Thursday, March 11, 2010

$24.3 million Awarded to Girl in Truck Accident

A record-breaking award of damages $24.3 million was recently given by a jury to a 14-year old girl whose pelvis was crushed in a trucking accident.

The accident, which happened 6 years ago, occurred when Diana Luleidy Loza-Jimenez’ father unwittingly ran over his daughter with the truck from Freeway Transport, Inc. Allegedly, she was with her father and other family members on a long-distance trucking haul.

Judge David W. Abbot has previously found Freeway Transport liable for the girl’s injuries because the truck is considered as a common carrier under its federal trucking regulations status.

Loza-Jimenez was awarded $2.2 million for her past medical expenses, $2.1 million in future economic damages, $8 million for her pain and suffering and $12 million for future non-economic losses.

The personal injury lawsuit filed by the Loza-Jimenez has shattered Sacramento County’s history for highest awarded damages, surpassing even the $16 million dollar wrongful death case of a woman who died in a radio station water drinking contest.

Personal injury victims, whether the injury arises from motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall, premises liability, or product liability, have the right to be compensated for the monetary losses and physical pain and agony they suffer as a result of the incident.

Negligence is a very important factor to prove in all personal injury case because without which, the other party cannot be held liable for the injury. However, in case of common carrier accidents, negligence does not have to be proved – it is automatically presumed on the part of the common carrier.

Fault on the part of the common carrier’s driver or employee will not negate the liability of the owner or operator of the common carrier. In fact, the owner/operator of the common carrier is bound to exercise extraordinary diligence in the selection and training of his employees to prevent accident or injury.
Only four instances serve to exempt a common carrier from absolute liability in accidents and these are: an act of nature, an act of the public enemies, fault or fraud by the shipper or an inherent defect in the goods.