Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

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Truck, Agriculture, California, Crash, Accident, Attorney In October, 2015, a Plaintiff was awarded $5.1 million in damages for the injuries she sustained in a trucking related accident. This award included $1.8 million in economic damages and $3.25 million in non-economic damages.

Facts Of The Case

In December,2013 the Plaintiff Elvia Gonzalez was driving straight down Ferrell Road in Imperial County. As she was driving, the Defendant Jose Maneses turned his semi-truck left in front of her, causing a collision. As a result of this accident, the Plaintiff succumbed to many injuries.

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Truck Accident, Attorney, CaliforniaAccording to sources, a jury in Alameda County recently returned a verdict of $13.7 million for the families of three people who were killed in a truck accident. The verdict was handed down on Friday, Oct. 9 in a case filed against three truck drivers and the trucking companies for whom they worked. Two of the companies were found to be liable, while the third was not.

Facts of the Case

The crash happened on Highway 152 near its intersection with Road 16 on Nov. 27, 2012 in foggy conditions. A Western Milling truck attempted to turn left across the freeway, spanning two lanes. Evidence presented at the trial demonstrated that visibility at the time of the accident was reduced to under 200 feet.

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truck, accidents, CaliforniaThe trucking industry is a huge business across the nation as more than two-thirds of goods and merchandise are transported by trucks. A large portion of this truck traffic goes through California, carrying cargo that comes into west coast ports of entry. The U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics reports that 2.6 million people with commercial driver’s licenses are working in the industry, but nearly a million more have commercial driver’s licenses and are not using them. The American Trucking Assns. says that the industry is understaffed by between 35,000 and 40,000 drivers. By 2022, that number is expected to skyrocket to 240,000 drivers.

While the deficit is apparent over short distances, the long-haul industry feels the pinch the most. In addition, the lack of drivers affects ocean transportation and trains as they depend on truckers to complete the last leg of the journey.

Some companies have used shorter routes and signing bonuses to encourage new drivers. Other tactics include paying for training and special motivations for former military personnel, women or immigrants. However, these incentives are not making a permanent difference.

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Trucking Accidents in Kern County CAThe Los Angeles Daily Journal this week reported a $1 Million jury verdict out of Kern County CA involving an traffic collision between tractor trailer and a passenger automobile (Cardenas v. Hettinga Transportation, Inc.; Freddy Garcia and California Department of Transportation, Case No. S-1500-CV-279).  My analysis of the verdict, pre-trial settlement discussions, and post trial motions is as follows:

Facts of The Case: The plaintiff was the mother of the decedent, who died instantly when her vehicle broad sided a semi truck.  The plaintiff contended that the truck driver negligently operated his vehicle by running a stop sign.  The truck driver and trucking company Defendant appeared to concede liability but, disputed the amount of claimed damages.  The plaintiff also asserted a claim against CALTRANS for an alleged dangerous condition of public property.  The claim against the State of California was resolved for a nominal sum ($10,000) and the case proceeded to a jury trial against the trucker and his freight carrier employer.

Damages and Settlement Discussions: In California wrongful death civil actions , the plaintiff may claim both out of pocket losses such as lost income the decedent was contributing to the family for financial support, funeral and burial expenses, and other similar losses.  In this case, it would appear (although not stated in the reported verdict) that plaintiff either did not have such damages or waived them off and simply claimed “general damages” in the lawsuit.  So-called “general” or “non-economic” damages in civil claims where someone is killed are awarded based upon California Civil Jury Instruction 3921, which states that a jury must come up with a dollar figure value for the loss of, “love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support.”  The second half of this jury instruction states that, in determining this value, the jury is specifically not to consider the plaintiff’s “grief, sorrow, or mental anguish, the decedent’s pain and suffering, or the poverty or wealth of the plaintiff.”

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