Over the summer a jury in Texas may have set the record for the largest penalty ever awarded in a trucking accident – $101 million. The case involved an oil services company – FTS International – that owns a fleet of trucks that carry various materials required to frack a well. The truck driver, William Acker, ran into the back of a full-size pickup truck driven by Joshua Patterson on his way home from church. While Patterson survived the crash and apparently told the responding police officer that he was not injured, he then underwent a significant regimen of chiropractic treatment and other procedures. In the end, Patterson was required to have back surgery to repair the discs in his neck that were injured as a result of the crash. After the surgery, Patterson is no longer able to perform his job as a crane operator.
About the Case
Although FTS had strict policies in place aimed at preventing accidents just like this one, they were not followed in this particular case. According to records, Acker actually had three violations prior to being hired by FTS, which was against company policy. This means that Acker should never have been behind the wheel of an FTS truck to begin with. Furthermore, while Acker was drug tested three months before the September 2013 accident and was clean, he admitted to using both marijuana and methamphetamine on a regular basis. Acker was drug tested following the accident and came back positive for both substances.
All of these details contributed to the large payout, the biggest in history. One of the main reasons the jury awarded Patterson more than $100 million was because it was discovered that FTS completely disregarded their own policies in several different ways. Of the $101 million, $75 million were punitive damages against FTS.
Texas Leads Nation in Trucking Accidents
As we’ve discussed in the past, Texas highways are among the most dangerous in the nation. There are many reasons why truck accidents take place so regularly in Texas, including the fact that more than 1,000 people per day are moving to the Lone Star State, causing major congestion on the highways. From driver distraction to poor weather conditions and negligent loading of cargo, disaster can strike at any turn. The problem with accidents such as the one involving FTS is that the sheer size and volume of 18-wheelers often leads to serious injuries, or worse.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Texas, it is imperative you have a good truck accident lawyer by your side. As we saw with the $100 million case, a lawyer can make all the difference when it comes to the compensation you will receive for your injuries or losses. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers, please contact Shamieh Law today. We are here to answer any questions you may have and help you better understand your rights following a truck accident in Texas.