Truck Accident Lawsuit Settles For $4.2M After Death Of Infant
A woman recently won a lawsuit against an intoxicated dump truck driver that was responsible for her own severe injuries and the death of her infant daughter. The 26-year-old was heading west when she came to a complete stop due to traffic signals. The dump truck behind her failed to notice the woman was stopping and rear-ended her vehicle. The child was thrown from the vehicle and ended up in front of the car. She survived for four days on life support so that her organs could be donated.
The 26-year-old mother was out of work for over a year due to her injuries. She suffered several injuries to her neck and spine, broken ribs, and bleeding in her brain. She still requires rehabilitation for those injuries.
Elements of negligence
In cases like this, even when a driver is inebriated, it often helps the defense to lay some of the blame on the plaintiff. Even though this is dangerous and may turn a jury off, the benefit of doing so is simply too high for a civil defense attorney to ignore. In a case like this, the defense would likely say that the infant child would have survived the crash if her infant car seat had worked properly. Since the child ended up on the crushed hood of the vehicle, it is likely that either the child safety seat did not operate as advertised or the infant child was not properly secured. Both allegations could have reduced the plaintiff’s jury award.
In this case, the lawsuit was mediated by a judge. It is likely that the defendant raised the point that the child was not correctly fastened into her seat. While the defense could raise the point that the child safety seat failure was the proximate cause of the child’s death, they cannot refute the fact that the drunk dump truck driver was even more proximate. Had the dump truck driver simply stopped as appropriate, the child safety seat issue would not have mattered.
The driver has been indicted on charges of vehicular manslaughter among other accusations. He tested positive for morphine, Xanax, fentanyl, and cocaine.
Child safety seat lawsuits
Child safety seat lawsuits do occur, but they are filed under a theory of product liability—not traffic liability. It is unclear what type of case the plaintiff would have had against the manufacturer of the child safety seat. Recently, several automakers have issued a recall of vehicles related to a defective seatbelt latch that could cause injury to a child in a safety seat. While the plaintiff may not have had the child properly secured in a child safety seat, and that certainly constitutes negligence, the plaintiff was likely awarded punitive damages for the driver’s intoxication.
Talk to a Florida Commercial Vehicle Liability Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a crash with a commercial vehicle, call the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.