Trucks and commercial vehicles are a part of everyday life. No matter what road you are driving on, the chances are good that you will see a tractor trailer or some other truck sharing the roadway with you. Most truck drivers are safe and follow the rules of the road. But sometimes trucks cause accidents, and when they do, the results can be catastrophic. Here are two such examples.
A man was standing on a city sidewalk near an intersection with a sanitation truck driven by a city of Chicago employee drove onto the sidewalk and struck the man. The victim suffered fractures to his right tibia and fibula, requiring three surgeries. He also suffered fractures to his thoracic and lumbar spine regions. He earned $70,000 per year, and he missed several months of work. His medical expenses were about $155,400. He sued the city, alleging liability for the truck driver’s failure to avoid the collision or yield the right of way to a pedestrian. The driver of the truck later pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. The injured person’s case proceeded to a jury trial, and the jury awarded the plaintiff about $2.41 million.
In a different case, a woman in New Mexico was stopped at a red traffic light. A driver who was driving a tractor trailer struck the woman’s car. The tractor trailer rolled over, pinning the woman in her vehicle while 25 tons of sand poured out of the truck. The victim suffered compression asphyxiation at the scene of the accident and died. Her estate sued the truck driver for negligent driving. The woman’s estate also sued the 2 companies that the truck driver was driving for at the time of the accident as well as those companies’ owners. The lawsuit alleged negligent hiring, retention and supervision, negligent entrustment, violation of federal regulations and New Mexico state statutory law, and vicarious liability. The lawsuit also alleged that the truck driver had a history of driving under the influence and that the tractor trailer was negligently maintained and that it had three sets of brakes that were out of adjustment at the time of the accident. The court awarded $79.74 million, including $60 million in punitive damages against 2 companies that the truck driver was driving for as well as those companies’ owners.
These examples are not meant to scare you but rather they are meant to illustrate the serious consequences that can occur when a truck causes a collision. Always be safe when driving and follow the rules of the road. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a collision or accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle, contact me right away to discuss the situation. The trucking company will have someone working hard to protect the truck driver’s and truck company’s interest. Sometimes they will have someone show up at the scene of the accident before it is even cleared in an attempt to figure out how to best defend any potential claim that injured person may make. Make sure that you have someone in your corner who you can trust and who knows what it takes to stand up to protect your rights against a large trucking company. We have handled many such cases over the years, and we have the resources, knowledge, and experience to make sure your rights are protected.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Stark & Stark today.