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Truck Crash Occurs While Mom Is On The Phone With Daughter


A couple was on their way back from a road trip when the young woman was on the phone with her mother. That’s when she heard her daughter scream and a loud crashing noise. The phone went dead. Both were killed in the accident along with their dog.

The parents have since filed wrongful death lawsuits against the trucking company and the fatal phone call is among the allegations of emotional distress leveled against them.

What happened? 

This is simple enough. The truck driver lost control of the vehicle causing it to career into oncoming traffic and strike the couple’s vehicle head-on. Everyone inside the vehicle was killed instantly, including the couple’s dog. The truck driver is blamed for failing to operate the vehicle safely and his company is being accused of failing to properly train the driver on the specific truck he was using. In cases like this with allegations like those, punitive damages awards are not uncommon.

Punitive damages and truck accident lawsuits 

Trucking companies are increasingly the victim of “nuclear” verdicts which are technically any verdict in excess of $10 million. The truth about “nuclear” verdicts is that they are the product of allegations of gross negligence as opposed to simple negligence. The number of awards alleging gross negligence has increased in the past few years. Issues related to COVID have not made the issue any better. In fact, COVID has made the problem worse. With increased stress on logistics to keep the supply chain from collapsing, logistics companies routinely cut corners to ensure they have enough drivers. This results in horrific, avoidable accidents.

Reptile theory 

Civil defense attorneys who represent trucking companies in personal injury lawsuits are raising the alarm that their clients are being brutalized in these lawsuits. They have coined a creative new term to describe the plaintiff’s efforts to destroy these poor trucking companies. Their term is “reptile” theory. Essentially, they accuse defense attorneys of putting the idea into the jury’s mind that the trucking companies are evil and must be punished by invoking a sense of revulsion and hatred in the part of the jury’s brain that processes such emotions.

At any rate, reptile theory explains some elements of what we do, but it doesn’t explain how we do them. The issue that civil defense attorneys don’t understand is that juries have real human emotions. When a trucking company commits a form of extreme negligence that places unsuspecting commuters into danger, they have violated the law. Plaintiff’s attorneys can argue that such a violation would have inevitably led to some injury or death. In this case, the jury sees that those deaths were avoidable, the emotional toll that the deaths have caused loved ones, and the fact that the trucking company broke the law in placing an unqualified driver on the road, and you have everything you need for a nuclear verdict, including a casual disregard for the safety of others.

So while plaintiff’s attorneys “repitilize” defendants, those defendants make it very easy for us to “repitilize” them.

Talk to a Florida Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer 

The Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert represent the interests of injured plaintiffs in auto part liability lawsuits and truck accident lawsuits. Call today to schedule a free consultation and we can discuss your options moving forward.



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