DBJ achieved a $9.5 million settlement for the parents of a 15-year-old girl who was killed in an accident with a tractor-trailer. The girl was a passenger in a pickup truck on westbound Interstate 70 when a tractor-trailer driving east crossed the median and hit the pickup head-on, killing her and four others.
The trucking company argued that its driver lost consciousness from a lack of blood flow to the brain during a violent coughing spell. The plaintiffs, led by Grant L. Davis and Scott S. Bethune of DBJ, contended that the accident was caused by driver fatigue because the driver was ill and taking cold medication.
The plaintiffs planned testimony from trucking experts regarding federal hours of service regulation, a scientist and author on sleep patterns and fatigue, and a toxicologist on impairment caused by cold medicine.
The plaintiffs subpoenaed records from the driver’s debit card, which allowed them to track his movements and show that he exceeded the federally mandated hours of service regulations by over 20 hours during the previous week. The plaintiffs argued that it was the trucking company’s policy of paying drivers by the load that encouraged him to exceed federal mandates.
The case was settled for $9.5 million before trial.
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