Trucking Company Hit with $411 Million “Nuclear” Verdict
When lawyers refer to a “nuclear” verdict, we mean a verdict that is meant to cause real harm to the defendant. This usually occurs because their conduct is so egregious and wanting of care, that it represented a casual disregard for the safety of others with whom they share the road. In this case, the plaintiff was a motorcyclist and the defendant was Top Auto Express Trucking Company.
According to the plaintiff, the pile-up became apparent as he was heading down the road. He attempted to swerve onto the median to avoid the other vehicles but ended up crashing into Top Auto Express’s semi-truck which was parked in the emergency lane. The vehicle did not have its lights on at the time.
The verdict is creating quite an uproar. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why the verdict turned nuclear.
The details aren’t entirely clear from the article, but it appears that the Top Auto Express also ran into the same problems as the motorcycle. The truck attempted to avoid a collision with another vehicle but ended up jackknifing which led to the cascade of crashes that followed.
When the plaintiff came upon the truck, he attempted to avoid it but couldn’t. The ensuing crash left him with injuries that the plaintiff described as “life-threatening”. The plaintiff also has several permanent injuries including loss of sexual function, permanent incontinence, and he remains in constant pain.
In this case, it’s unclear that the defendant committed “gross negligence”, but the plaintiff’s injuries were so severe and so reduced the quality of his life for the rest of his life, that the jury saw fit to hit the defendant with nearly a half-a-billion dollar settlement.
Twists and Turns
The case took a bizarre turn after Top Auto Express’s insurance company offered to settle the suit for $1 million. The offer was rejected and then Top Auto began defending themselves. It is believed that $1 million is likely their liability policy limit. Since the insurance company could not go any further, it is believed that they walked away from the lawsuit allowing Top Auto to defend themselves.
The Case Was Heard Over Zoom
One of the other remarkable features of this case, other than the sizable verdict, was the fact that the entire lawsuit was heard over Zoom. Jurors, attorneys, judges, and witnesses all went before video cameras. While it’s unclear if this will form the basis of an appeal, the plaintiffs seem confident that the verdict will stand.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to the misconduct of a truck driver, you are entitled to sue the company they work for to recover damages related to your injuries. Call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at the Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation in more detail.