Motorist blames trucker, employer for back injury

By Robert Hadley | Apr 27, 2016

WHEELING – An Ohio County man is suing a truck driver and his employer over an accident that allegedly fractured his back.

WHEELING – An Ohio County man is suing a truck driver and his employer over an accident that allegedly fractured his back.

Gerald W. Berghoff filed a lawsuit April 18 in Ohio Circuit Court against Samuel L. Hook and Zumstein Inc., alleging negligence and vicarious liability.


According to the complaint, on Jan. 5 Berghoff pulled onto an exit ramp on Interstate 70 toward a welcome center on I-70 in Ohio County when the defendants’ vehicle rear-ended his car. Berghoff claims Hook was speeding and distracted at the time of the collision, which hit with enough force to push both vehicles off the road into a nearby stand of trees, the suit alleges.

The suit says Berghoff suffered severe, life-threatening injuries, including a broken back and injuries to his hands, shoulders and fingers. Berghoff says his medical treatment is ongoing. Zumstein, Hook’s employer, is accused under the doctrine of respondeat superior, a principle that blames employers for an employee’s actions.

The plaintiff seeks a jury trial and compensatory damages for his injuries and medical expenses, plus interest and litigation costs. He is represented by attorneys Eric Chaffin and Patrick Booth of Chaffin Luhana LLP in Weirton.

Judge Ronald E. Wilson is assigned to the case.

Ohio Circuit Court Case number 16-C-117

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