In the eyes of the law, we each have certain responsibilities to the other members of our society. For example, when a trucking company hires somebody to rocket down the highway behind the wheel of a huge, heavy 18-wheeler, they have a responsibility to the other users of that highway to exercise due diligence. If they fail to meet this common-sense obligation, the law can and does make them pay for their errors.
When just such a truck, weighing in at 70,000 pounds, plowed into the vehicle of a middle-aged De Kalb county woman while she was simply and lawfully waiting at a red light, she turned to the courts for help.
The truck and trailer impacted the plaintiff’s vehicle causing her to suffer serious back injuries that required the surgical fusion to stabilize lumbar vertebrae. This is a painful procedure with a long recovery time. Unfortunately, the procedure may or may not be fully successful. The only guarantee this De Kalb woman could count on was a painful future. She asked the court to grant her punitive damages as well as compensation for her pain.
In the course of the lawsuit that followed, the plaintiff learned that the trucking company hired the truck driver in spite of the fact that he had been involved in two rear-end collisions. He was cited for following too closely in both accidents. This driver also had his license to drive suspended for 60 days as a result, but his carelessness continued. Just two months prior to the accident which left the plaintiff injured he was cited for speeding in his tractor-trailer.
The plaintiff argued that by conducting a simple background check, the employer might have kept this tragic accident from happening. The defendant trucking company’s owner at first admitted that no pre-employment background investigation had been done, but testified at trial that he was fully aware of the driver’s driving record at the time of hiring.
Interestingly, documents associated with that hiring process were destroyed before the matter came to trial. This destruction of material evidence in the case prompted Judge Alvin T. Wong to instruct the jury that this destruction was a way to remove facts which would have shown the defendant trucking company in a negligent light.
The State Court in De Kalb County, Georgia awarded the injured woman $566,000 in compensation and an additional $15,000 for punitive damages for a total award of $581,000.
When you’re injured by someone else’s negligence, it might feel as if you are at the mercy of big corporations. You may feel that you stand no chance of being made whole again. Competent legal representation can level the playing field and give innocent victims of such negligence a fighting chance. If you have been injured, call or email The Millar Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above article is a factually-accurate case history of an actual previously litigated or settled Georgia case. The case was reported on in local media and/or legal reporting services and it was not handled by The Millar Law Firm. However, we think our current and prospective clients may find this information interesting and informative as the case is factually similar to cases our office routinely handles. Please be advised that The Millar Law Firm makes no guarantees your case will have a similar outcome, as past results and results of our firm or of other lawyers and law firms are not indicative of future performance.