Truck accidents can be devastating for the unfortunate victims who are involved and the family members who must pick up the pieces. When a truck loaded with cargo goes out of control, it can easily run into nearby vehicles, bystanders or a property. A severe truck accident can lead to a fatality or severe injuries for many of the people caught in its way. There were almost 4,000 deaths due to trucking accidents in 2016. More than 100,000 people suffered minor to severe injuries in truck accident during the same year.
In this article, we examine and outline some of the highest reported settlements and verdicts involving large trucks (5+ tons). While this article is not exhaustive of all verdicts and settlements, you are welcome to submit case summaries if you represent a law firm with a verdict or settlement over $10M and would like to be included on this list.
Trucking Accident Settlements
People who are injured or lose a loved one in a trucking accident can sue for damages. The person or party that is responsible for causing the accident can be held liable. Usually it is the driver, carrier, shipping firm or manufacturing company that is held liable. Insurance companies can also be held liable to pay, if they are providing coverage.
The majority of accident lawsuits are settled out of court and less than 10% actually go to trial and subsequent verdict. The affected party can claim for wrongful death of a loved one, the cost of medical or funeral expenses, lost wages, vehicle damage, legal expenses and any other costs they incur due to the accident.
Average Accident Settlement
Truck accident lawsuits are fairly common and they can result in large compensations. The average trucking accident settlement ranges from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the severity of the accident.
Some of the biggest trucking accident settlements in recent history include the following:
$101 Million Verdict
In July of 2018, Texas jurors awarded a $101 million verdict to Joshua Patterson after his vehicle was struck from behind by a FTS International employee driving a tractor-trailer in September 2013. The FTS truck driver William Acker was found to have methamphetamine in his system at the time of the wreck and nearly $75 million was attributed to punitive damages levied against FTS International.
$90 Million Settlement (*Estimated)
In 2014, a Wal-Mart stores truck struck and killed one person while injuring several people including comedian Tracy Morgan near one of their stores. Wal-Mart settled the matter outside the court for an estimated $90 million collectively on undisclosed terms.
$80 Million Verdict
This truck accident involved a truck driver in Georgia slamming into a line of cars that had stopped due to a previous accident. The driver, who denied falling asleep and distracted driving, never hit his brakes. As a result, five nursing students were killed and two more were badly injured.
$58 Million Verdict
In 2013 A New Mexico jury awarded the family of a person killed in a 2010 truck-involved accident $58.5 million in damages. Kevin Udy was killed when his pickup truck collided with a Zia Transport Inc. truck hauling water from a natural-gas well exploration site. The complaint said the truck turned into Udy’s path. The award included $11.5 million for compensatory damages and $47 million for punitive damages.
$52.3 Million Verdict
In 2022 a Santa Monica jury handed down a $52.3 million verdict last week against a truck driver and his employer, Phenix Transportation, for causing a devastating roadway collision that left a 17-year-old man with a life-altering, traumatic brain injury.
$30 Million Settlement
The lawsuit alleged that Allstate policyholder caused an 18 wheeler to rear-end another man’s vehicle. The defendant was driving his car in neutral as a way of saving gas, but this caused the car to stall on the highway. As a result, when the victim pulled up behind the stalled vehicle, a truck driver behind them failed to brake in time and hit the victim’s car without slowing down at about 50 miles an hour.
Find a Truck Accident Lawyer to Help you Today
If you or a family member was seriously injured in a trucking or bus accident, it’s imperative that you find a qualified truck accident lawyer today. You may be eligible for compensation for pain & suffering as well as loss of wages and psychological damage. Semi trucks and commercial trucks must meet minimum safety regulations and utilize standard procedures to ensure the safety of other drivers. If a driver or their employer have bent or ignored these rules, they may be held liable in your situation. Use our national truck attorney database to locate an attorney near you and review their credentials.