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Nurse Wins $43.5M Settlement Against Trucking Company


A Cook County nurse filed a lawsuit against a trucking company after she was struck from behind while waiting at a red light. The nurse had just finished her shift at the hospital and she was on her way to visit her mother at a local nursing home when her vehicle was struck from behind by a large commercial vehicle. The nurse sustained injuries to her cervical spine which would make it difficult for her to continue her career as a nurse. The nurse sustained substantial medical expenses related to multiple surgeries. She is now wheelchair-bound. The trial was notable for being the first Cook County civil trial to occur after the pandemic.

Elements of negligence 

Verdicts like this don’t occur without the company themselves being negligent. In some cases, the company is simply vicariously liable for the conduct of one of their drivers. These cases generally settle for the policy maximum, but don’t usually go over. In cases where the trucking company negligent hires a truck driver, negligently entrusts the driver with a truck, and an accident occurs with that negligently entrusted truck, that’s when you see eight-figure jury awards.

While the article doesn’t go into detail concerning the arguments raised at trial, one would imagine that the plaintiff alleged that the trucking company was negligent for one reason or another.

The facts of the case certainly seem to back up this theory. The driver struck a woman who was stopped at a red light waiting for the light to change. This means that the driver was either distracted or simply misgauged how quickly his truck would stop. Either way, the driver would be expected to know the tolerances of the brakes or be paying attention to the road. It’s possible that the driver was overly tired. Whatever the issue, the jury found cause to charge the trucking company eight figures for the conduct of their driver.

Whenever you see a verdict like this, you should be thinking, “What arguments did the attorneys make against the trucking company?” The conduct of the driver is secondary to the claims against his employer. A typical truck accident lawsuit doesn’t have any of this intrigue. The driver is experienced, knows what they’re doing, and an accident occurs. Insurance information is exchanged and if the driver is at fault, then insurance picks up the tab. Even experienced drivers make mistakes. But the allegation is one of ordinary traffic negligence, not negligent hiring and entrustment. It’s the latter lawsuits that are resulting in multi-million-dollar jury awards. Not the lane-changing accidents or the failure to signal accidents.

Talk to a Florida Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer Today 

If you’ve been injured due to the conduct of a professional truck driver, the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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