In recent months, two separate truck accident cases concluded with pretty substantial jury awards – one for $3 million in Florida and the other for $7 million in Arkansas. Both accidents led to fatalities.
The first case in Florida involved the family of Julio Rentas Jr., a 33-year old man who was killed on Interstate 95 in Flagler County in 2009. The federal jury in U.S. District Court ruled in the family’s favor, awarding $ 3 million.
Rentas’ case involved a collision between two tractor-trailers. Another truck driver, Betty Ann Tucker, was driving for Williamston Distributors. As she was attempting to merge onto the highway from an emergency lane, she failed to yield the right of way. Doing so caused Rentas (…who was driving a tandem tractor-trailer) to hit the back of Tucker’s truck.
Ms. Tucker testified that an emergency light had come on in her cab and she pulled off the road to investigate. She then accelerated down the emergency lane to try and re-enter the right lane of the highway. She testified she saw lights approaching but figured they were far enough away.
Besides testimony, the jury was presented with information claiming Tucker had been on duty for 19 hours, well over the 14-hour “Hour of Service” limit established by the Florida Motor Carrier Safety Act.
The next case, this time in Arkansas, concluded with a $7 million federal court jury award to the family of a truck driver who was killed when his truck collided with another truck in northern Arkansas. Roger Reagan was driving for Maverick Transportation was hit by Morgan Quisenberry, who was driving for Dunaway Timber Company.
Traveling west on US Hwy 62 near Yellville in Sept. 2008, Quisenberry’s truck crossed into the eastbound lanes and collided with the truck Reagan was driving. His family showed Quisenberry to have been on the road longer than U.S. Department of Transportation rules allow and contended he was fatigued.
Additionally, records proved that the driver had a bad record and was not an experienced commercial driver.
Numerous studies have shown driving while fatigued to be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Accidents involving large trucks can be especially devastating, even if you’re in a similar type vehicle. If you or a loved one has been adversely affected by an accident with a large truck, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.
To discuss your case further, contact truck accident attorneys at the Gilreath Law Firm in Nashville and Knoxville today.
Original stories published in the Jere Beasley Report
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