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Eric T. Chaffin
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Woman Awarded $1 Million in Truck Accident Lawsuit

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When a car is in an accident that involves a semi truck or other large truck, the damages can be catastrophic. That’s what happened to Shannon Brown of Maryland on July 13, 2006. She was driving through an intersection when an Eastern Petroleum tanker truck allegedly ran a red light and collided with her car. She had her infant son, Elijah, with her at the time.

Such a collision could have resulted in the unthinkable. Fortunately, both Shannon and her son survived. Elijah was not injured, but Shannon suffered serious injuries that required substantial medical care. In August 2009, a Baltimore City jury awarded her just over $1 million in damages in her truck accident lawsuit.

Truck Driver Found Liable

During the accident, Brown’s right leg was crushed and fractured. She later had to go through two surgeries to have a plate and 18 screws implanted in her leg.

During the trial, the plaintiff presented evidence from an 11-year-old witness, who testified that Brown had the green light at the time of the accident. The jury determined that the driver of the truck was at fault. They awarded Brown $1,063,807.37 in damages, including $1 million for pain and suffering.

Maryland has a damage cap on these types of lawsuits, however. The award for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) was reduced to $665,000.

Truck Accident Liability Different from Car Accident Liability

Determining liability in a semi truck accident is more complicated than it is in a regular car accident. Truck drivers must follow a number of additional regulations when driving. They must have special licenses, rest after driving so many hours, refrain from distracting behaviors (like talking or texting on a cell phone), and maintain appropriate logs.

While the driver may be found negligent, as was the case in Brown’s lawsuit, the company may also be found to have been negligent. They may have failed to properly train their drivers, may have pushed them to work long hours, or failed to properly load the cargo. Trucks must be properly maintained. Paperwork must be completed. If any of these things are found to be out of order, the truck driver, trucking company, or even the manufacturer of the truck may be held partially or fully liable for the damages.

Determining Fault in a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Determining fault is a key part of the process in a truck accident lawsuit. That’s why it’s important that plaintiffs talk to an attorney as soon as possible, to allow adequate time for the gathering of important evidence.