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Shapiro & Appleton

Jury Awards Family Members 23.5 Million for Injuries in Truck Collision

A Kansas jury awarded $23.5 million to Donna and Terry Frederick for injuries  they suffered in a truck/semi-trailer accident case that arose in Mexico (involving their tractor trailer struck by a second truck operated by Robin Getchell). The actual verdict was reduced because the judge found the truck driver defendant was liable for 65% of the total fault of the accident. Also, the truck driver found responsible, Robin Getchell, tested positive for methamphetamine, while she had been driving for her employer, Swift Transportation. Evidence presented on behalf of the family members injured proved that Getchell was actually backing up her truck from a rest stop onto the  two-lane highway when another truck collided with hers, which was operated by plaintiff Terry Frederick, who was driving a  truck for Yellow Freight at the time.  His wife Donna was a passenger.

The trucking accident injuries occurred in March 2006 in New Mexico. Terry Frederick, 56,  suffered terrible spinal cord injuries and had over $5 million in medical bills, and apparently the verdict was the jury's effort to cover his future medical expenses, lost earnings, pain, and suffering damages.

Obviously, the defendant truck driver did not have much credibility, including the positive test for illegal drugs that she had taken to help her stay awake. Trucking accident cases involve careful review of regulations that may apply to the circumstances of the accident, and usually require some accident reconstruction, and many issues that are unique to trucking accidental injury cases.

Our injury law firm has also handled trucking accident cases where a truck driver suffered serious injuries in an accident with an automobile/car-where the car driver ran a red light. Our client underwent spinal surgery, and we had to file a lawsuit in order to recover insurance benefits from several insurance sources (on tractor, trailer, and for what is called uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits).  

Recently, our injury law firm successfully represented a family for the wrongful death of a husband/father who was killed while standing beside his car when a tractor-trailer slipped on the icy surface of the roadway and tragically killed him. In that case there were many challenges with regard to the weather conditions, and proving why the truck driver should've known not to operate his tractor-trailer in those icy weather conditions.

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