$1 Million Settlement for Tractor Trailer Crash On Icy Roadway
Plaintiff v. CDN Logistics, Inc.
The initial offer in this case was $95,000. After filing suit and uncovering some damaging evidence against the trucking company, the case settled for $1,000,000.
This crash happened in Madison County, Ill. It occurred during icy conditions and low visibility due to freezing rain. The tractor trailer rear-ended Plaintiff when traffic began slowing. The defense argued the crash was unavoidable from the tractor trailer driver’s standpoint.
Plaintiff used a download of the tractor trailer’s computer module to show discrepancies in testimony regarding the speed of the truck and the number of hours and miles driven. We also used the download to show the driver was likely operating the tractor trailer in a fatigued condition.
Plaintiff was taken by ambulance from the crash scene to St. Francis Hospital. She followed up with her primary care doctor, who referred her for physical therapy and chiropractic care.
After conservative treatment failed, Plaintiff was sent for an MRI of her lumbar spine, which revealed a disc bulge and annual tear at L5-S1. She followed up with an orthopedic surgeon who prescribed her pain injections. Plaintiff continued to have pain despite 3 months of continued injections. She ultimately had an anterior decompression and anterior lumbar fusion at L5-S1.
Truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and they must obey the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). These are specific rules that govern the trucking industry.
Specific to this case, were regulations governing the driver’s hours of service. Plaintiff showed numerous violations of the FMCSR leading up to this crash. These violations included:
- Inconsistencies with the driver’s log book when compared to the tractor’s ECM download and the tractor engine’s DDAC Report;
- Inconsistencies in the truck driver’s deposition testimony regarding his speed leading up to this crash when compared to his paper logs;
- The tractor trailer driver admitted during his deposition to falsifying his log book; and
- Major discrepancies between the paper logs and the DDAC Report. The electronic data revealed during the 12 days leading up to this crash, the driver operated the tractor trailer over 1,000 miles and 32 more hours than he logged in his paper log book.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rates trucking companies 1-100 in several categories, with 1 being the best and 100 being the worst. At the time of this crash, the FMCSA rated CDN Logistics for Unsafe Driving at 99.4% and Fatigued Driving at 96.9%. These ratings are among the worst of all trucking companies in CDN Logistic’s size and type category.
After uncovering the above facts during the lawsuit, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the Complaint, requesting the Court to allow Plaintiff to add a claim for Punitive Damages. The day before the Punitive Damage hearing CDN Logistics agreed to settle the case for $1,000,000.