Earlier this month, a Georgia jury awarded a woman $15 million in financial compensation for the injuries she received in an April 2015 truck accident. According to a news report covering the recent verdict, the case proceeded to trial after the accident victim and the trucking company were unable to reach a mutually acceptable result in pre-trial negotiations.
The accident giving rise to the case occurred on a Georgia highway. A car full of six Louisiana nursing students was on their way to their final day of clinical training in a Savannah hospital. Along their way, a traffic jam formed, requiring they come to a complete stop on the highway. After a few seconds of being stopped on the highway, a semi-truck came from behind, ramming into the rear of the students’ vehicle. The truck was traveling at approximately 70 miles per hour. Five of the six students in the car were killed.
A subsequent investigation discovered that the truck driver did not apply the brakes at all in the moments leading up to the accident. The driver later pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree vehicular manslaughter and received a sentence of five years’ incarceration followed by five years’ probation. The families of the deceased students filed wrongful death cases against the truck driver’s employer. These lawsuits were settled out of court for undisclosed amounts. However, the lone survivor in the car was unable to reach an agreement with the trucking company, which initially only offered to pay her medical expenses.
The jury heard that the woman suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident and that she still suffers from severe anxiety. After hearing all of the evidence, the jury awarded the woman $15 million in economic and non-economic damages.
The Components of a Damages Award in South Florida
In Florida, when a plaintiff is successful in a personal injury case, there may be several types of damages that are appropriate. Damages categories such as medical expenses or lost wages, which can readily have a value assigned to them, are considered “economic damages.” Damages that are harder to determine in value, such as pain and suffering or loss of companionship, are considered “non-economic” damages. It is important that an injury victim understand these two categories and seek appropriate compensation under each category.
In addition to the above, there may also be punitive damages in some cases. Punitive damages are designed to punish the especially reprehensible behavior of a defendant and are not usually appropriate unless there is a showing of extremely reckless or intentional conduct. However, when appropriate, punitive damages awards can be significant.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled advocates at the personal injury law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have the experience and skill necessary to succeed in any type of personal injury case, including truck accident cases. Call 877-488-8585 today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case. Calling is risk-free, since we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court’s Denial of Plaintiff’s Request to Extend Notice Deadline, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 19, 2017.
State Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Claim Against Teacher in Wrongful Death Lawsuit, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 2, 2017.