The Anatomy of a $40M Truck Injury Lawsuit
A New Mexico family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Werner Enterprises recently after one of their drivers caused the death of Kathryn Armijo. According to the lawsuit, Werner was training a student driver who had only been driving for 8 days before crossing four lanes of traffic and jumping the median. His truck struck Armijo’s Honda Pilot head-on. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The lawsuit, which sought punitive damages, alleged that Werner’s process for training new drivers showed a systematic disregard for the safety of other drivers on the road. They alleged that some incident like this one was inevitable due to Werner’s careless operations.
Werner had acquired Roadmaster Drivers school in 2014. The driver, Felipe Johnson, was assigned to make “just-in-time” deliveries with his trainer. These deliveries required Johnson to sleep to avoid hours of service violations imposed by federal regulators. Additionally, his trainer, Gabriel Perez, slept during the hours that he was supposed to be observing Johnson. Perez was required to watch Johnson for a total of 30 hours over the first five days. The lawsuit alleged that Johnson drove about 64% of the time unsupervised and over the first four days on the job, Perez did not observe Johnson at all.
This is the Second Successful Lawsuit Against Werner
A Texas jury awarded $90 million to the Blake family after another student driver failed on the job. Apparently, the message did not get through to Werner which is now on the hook for another $40 million.
Lawsuits with figures this high are quite unusual, even in the case of wrongful death. They indicate that the plaintiff’s case against the defendant was strong enough that the jury wanted to send a message to the company and punish them for their gross negligence.
Gross negligence is alleged when a defendant’s conduct is so egregious, the jury sees fit to punish them for their careless disregard for the rights and safety of others. Now, the same company has had two such verdicts shoved in its face within a year’s time.
In that lawsuit, Jennifer Blake alleged that the mishandling of a tractor-trailer by a student driver resulted in the death of her 7-year-old son and rendered her 12-year-old daughter a quadriplegic. She and her other son were also severely injured in the crash.
Wrongful death lawsuits compensate grieving family members for their emotional anguish as well as the financial strain their family will be under when their loved one’s income is lost. Grieving families can also get compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and their loved one’s pain and suffering. Punitive damages are only awarded when the plaintiff has successfully argued that the company was grossly negligent. Typically, it means that they had some policy in place that was unnecessarily dangerous and would inevitably result in tragedy.
Talk to a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured by a negligent truck driver, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers, P.L.L.C. can file a claim on your behalf and see that you are compensated for all your injuries. Talk to us today for a free consultation.