Truck Accident Lawsuit

Truck accident lawsuit updates from around the United States.

Truck Accident Lawsuit News: Trucking Company Settles Crash Lawsuit for $150m Despite Denying Any Responsibility

August 2, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

At approximately 5 am on May 24, 2020, three adults and two children were traveling eastbound on Interstate 30 outside Sulphur Springs in northeast Texas when their 2008 Saturn Outlook stopped in the lane of travel. The three adults exited the vehicle, leaving the two children inside.   

Sometime thereafter, with the stopped vehicle still in the roadway, a 2020 Freightliner Cascadia 125 semi-truck owned and operated by Werner Enterprises plowed into the Saturn Outlook, killing the two children.   

Now, just over two years later, Werner has announced a $150 million settlement in a lawsuit stemming from the crash, despite continuing to deny any responsibility whatsoever for the tragedy.   

“The circumstances of this tragic accident were set in motion by the decision to park a vehicle on a highway in the lane of travel, as indicated in the investigating officer’s report,” Werner Legal Chief Officer Nathan Meisgeier said, per Werner’s statement. “Nonetheless, corporate defendants are facing ‘nuclear verdicts’ in courtrooms across the country, including in Texas. Werner believes it prudent to resolve this case, to bring closure for the family affected by this tragic accident and to protect Werner, its employees, and its shareholders. Our sincere prayers and condolences remain with the family.”   

Werner ultimately will pay only $10 million of the $150 million settlement amount, with the rest to be covered by its insurers, the Omaha World-Herald reported.   

According to Werner, the transportation and logistics company posted revenues of $2.7 billion in 2021.   

In speaking of “nuclear verdicts” Werner’s Meisgeier presumably is referring to a series of favorable outcomes in recent years for plaintiffs who have suffered unimaginable tragedy and loss due to corporate malfeasance and the placing of profit above safety and human lives. These verdicts were delivered by juries of the parties’ peers in courts of law, and, in many cases, were upheld upon vigorous appeal by the corporate defendants.   

Despite Werner’s continued refusal to take any public responsibility for the deaths of two children who were killed directly by one of its vehicles while it was being operated by one of its drivers, the company’s agreement to pay the parents of the deceased $150 million speaks louder than its words.   

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile or trucking accident, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!        

Sources:   

Werner Enterprises, Inc. (28 July 2022). Werner Enterprises Announces Recent Settlement of Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit. Global News Wire.   

Crisler, Dan. (30 July 2022). Werner Enterprises reaches $150 million settlement over fatal Texas crash. Omaha World-Herald via Norfolk Daily News.   

Westhues, Kevin. (28 July 2022). Werner settles 2020 crash lawsuit for $150 million. WOWT NBC 6 News.

Truck Accident Lawsuit News: Multiple Lawsuits Filed in Aftermath of Fatal Dump Truck – Train Collision

July 19, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

On June 27, 54-year-old Billy Barton II was driving a dump truck loaded with rock aggregate from a quarry site to an Army Corps of Engineers project when he approached a notoriously dangerous railroad crossing. While the facts of exactly what happened next remain in dispute, somehow the dump truck became situated in the train’s path, where the two vehicles collided, causing seven of the train’s eight cars to derail.      

Barton II was killed in the crash, as were three passengers onboard the Amtrak passenger train, which had been en route from Los Angeles to Chicago. Approximately 150 other passengers were injured, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.      

“The train struck the back part of the truck, and then the train derailed,” National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy said following the incident, per CBS News. “The train consisted of two locomotives, six coach cars, a café car, and a baggage car.”      

It took only days for the first lawsuits to be filed. On June 30, CBS News reported that Barton’s wife Erin had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against BNSF railways and Chariton County, Missouri, alleging that the railway intersection where her husband was killed was “ultra-hazardous.”      

Specifically, Barton’s suit named BNSF engineering manager Mariano Rodriguez, who, the lawsuit claims, failed in his duty to ensure “the safety, proper inspection and maintenance” of railway crossings used by the company’s trains. Among the deficiencies alleged, Barton cites the lack of gates, bells, or lights warning drivers of approaching trains, as well as limited sight angles for viewing approaching trains, sight lines that were further obstructed by trees, brush, and other vegetation. Barton’s lawsuit also says that “the surfaces of the crossing were narrow, rough and poorly maintained.”      

“These conditions at the crossing created an ultra-hazardous crossing,” the lawsuit asserts, per CBS News.      

Similarly, Barton argues that Chariton County failed in its duty to design, build, and maintain safe roadways with regards to the area leading up to the railway crossing. Her lawsuit says that several complaints had been filed with the county about that particular railway crossing, but that, for years, the county did nothing to alleviate the danger.      

Also within just days of the crash, BNSF Railways sued MS Contracting, Billy Barton II’s employer and owner of the dump truck involved in the crash. BNSF accuses MS Contracting of negligence, saying that Barton II caused the collision when he “failed to yield the right of way to the approaching Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 4.” BNSF labeled Barton II’s actions “unsafe, careless and reckless” and accused his employer of failing to properly train him.      

On July 15, KMBC News 9 reported that MS Contracting had formally requested a pause in that case, citing the ongoing NTSB investigation.                                    

“At this time, the investigation of the NTSB is still ongoing, and no public release of findings has been made,” the company said in a court filing. “It would be highly prejudicial to defendant MS Contracting, LLC to allow this litigation to proceed prior to the public release of the findings of the NTSB as to its investigation of the accident.”      

Without the information contained in that report, MS Contracting argues, it cannot adequately respond to the allegations contained in BNSF’s lawsuit.      

In any event, neither the NTSB report nor any of the litigation involving the crash are likely to be concluded any time soon, as the families of the collision’s other fatalities, as well as the 150 or so other injured parties, bring their own claims.      

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile or trucking accident, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!        

Sources:      

Jones, Zeo Christen. (29 June 2022). At least 4 dead, dozens injured after Amtrak train derails in Missouri. CBS News.      

Reardon, Sophie. (30 June 2022). Widow of truck driver killed in Amtrak collision filed wrongful death lawsuit over ‘ultra-hazardous’ crossing. CBS News.      

Flener, Matt. (15 July 2022). Dump truck company involved in Amtrak crash asks judge to stop federal lawsuit, citing NTSB investigation. KMBC News 9.

Truck Accident Lawsuit News: Trucking Company and Driver Sued for $5m over Death of Activist

June 29, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

On June 19, 2020, 65-year-old animal-rights activist Regan Russell was at the Fearmans Pork processing plant in Burlington, Ontario, protesting while providing water to the animals contained there—something she did on a weekly basis—when she was struck by a transport truck operated by Brussells Transport. Russell was killed by the collision.   

Russell’s husband Mark Powell—who has carried on his late wife’s weekly tradition of demonstrating at Fearmans—has now filed a $5 million lawsuit against the truck’s driver, the trucking company Brussells Transport, and Sofina Foods, owner of the Fearmans Pork facility, the CBC reported June 27.   

Powell’s lawsuit alleges that the defendants’ negligence led to his wife’s death. Specifically, it claims that the driver made an unsafe turn while failing to adequately monitor the scene; that Brussells Transport did not appropriately screen its driver’s competence level; and that Sofina Foods had allowed conditions that were unsafe for pedestrians to persist in the vicinity of its Fearmans Pork facility.   

Although the driver of the truck that killed Russell has been charged with the non-criminal offense of careless driving causing death, two years after the incident, a trial date has yet to be set. Russell’s husband Powell says that he is just looking for answers.   

“I want to know what happened to my person,” he told the CBC. “I will always honor her and I will stand for what she stood for until I die.”   

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a trucking accident, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!   

Source:   

Casey, Liam. (27 June 2022). Husband of Ontario animal activist killed during protest filed $5M lawsuit. CBC. “I want to know what happened to my person,” Powell said

Truck Accident Lawsuit News: Fla. Teacher Run Over by County Truck Settles for $5.95m

June 13, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

On May 13, 2020, Kristin Stewart was out for a jog. A 14-year veteran of Sarasota County School District in Florida, Stewart was, at the time, a second-grade teacher at Southside Elementary.     

As Stewart crossed Witmarsum Boulevard at Bahia Vista, a massive Ford 550 truck owned by Sarasota County and operated by a Sarasota County employee made what was later determined by the county attorney to be a legal U-turn maneuver. However, the driver of the truck did not see Stewart crossing, and Stewart did not see the truck before it struck her.     

“After hitting me from behind, the county truck dragged me 65 feet up a concrete sidewalk, ripping the flesh from my arms, both hips and entire abdomen,” Stewart told Sarasota County commissioners at a May 24, 2022, per the Herald-Tribune.     

“I felt the truck hit me,” Stewart continued. “I remember every second of being dragged 65 feet on concrete, with the truck on top of me. I remember my bones breaking, and I remember my flesh being torn off. I remember the truck coming to a stop with its right front wheel on top of me, pinning me to the sidewalk under its weight.”     

During the accident, Stewart’s liver was ripped in half.  She suffered multiple fractures, a lacerated kidney, and a bruised colon, in addition to numerous other serious injuries. Through the entire horrific ordeal, she never once lost consciousness.     

Afterwards, Stewart was placed on a ventilator and put into an induced coma, spending weeks recovering in the hospital.     

“My pelvis had to be surgically fused together with two large, permanent screws and will never be able to function like a normal pelvis,” Stewart said.     

Stewart’s injuries extend beyond the physical to the psychological, with her having experienced regular nightmares and having been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the trauma of the accident. Further yet, the accident has impacted Stewart’s daughter, who was born in June 2021, just over one year after the accident. According to Stewart, the delivery of her daughter had to be induced early because physical limitations imposed by the accident have impacted Stewart’s ability to carry a child in utero for a full term.     

“My daughter is healthy, but my limitations have affected her from the start,” Stewart explained in her speech to the county commissioners.     

In the aftermath of the tragic accident, Florida Highway Patrol issued a citation for careless driving to the driver of the county truck, and the state suspended his driver’s license for three months. The driver retired from working at the county in June.     

Additionally, Stewart sued Sarasota County. According to a memo from the Sarasota County Attorney, as a result of the accident, Stewart already has paid $900,000 in medical costs, and it is estimated that she will need to pay an additional $400,000 over the remainder of her lifetime. Further, due to her injuries, Stewart has been forced to give up her profession as an elementary school teacher, which will cost her between $2.3 million and $2.75 million in career earnings. Stewart’s lawsuit alleged non-economic damages as well, including for her chronic pain and loss of enjoyment of life. In her lawsuit, Stewart sought a total of $8.5 million to $10 million in damages.     

With the lawsuit on the verge of trial, Stewart received some form of justice, as she and the County Commissioners reached a settlement for $5.95 million, the Herald-Tribune reported May 27, 2022.     

However, a Florida state law caps damages against state and local governments at $200,000 unless the plaintiff succeeds in having the state legislature pass a bill making a specific exception. As a result, Stewart must now turn to lobbying the state legislature for her to receive her full settlement. In doing so, she has the support of the Sarasota County Commissioners.     

“How we can help is to talk to the members of the delegation [to the state legislature from Sarasota County] – I’m sure they’re going to be 100% united in support of our position and Ms. Stewart’s position – and make sure that they work that claims bill really hard and get it done ASAP,” County Commissioner Nancy Detert said.     

Unfortunately, according to the Herald-Tribune, these so-called claims bills can take a long time to pass, sometimes a number of years, with the publication noting that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had in recent days signed a claim bill authorizing a $3.5 million payment to a student wrestler who suffered a serious brain injury during a match. That claim dated back to 2014.     

In the meantime, the county commissioners have said that they will immediately pay the initial $200,000 toward Stewart’s settlement, as that amount is below the cap and does not require further authorization by the state legislature.     

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck or automobile accident, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!       

Source:     

Snabes, Anna. (27 May 2022). Sarasota County agrees to $5.95 million settlement with schoolteacher injured by truck. Herald-Tribune

Truck Accident Lawsuit News: New Mexico Supreme Court Affirms $165m FedEx Truck Crash Verdict

May 30, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

In a decision issued May 19, the New Mexico state supreme court upheld a $165 million jury verdict in favor of a family devastated by a 2011 crash with a FedEx semi-truck. Defendant FedEx had sought a new trial in the case, arguing that the verdict was excessive, but its request was rejected by the trial court, the appellate court, and, now, the state supreme court.  

On June 11, 2011, 22-year-old Marialy Morga was driving her pickup truck along a New Mexico highway with her four-year-old daughter Ylairam and her toddler son Yahir. According to witnesses, the vehicle was either traveling very slowly or stopped in the right hand lane with its emergency flashers on. Suddenly, a FedEx semi-truck travelling 65 miles per hour collided with Marialy’s pickup.  

As a witness later described, “[i]t seemed that the driver of the FedEx truck never saw the [pickup] truck. It just over took it. On impact…the double trailers in the back, the back trailer buckled, moved up, and they buckled and folded forward. The cab of the FedEx truck collapsed in on itself on top of the small truck.”  

Marialy, her daughter Ylairam, and the driver of the FedEx truck all were killed in the accident. Marialy’s young son Yahir survived but was seriously injured.  

Alfredo Morga, Marialy’s husband and father of the children, sued FedEx on behalf of his two children and himself, “seeking damages including those for Ylairam’s wrongful death, Yahir’s physical injuries, and Mr. Morga’s own emotional and physical injuries and loss of consortium of his wife and daughter,” in the words of the New Mexico supreme court. As representative for her estate, Marialy’s father, Rene Venegas Lopez, sued FedEx on her behalf, also alleging wrongful death.  

After a trial, the jury found in the Morgas’ favor, awarding $61 million for the wrongful death of Ylairam Morga; $32 million for the wrongful death of Marialy Morga; $32 million for the personal injuries to Yahir Morga; $40.125 million for personal injury to Alfredo Morga; $208,000 for the damages suffered by Rene Venegas; and $200,000 for the damages suffered by Georgina Venegas, Marialy’s mother.  

Subsequently, defendant FedEx filed a request for a new trial, arguing that the verdict was excessive and “that it was not supported by substantial evidence and was tainted by passion or prejudice.”  

Now that FedEx has exhausted every opportunity for it to appeal the verdict, the Morgas finally will receive a long-overdue modicum of justice, and FedEx will have to pay dearly for the terrible harms it caused.  

If you or a loved one are seriously injured in a car or truck accident, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!  

Source:  

Supreme Court of New Mexico. (19 May 2022). Opinion. Morga v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc. Docket No. S-1-SC-36918

Truck Accident Lawsuit News: Estate of Man Killed by Pool Supply Truck Awarded $17.5m

May 2, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

On January 9, 2020, 70-year-old retiree and husband of 46 years George Gage III was going for his daily walk on a pedestrian sidewalk alongside Hillsborough Bay in Florida when a white Ford F-150 pickup truck bearing the logo of Pinch A Penny pool service suddenly jumped the curb and struck Gage with such force that his body was thrown into the water. He subsequently died from his injuries.  

Later, it was determined that the driver of the truck, Benjamin Ehas, had been driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, with a blood-alcohol content of 0.234, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08. Additionally, Ehas later told investigators that he had consumed Xanax the evening prior to the accident and that the day of the accident he had smoked marijuana, taken the opioid-treatment medication Suboxone, and drunk Fireball whiskey.   

Six months after the accident, George Gage’s wife of nearly five decades and now executor of his estate Susan Gage sued the truck driver Ehas, the Pinch A Penny franchise for which Ehas worked, and Pinch A Penny, claiming that Ehas’ employers either knew or should have known that Ehas had a habit of being under the influence while on the job, including while driving the company truck.   

In her lawsuit, Susan Gage alleged that, prior to the accident that killed her husband, customers had filed multiple complaints about finding Ehas passed out and apparently under the influence while in his Pinch A Penny truck. On one occasion, a customer complained that Ehas had parked on the center median in front of his house and that Ehas had been passed out in the vehicle with the engine running.   

In response to the complaints, Ehas’ employers placed a GPS tracking device on the vehicle, and the data from this device showed that, two days prior to the accident, Ehas had stopped at a liquor store in the company truck. However, no one at the company checked the GPS data prior to the accident. The GPS data also showed that Ehas had stopped at two liquor stores the morning of the accident.     

While the national Pinch A Penny franchisor and three other defendants decided to settle the claims against them out of court, the owner of the Pinch A Penny franchise John Burek decided to go to trial. On Wednesday, April 20, after a six-day trial, the Gages received some modicum of justice, with a jury awarding the plaintiffs $17.5 million, including $17 million in compensatory damages and $505,000 in punitive damages.   

Despite the victory, an attorney for Susan Gage told The Tampa Bay Times “there’s no joy” in the outcome for her.   

“This is something that she felt she had to do, that George would want her to do,” the attorney said. “The main thing she told me from the beginning was, ‘I just don’t want to see this happen to somebody else.’”   

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident for which you were not at fault, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!   

  Source:    

Marrero, Tony. (22 April 2022). Jury awards $17.5 million to widow of man killed by Pinch A Penny truck on Bayshore. Tampa Bay Times

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: Family of Calif. Man Who Died in Highway Crash with Caltrans Truck Awarded $2.5m

March 30, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

At approximately 11:15 am on January 23, 2019, former Los Angeles County Fire Department captain Michael Shepard was driving his Jeep northbound on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Santa Clarita, California. At the same time, Caltrans was conducting a seven-vehicle sweeping operation that involved a “moving closure” of both the left-hand shoulder and the highway’s HOV lane.   

Thinking he had cleared the entire cleaning convoy, Shepard attempted to pass a vehicle in front of him on the left side. Upon doing so, Shepard struck a Caltrans dump truck located on the highway’s center median. In the crash, Shepard sustained serious injuries to which he would succumb the following day.   

Shepard’s widow, son, and daughter sued over his death, naming as defendants the driver of the Caltrans dump truck, the state of California, and Herc Rentals Inc. They argued that the defendants were at fault because the GMC 3500 dump truck did not have a flashing amber light and because the driver had allowed too much distance between his vehicle and the vehicle behind him in cleaning convoy.   

In their defense, the defendants argued that Shepard was at fault for traveling at an unreasonable speed and for failing to ensure that he had passed all of the vehicles in the cleaning operation before accelerating to pass another vehicle on the left.   

After a full trial and only a few hours of deliberation, a Santa Monica jury essentially agreed with both sides, finding that the state and Shepard both bore 50% responsibility for the accident, concluding that Shepard had acted negligently and that this was a substantial factor in causing the accident.   

The jury awarded damages of $5 million, which were reduced to $2.5 million due to the defendants only bearing 50% responsibility for Shepard’s death.   

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a traffic accident that was not your fault, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!   

Source:   

KFI AM 640. (11 March 2022). Family of Late Fire Captain Awarded $2.5m in Freeway Death

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: NJ Driver Settles Truck Accident Lawsuit for $2m

February 16, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

A New Jersey man who suffered life-altering injuries after having his vehicle pushed off the road by a tractor-trailer has settled his case for $2 million, the Morris Daily Voice reported February 10.  

On June 25, 2019, lumber salesman Kevin Smith was driving in the slow lane on Route 80 in Mount Olive, New Jersey when a tractor-trailer in the middle lane began drifting toward him. The truck ultimately struck Smith’s vehicle, bumping it off the freeway, where it crashed. Smith suffered serious injuries in the wreck, including multiple fractures to the lumbar portion of his spine, which required surgery.  

In response, Smith sued the truck driver and trucking company, which was based out of Hauppage, New York. Smith alleged that he continues to suffer from serious back pain due to the injuries sustained in the accident, which has forced him to abandon recreational activities such as skiing. Smith further claimed that he must continue to undergo physical therapy and that he receives treatment for the ongoing pain.  

According to reports, the $2 million settlement agreement was reached after the parties agreed to participate in mediation.  

If you have been seriously injured in a trucking accident, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!  

Source:  

DeMarco, Jerry. (10 February 2022). Driver Knocked Off Route 80 By Tractor Trailer Settles Suit For $2 Million. Morris Daily Voice

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: NJ Turnpike Dump Truck Crash Victim Settles Claims for $1.9m

January 25, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

On May 30, 2018, 40-year-old Cranbury, New Jersey resident Daniel Busby was driving his pickup truck south on the New Jersey Turnpike near Chesterfield when a dump truck traveling the same direction blew a tire, causing the dump truck to collide with Busby’s vehicle from behind.  

The resulting collision involved such force that, according to a lawsuit later filed by Busby and his wife, Busby’s pickup truck was propelled “across three lanes of travel and into a concrete barrier.”   

Though Busby fortunately survived the accident, he suffered severe, life-altering injuries to his neck and spine, which will continue to require treatment—including additional surgeries—for the remainder of his life. Daniel Busby and his wife Erin have three daughters.   

Five months after the incident, Busby and his wife sued Cardella Trucking, operator of the dump truck that struck Busby’s pickup. Busby’s attorneys allege that, after experiencing a blowout on one of the dump truck’s front tires, the driver slammed on the brakes rather than coasting to a stop, as safety measures call for.   

Nearly three years after the accident, Busby and his wife reportedly have agreed to terms with Cardella Trucking, settling their lawsuit for $1.9 million, NJ.com reported January 11.   

Under the terms of the settlement, Cardella Trucking did not admit to any wrongdoing. NJ.com further reported that the $1.9 million will be paid in periodic installments through May 2041.   

This tragic incident is a good example of how the vast majority of cases are settled prior to trial and of how settlement agreements do not necessarily involve the payout of one lump sum of cash. Rather, many settlements involve structured payments over a period of time, often years or even decades. Depending on one’s individual situation, a structured payment plan can be a positive or a negative, so it is important to work with an attorney who understands your personal circumstances and can reach a settlement that fits your needs.   

If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle accident in which you sustained serious injuries, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!   

Source:   

Attrino, Anthony G. (11 January 2022). Man hurt when dump truck crashed into his pickup on NJ Turnpike settles lawsuit for $1.9M. NJ.com

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: Victim Receives $18m Verdict in Illinois Truck Accident Case

January 4, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

On September 27, 2016, 17-year-old Gary, Indiana resident Gustavo Cornejo, Jr., and his father were on the right-hand shoulder of Illinois Route 394, tending to their broken vehicle.   

Suddenly, a tractor-trailer traveling down the highway struck Gustavo Junior, sending him flying 30 feet in the air. When he landed, he suffered serious, life-altering injuries to his head and his spine. He also broke multiple ribs.   

Over five years later, a Cook County, Illinois-based jury delivered some modicum of justice for Gustavo Junior and accountability for those responsible for his injuries, returning an $18.15 million verdict that required just eight hours of deliberation to reach following a three-week trial.   

“This young man will require care the rest of his life due to something that simply shouldn’t have happened,” said an attorney for Gustavo Junior after the verdict was announced. “Truck drivers on the road need to understand that they can kill or seriously injure people with their large vehicles. They must be particularly aware when vehicles and their occupants are on the side of the road, and they must pull away from them to ensure a safe distance or else tragedy like this strikes.”   

The verdict joins a string of recent multi-million dollar verdicts in truck accident cases, including a $730 million verdict handed down by a Texas jury in November. Consisting of $480 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages, that verdict was believed by some observers to be the largest wrongful-death verdict in United States history.   

Another of Gustavo Junior’s attorneys alluded to such recent verdicts when commenting with regards to Gustavo’s case, saying of the $18.3 million award, “This verdict is one example of the public not willing to tolerate trucking companies and their drivers not practicing safe driving habits and protocol when the safety of others on the road is at stake.”   

The defendants in the case included New Jersey-based Alliance Shipper, Inc. and South Dakota’s Dakota Lines trucking company.     

Sources:    

Kasarda, Bob. (7 December 2021). $18.15 million verdict for Gary resident struck, thrown by truck, attorney says. Kokomo Perspective.com    

Marigny, Diante and Michael Fowler. (22 November 2021). Family of East Texas woman killed in truck crash receives $730 million in wrongful death lawsuit. KETK

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: Texas Jury Awards $730m in Truck Accident Death, One of the Largest Wrongful-Death Verdicts Ever

November 29, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

On February 21, 2016, 73-year-old great-grandmother Toni Combest was driving in Titus County, Texas. At the same time and in the same area, an oversize-cargo truck operated by Landstar Ranger, Inc. was hauling the 100-ton propeller of a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine. As the driver of the oversize-cargo truck attempted to navigate a narrow bridge along US Highway 271, the truck veered from its lane, hitting Mrs. Combest’s vehicle while traveling roughly 65 miles per hour. Mrs. Combest died at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident.  

Now, more than five years later, the family of Mrs. Combest has received some degree of justice, with a Texas state-court jury awarding them $730 million dollars in total damages, including $480 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. The two verdicts were announced Friday, November 19 and Monday, November 22, respectively.    

The total verdict amounts to what is perhaps the largest wrongful-death verdict in United States history
However, the verdict was not even against the company responsible for the wide-load truck itself or the driver, with the sole remaining defendant at the trial being 2A Pilot Cars, which employed the driver of the front escort vehicle. (Landstar Ranger, Inc. settled the case for $50 million while the case was on the verge of jury selection, and the employer of the rear escort driver—S&M Pilot Service—settled for $1 million, also as the trial neared.)  

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!  

Sources:  

Capriel, Jonathan. (23 November 2021). Jury Awards $730M To Kin Of Driver Killed In Wide-Load Crash. Law 360  

Marigny, Diante and Michael Fowler. (22 November 2021). Family of East Texas woman killed in truck crash receives $730 million in wrongful death lawsuit. KETK

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: Texas Jury Awards $352m in Tarmac Van Crash Case

November 11, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

On October 25, a jury in Harris County, Texas awarded a man paralyzed when he was struck by a van on an airport tarmac and his family $352 million in damages, finding that the negligence of the driver of the van and his employer was responsible for the tragic accident.   

The incident in question occurred on the morning of September 7, 2019, when United Airlines employee Ulysses D. Cruz—a so-called “wing walker”—was carrying out his duties at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.   

“One of the jobs of a wing walker is to walk behind each wingtip, near the rear of an airplane, as the airplane is being towed back from the gate, to make sure that the wings and the airplane are clear of any obstructions,” explains the lawsuit later filed by Cruz and his family. “Wing walkers, who wear bright yellow vests and hold bright orange wands, are also a signal to any vehicles operating within the airport operations area to stop because an aircraft is departing from the gate. All vehicles within the airport operations area must yield to aircraft.”   

At the same time, a van owned by Allied Aviation and being driven by Allied Aviation employee Reginald Willis was in the immediate vicinity, travelling above the allowable speed limit and outside the designated roadway. Willis, momentarily blinded by the sun, struck Ulysses Cruz, which “threw him many feet and into the concrete, causing serious and extensive injuries to Ulysses,” in the words of the lawsuit later filed on Ulysses’ behalf.     

Ulysses’ extensive injuries included brain injury, stroke, and paraplegia, or paralysis of the lower body. In the following months, Ulysses Cruz’s wife Cecilia sued on behalf of herself, her husband, and two of their children.   

While the circumstances of the case—taking place on the tarmac of a busy international airport in the vicinity of massive airliners—are somewhat unique, the plaintiff emphasizes in her lawsuit that, at its core, the case involved an automobile striking a person.   

“To be clear, this is an auto/pedestrian collision case,” the lawsuit plainly states in the course of detailing the facts.   

Cecilia Cruz alleged that both the driver Willis and his employer were negligent in causing the accident, Willis because he failed to operate the vehicle with appropriate care and Allied Fueling Houston because it breached its duty to properly train and oversee its drivers.   

In the verdict issued October 25, a jury agreed, awarding the Cruz family $352 million in damages after finding that Allied Aviation was 70% at fault and Reginald Willis was 30% to blame, while absolving both Ulysses Cruz and United Airlines of any responsibility for the incident.   

The monetary damages were awarded as followed:   

For Ulysses Cruz:
1 Past physical pain - $15 million
2 Past mental anguish - $15 million
3 Future physical pain - $30 million
4 Future mental anguish - $70 million
5 Past physical impairment - $15 million
6 Future physical impairment - $35 million
7 Past disfigurement - $10 million
8 Future disfigurement - $22.5 million
9 Past medical expenses - $2 million
10 Future medical expenses - $30 million
11 Past loss of earnings - $290,000
12 Future loss of earnings - $2.6 million   

For Cecilia Cruz, wife of Ulysses Cruz:
1 Past loss of household services - $32,000
2 Future loss of household services - $100,000
3 Past loss of consortium - $150,000
4 Future loss of consortium - $25 million   

For S. Cruz, minor child of Ulysses Cruz:
1 Past loss of parental consortium – $50,000
2 Future loss of parental consortium - $20 million   

For Angelo Cruz, child of Ulysses Cruz:
1 Past loss of parental consortium - $50,000
2 Future loss of parental consortium - $20 million   

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident that was somebody else’s fault, contact TheLawFirm.com for a free legal consultation!   

Sources:   

District Court of Harris County 127th Judicial District. (25 October 2021). Charge of the Court. Cause No. 2019-81830. Cecilia Cruz, Individually and as Representative of Ulysses D. Cruz and S. Cruz, a minor and Angelo G. Cruz v. Allied Aviation Fueling Company of Houston, Inc. and Reginald Willis   

District Court of Harris County 270th Judicial District. (26 February 2021). Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Petition. Cause No. 2019-81830. Cecilia Cruz, Individually and as Representative of Ulysses D. Cruz and S. Cruz, a minor and Angelo G. Cruz v. Allied Aviation Fueling Company of Houston, Inc. and Reginald Willis

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: Texas Jury Awards $30m to Sons of Father Killed in FedEx Truck Crash

November 1, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

On Friday, October 15, a Houston-based jury found FedEx and its driver responsible for the death of a father killed in a 2018 head-on collision, awarding the victim’s two sons $30 million in damages, the publication FreightWaves reported.  

The accident occurred at roughly 1:30 am during heavy rain on US Highway 59 outside Tenaha, Texas. The victim, Joseph Cargal, was driving for the company XPO Logistics, traveling north along the four-lane highway while a FedEx freight truck was approaching from the opposite direction. At that location, the highway lacks a center divider or median, and the FedEx truck drifted into oncoming traffic, where the FedEx truck struck Cargal’s vehicle head-on at high speed. Cargal was pronounced dead at the scene, having suffered severe burns and blunt force trauma.  

Investigators later determined from dashcam footage that the FedEx driver had been traveling at an excessive rate of speed for the conditions, FreightWaves reported. The FedEx Freight truck was carrying a load of roughly 135,000 pounds at the time of the crash.  

Ultimately, the Texas jurors found that the FedEx Freight driver was 49% responsible and FedEx itself was 51% responsible for the accident, with the blame falling on FedEx for a failure to adequately train and supervise the driver.  

In the end, the lawyer for the victim’s two sons did not express surprise at the jury’s verdict or the size of the monetary compensation awarded, but rather that FedEx had decided not to settle the case prior to trial.  

The case with the victims two sons “only went to verdict because the risk was miscalculated by FedEx Freight,” the sons’ lawyer reportedly said. “The evidence was there all along. Most of our large trucking cases settle well before a jury sees the evidence.”  

In fact, Cargal’s wife previously had reached a settlement with her deceased husband’s employer, XPO Logistics, and its insurers.  

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident that was not your fault, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation!  

Source:  

Kingston, John. (19 October 2021). Fatal collision in Texas leads to $30m verdict against FedEx Freight. FreightWaves

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: Construction, Trucking Companies Sued After Fatal South Carolina Interstate Pileup

October 21, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

After a seven-car pileup killed three individuals along a stretch of Interstate 85 that was undergoing construction in South Carolina last July, the victims and their families have sued not only the tractor-trailer driver alleged to have caused the accident and his employer, but also the construction companies that created what the Cherokee County Coroner has called a “death trap” along the stretch of roadway where the accident occurred, the local publication The State has reported.

The accident occurred on July 15, 2021, when a number of motorists were stuck in gridlock within what highway engineers call a “chute”, meaning a stretch of roadway intentionally narrowed by means of concrete barriers intended to separate motorists and their vehicles from ongoing construction work. At the time, workers were executing a portion of a multi-year, $830-million I-85 widening project.

As the jam-packed vehicles on I-85 sat relatively motionless with no room to maneuver, a truck traveling at high speed smashed into the rear of the line of stopped vehicles. The data sensors on one vehicle in which a passenger was killed showed the car accelerating from 0 mph to 60 mph in the moment it was struck, The State reported.

Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler blames the design and implementation of so-called “chutes”, going against other public officials by insisting that the use of such areas during construction is unacceptably dangerous.

“While state officials have endorsed [chutes] at two separate public meetings in Gaffney, I disagree with their being safe for motorists,” Fowler said in a press release issued after the July 15 accident, as quoted by The State.

Fowler further has cited the chute’s 60 mph speed limit as being far too fast, while also blaming the Palmetto State’s highway patrol for not adequately enforcing a law that bans large trucks from passing through chutes.

An engineer hired to submit an affidavit on behalf of the plaintiffs echoed Fowler’s views, saying the speed limit was too high and the truck exclusion was not sufficiently enforced.

Critics further argue that the narrow design of chutes makes it more difficult for first responders to reach victims in the event of an accident.

For its part, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has not yet completed the full report detailing the results of its investigation. The final report is expected to be released sometime in October.

While it is common for victims of car and truck accidents to sue the offending driver and, where applicable, their employer and the vehicle’s owner, it is somewhat less common for plaintiffs also to sue construction companies in vehicular accident cases. However, a lawsuit filed Tuesday, September 28 by Thomas Goggins, who suffered injuries himself while losing his wife in the incident, named three construction firms as defendants.

While some vehicular accidents might seem like straight-forward, open-and-shut cases, such cases often contain legal complexities and factual nuance that can be unfamiliar to non-experts. This makes it essential to have a knowledgeable, dedicated lawyer on your side. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car or truck accident, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!

Source:

Riddle, Lyn. (29 September 2021). ‘Death trap.’ Trucker, others being sued after 3 die in 7-car pileup on SC interstate. The State

Truck Accident Lawsuit Update: Construction, Trucking Companies Sued After Fatal South Carolina Interstate Pileup

October 21, 2021
Author: Daniel Gala

After a seven-car pileup killed three individuals along a stretch of Interstate 85 that was undergoing construction in South Carolina last July, the victims and their families have sued not only the tractor-trailer driver alleged to have caused the accident and his employer, but also the construction companies that created what the Cherokee County Coroner has called a “death trap” along the stretch of roadway where the accident occurred, the local publication The State has reported.

The accident occurred on July 15, 2021, when a number of motorists were stuck in gridlock within what highway engineers call a “chute”, meaning a stretch of roadway intentionally narrowed by means of concrete barriers intended to separate motorists and their vehicles from ongoing construction work. At the time, workers were executing a portion of a multi-year, $830-million I-85 widening project.

As the jam-packed vehicles on I-85 sat relatively motionless with no room to maneuver, a truck traveling at high speed smashed into the rear of the line of stopped vehicles. The data sensors on one vehicle in which a passenger was killed showed the car accelerating from 0 mph to 60 mph in the moment it was struck, The State reported.

Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler blames the design and implementation of so-called “chutes”, going against other public officials by insisting that the use of such areas during construction is unacceptably dangerous.

“While state officials have endorsed [chutes] at two separate public meetings in Gaffney, I disagree with their being safe for motorists,” Fowler said in a press release issued after the July 15 accident, as quoted by The State.

Fowler further has cited the chute’s 60 mph speed limit as being far too fast, while also blaming the Palmetto State’s highway patrol for not adequately enforcing a law that bans large trucks from passing through chutes.

An engineer hired to submit an affidavit on behalf of the plaintiffs echoed Fowler’s views, saying the speed limit was too high and the truck exclusion was not sufficiently enforced.

Critics further argue that the narrow design of chutes makes it more difficult for first responders to reach victims in the event of an accident.

For its part, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has not yet completed the full report detailing the results of its investigation. The final report is expected to be released sometime in October.

While it is common for victims of car and truck accidents to sue the offending driver and, where applicable, their employer and the vehicle’s owner, it is somewhat less common for plaintiffs also to sue construction companies in vehicular accident cases. However, a lawsuit filed Tuesday, September 28 by Thomas Goggins, who suffered injuries himself while losing his wife in the incident, named three construction firms as defendants.

While some vehicular accidents might seem like straight-forward, open-and-shut cases, such cases often contain legal complexities and factual nuance that can be unfamiliar to non-experts. This makes it essential to have a knowledgeable, dedicated lawyer on your side. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car or truck accident, contact TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!

Source:

Riddle, Lyn. (29 September 2021). ‘Death trap.’ Trucker, others being sued after 3 die in 7-car pileup on SC interstate. The State

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