Home Vehicle Accidents Family receives biggest lawsuit settlement in 18-wheeler crash history

Family receives biggest lawsuit settlement in 18-wheeler crash history

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A fatal crash in Texas that killed two children has resulted in the largest 18-wheeler wreck settlement in U.S. history. Werner Enterprises settled for $150 million in July, following a lawsuit that alleged gross negligence that led to the death of two children, ages 9 and 7. The company, despite paying this amount, denies wrongdoing, saying it paid the settlement to avoid the risk of an even higher jury award.

The crash occurred in May of 2022 on Interstate 30, near Sulphur Springs, Texas. A passenger stopped in the travel lane of the highway around 5 a.m., according to a news release issued by the company. Three adults walked away from the vehicle, leaving two children in the car when the Werner truck slammed into the parked vehicle, killing the children inside.

Werner said police assigned no fault to the truck driver, who sustained minor injuries, or to Werner. This was not the first time Werner has paid out a settlement over a crash. A 2014 crash, in which a passenger driver lost control of his vehicle and hit a tractor-trailer head-on, resulted in the death of a 7-year-old passenger and a $90 million award to the family.

5,000 large truck fatal accidents annually

Every year, out of half a million trucking accidents in the U.S., around 5,000 large truck accidents are ultimately fatal, along with 100,000 involving serious injuries, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). CNBC reported that just over 5,000 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2019, a 43% increase from 2010. During that time, jury awards for crashes increased dramatically. In verdicts of more than $1 million, the average size increased from $2.3 million to $22.2 million from 2010 to 2018, according to the CNBC report.

Huge jury award from 18-wheeler crash

While the $150 million is reported as the largest settlement in an 18-wheeler case in U.S. history, trucking companies are wary of taking cases to a jury. In November of 2021, a jury awarded an East Texas family $730 million in a wrongful death lawsuit in Titus County, including $250 million in punitive damages. The victim of the crash was a 73-year-old woman who was traveling from one church service to another, according to reporting by the Longview News Journal. The accident involved an oversized load, carrying military equipment. The lawsuit targeted the trucking company and the pilot company. The wreck was captured on a rear dash cam of the victim’s vehicle. Reportedly, court documents showed the lead pilot escort vehicle ran the victim off the road just as she was rounding a blind curve onto a bridge. On the bridge, a tractor with a load was driving almost completely within her lane. The driver swerved, but could not avoid impact. The truck ripped off the roof of her car. The lawsuit alleged that little or no CB communication was shared between the pilot driver and the driver of the truck that killed the victim.

Have you been injured by an 18-wheeler crash?

A growing number of people are coming forward with lawsuits over trucking injuries, sometimes resulting in significant settlements. The settlements and jury awards are intended not just to cover liability for loss, but also as a measure to affect change in making travel safer.

If someone you love was injured or killed in an accident involving a commercial vehicle or an 18-wheeler, you may be able to join a trucking and commercial vehicle accident lawsuit investigation and pursue compensation. An experienced attorney can help you get the compensation your family is owed.

Join a Free Commercial Trucking Accident Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

If you had this issue, fill out the form on this page or follow the link below for more information.

This article is not legal advice. It is presented for informational purposes only.

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