In 2013, juries nationwide awarded over $800 million in damages for cases involving motor vehicles. In fact, motor vehicles ranked 5th of the top 10 categories with the highest verdicts. Lawsuits involving motor vehicles encompass a range of cases including: personal injury claims from vehicle defects, driver negligence or impairment, hazardous road conditions and more. According to the National Transportation and Safety Administration (FTSA), the majority of the motor vehicle accident cases involved drivers under the influence of alcohol. Victims and family members can claim damages in motor vehicle cases for wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, loss of society, emotional stress, other compensatory and punitive damages.
Here is a summary of highest motor vehicle verdicts of 2013:
$281,639,000 Faulty Truck Part
A passenger in a pickup truck was killed when the driveshaft of an 18-wheeler broke off and crashed through the window of the pickup hitting him in the head and neck. The passenger’s family sued the trucking company for negligence and gross negligence for improperly maintaining the tractor-trailer. Experts testified that the company failed to properly lubricate the bearings which were “bone dry” causing them to melt break off. The jury, having rejected the company’s claim that the incident was unforeseeable, awarded actual and punitive damages.
$90,357,776 Failure to Provide Safe Bus Stop
13 year old Ashley Davis was struck and killed by a car as she crossed a street to catch her school bus. A bus stop was created to pick up Ashley on the side of the street where she lived. However, the bus never arrived on previous days forcing Ashley to cross the street to another bus stop. The jury found that the school system created a dangerous situation that led to Ashley’s death. The jury rejected the defense’s claims for contributory negligence and assumption of the risks.
$58,500,000 Fatigued, Untrained Truck Drive
When the driver of tanker trailer turned suddenly, the truck collided with a car whose driver died from his injuries. The driver’s estate filed suit against trucking company for wrongful death. The estate claimed that the truck driver was fatigued from driving over the regulated amount of hours and was inadequately trained. The jury awarded both actual and punitive damages.
$45,375,94 Road Rage Crash
The drivers of two pick-up trucks engaging in road rage race were found negligent in causing a fatal traffic accident. One of the trucks collided head on with a car traveling in the opposite direction. As a result of the crash, a 35 year old woman was killed and her 10 year old son seriously injured, suffering a traumatic brain injury.
$40,250,000 DUI Wrongful Death
A 35 year old minister driving a convertible was rear-ended by an off-duty police officer who had recently been served alcohol at a nearby club. The collision caused the convertible to roll over and eject the driver. He died shortly after the crash. Experts opined that the off-duty cop was traveling between 115 and 120 mph and that he failed to take evasive maneuvers before impact. Forensics estimated that his blood alcohol level measured .13 and .17. The jury awarded $3.5 million against the off- duty cop. The jury also found the club liable under the Dram Shop Act for $37 million.
Thorough investigation of your claim
Automobile accident cases can be complex and determining the culpable parties requires highly skilled and experienced attorneys. Be sure to hire a resourceful and dedicated law firm that is prepared thoroughly investigate your claim to get the compensation you deserve. If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.