In December 2014, a $21 million settlement was reached between now-bankrupt Hostess Brands food company and a German tourist. Michael Sprick was biking across the United States while on vacation in 2011 when he was struck by a Hostess bread truck on Highway 100 in Pulaski County, Virginia. Sprick suffered numerous, severe injuries and may never fully recover. The Cochran Firm, D.C. did not represent Sprick in this case.
An avid biker, Sprick was biking from Canada to Miami, Florida, where he was to depart back to Germany at the end of his vacation. The driver of the Hostess truck claimed another vehicle caused him to swerve and hit Sprick. Sprick was thrown from his bike and landed on an embankment. The injuries Sprick suffered were extremely traumatic and may never make a full recovery.
Sprick was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for medical treatment. His injuries included anoxic brain damage (a complete lack of oxygen reaching the brain), cardiac arrest, broken vertebrae and ribs, and hematoma. While in a long-term care facility after his accident, Sprick also suffered a severe infection.
Sprick was not expected to survive his injuries and was transported to Germany to see family for the last time. Miraculously, his condition improved and remains alive, though he is confined to a hospital bed and most likely will not fully recover. Sprick is unable to speak or take care of himself and will require life-long care.
Sprick’s award took into account pain and suffering incurred, lost wages, and past and future medical costs. Determining appropriate compensation for Sprick was a legal difficulty since his diminished capacity and lack of family posed the question of whether compensatory damages would have any positive impact on Sprick’s life. While Sprick’s German health insurance will provide for his care, the settlement will allow him to seek alternative medical treatments for his various medical conditions.
Sprick was awarded a $21 million settlement for his catastrophic injuries. Sprick’s sister hopes the addition treatments the settlement will pay for will allow Sprick to one day leave his hospital and join her at home.