Commercial trucks can inflict much more damage than private vehicles. In this video, truck accident attorney Darl Champion discusses liability in a trucking accident, and how it differs from a normal car accident.
On a rainy day in the Spring of 2014, our client was stopped at an intersection on a two lane highway outside of Griffin, Georgia because a truck in front of him was turning left. While our client was stopped, a tractor-trailer approached his SUV from behind at a high rate of speed. Because the truck driver was speeding and not paying attention, he did not have enough time to stop and he crashed into the back of our client’s SUV. This is an actual photo of the damage to the rear of our client’s vehicle:
Our client immediately complained of pain in his neck and back at the scene of the crash. An ambulance transported him to a local hospital. After receiving treatment at the hospital, he treated with an orthopedic doctor for over a year. Although multiple body parts were injured, his main problems were in his low back. An MRI showed that he had a herniated disc in his low back, which the doctor determined was causing his low back pain. The medical treatment initially involved multiple treatments, including physical therapy and steroid injections into his spine. Unfortunately, the conservative treatment did not relieve his pain, and he ultimately had to undergo a lumbar fusion surgery. This is a surgery where the doctor fuses one or more vertebrae together so the vertebrae form a single, solid bone once they heal.
Another law firm referred this case to The Champion Firm just a few months before the statute of limitations was set to expire because they were unable to get a fair settlement offer. We filed a lawsuit in federal court against the trucking company, the truck driver, and the insurance company. Surprisingly, the defendants denied that they were negligent. They blamed the accident on the weather conditions and argued that the truck driver had come up over a hill just before the collision so he was unable to see our client’s vehicle stopped until it was too late.
During the discovery process, The Champion Firm obtained multiple documents and took multiple depositions. Through our efforts, we were able to uncover evidence that showed the truck driver violated numerous Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that played a role in causing the wreck. The driver failed to properly follow the federal regulations on hours of service that limit how long truck drivers can be on the road, he failed to properly inspect his truck, and he failed to follow regulations that required he drive with extreme care in hazardous conditions. The truck driver also failed to get a post-collision drug and alcohol test as required by federal law.
While we were preparing the case for trial, the trucking company and its insurance company asked to go to mediation to try to settle the case. Darl Champion took the case to mediation, where he made a presentation that laid out all of the relevant evidence that showed the truck driver was at fault, and that there were aggravating factors that could lead a jury to award a significant amount of money to our client. At the conclusion of the mediation, the insurance company agreed to settle the case for $1,375,000.