A 45-vehicle pileup on the I-10 in Tallahassee, Florida resulted in 18 crashes, 8 hospitalizations, and what is now believed to be the biggest nuclear verdict ever against a single trucking company defendant.
The claim belongs to a 42-year old motorcyclist who was injured in the crash on July 24, 2018. When a semi-truck from Top Auto Express Trucking Company jackknifed on the freeway, the motorcyclist attempted to avoid the pileup by driving his motorcycle onto the median. Before he could do so, however, he collided with a stopped truck in the emergency lane and was thrown into the median. His accident resulted in severe, life-threatening injuries, including a shattered pelvis with both sides broken away from the spine, significant colon and urethra damage, permanent incontinence, and a loss of sexual function. Now, the motorcyclist needs constant care, suffers ongoing pain, and his life – and the life of his family – has been changed forever.
As a result of his injuries and losses, as well as the impact of the accident on his 3 sons, the motorcyclist filed a lawsuit against Top Auto Express Trucking Company. His trial was one of the first to take place over Zoom and may represent the largest verdict against a single defendant in a Florida trucking accident case. Even over Zoom, where full focus and emotional appeals may be difficult to achieve, the jury handed down $411,726,608 in damages.
Fighting for Unprecedented Compensation
Attorneys filed suit after Top Auto offered only $1 million for the motorcyclist’s horrific injuries. Legal professionals suggest that the $411 million verdict far exceeds Top Auto’s insurance policy, and research by FreightWaves reveals the single-tractor company no longer has its authority with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
While other, more complex trucking accident cases may carry verdicts larger than the record-breaking $411 million award, this kind of verdict has never been issued against just one defendant, nor paid out in a single lump-sum.
According to the lead counsel on the case:
“This is a significant, historic ruling for justice. COVID demanded an unprecedented Zoom trial, but it didn’t stop the jury from hearing and understanding the evidence and returning a record verdict.”
Paving the Way for Future Victims
This ruling is unusual, but it may set an important legal precedent for those injured in trucking accidents. After this trial, personal injury attorneys may be able to request more compensation and fight for even larger awards in jury trials.
The true effects of a truck accident are all but impossible to measure and monetize. After these crashes, victims’ lives are never the same.
No amount of money will ever be enough but having the right resources can help people adapt to their injuries and limitations and live as full a life as possible.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident and want to fight for your future, Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin can help. We have more than 200 years of combined legal experience, an award-winning reputation, and a proven record of success.
We have recovered more than a billion on behalf of our clients and we are ready to help you, too.
All you need to do is call us at (561) 922-0258 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.