tractor trailer approached the intersection and the driver attempted to reduce its speed the brakes failed to operate. The driver of the tractor trailer, unable to stop or to make a right turn, went through the red light and into and across the intersection with his vehicle out of control.

 As a result of the impact, the driver and passenger were thrown from the taxicab onto the pavement, causing the following:

 As to the plaintiff Gladysz, a temporary state of shock, fracture of six ribs on the right side, puncture of the membrane enclosing the lung, dislocation of the right knee cap, a chip fracture of the bony knob above the knee, a bilateral fracture of the pubis, lacerations of the right armpit, the right thigh and the face, and a rupture of the supra and infraspinatus muscles of the right arm and shoulder. During the course of treatment he was jaundiced for a few weeks. All of the foregoing occasioned pain and suffering.

 With one exception, apart from surgical scars and the recurrence of pain in the pubic region, Gladysz has recovered from all the injuries occasioned by the accident. As a result of the injury his right arm is functionally impaired forty to fifty percent. While he would be able to continue in his usual employment, i.e., driving a taxicab, he would not be able to raise his hand above his head.

 As a result of the foregoing, Gladysz suffered special damages as follows:

 Harrisburg Polyclinic Hospital-

 Sept. 3, 1948, to Dec. 20, 1948 . . . $ 1,146.25

 Dr. Thomas Outland . . . $ ...


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