Family members of a Texas man who was killed in an oil-field vehicle accident will receive a whopping $281 million award from the corporation responsible for the wreck. Official reports show that the victim died because of injuries suffered during a truck accident in the Eagle Ford Shale deposit in 2012. The financial boon was the result of a jury trial in Dimmitt County.
Official reports show that the victim, an Army veteran, died when a drive shaft on a tractor-trailer broke off and smashed through the windshield of his pickup truck. The victim in this case was a passenger in the smaller vehicle. The accident occurred on a farm-to-market road as the pickup truck was following the Heckmann Water Resources tractor-trailer. Courtroom documents alleged that the mechanical failure occurred because the trucking company failed to properly maintain the vehicle.
Initially, both the truck driver and the trucking company were charged in the civil case. However, the jury determined that the driver was not negligent, as he was not responsible for maintenance on the vehicle. That man will thus not face any civil penalty in the case.
In all, the verdict includes compensatory damages, along with $100 million in punitive damages designed to punish the company for its poor decision-making. Officials say that the company is insured against such suits, but it is not clear whether Heckmann plans to appeal the verdict. Attorneys in the case say they are pleased to have earned one of the largest-ever verdicts for personal injury in the history of the state; they say the ruling will likely improve safety in oil-shale communities.
This vehicle passenger died because of the trucking company’s negligent maintenance. Victims whose relatives have been killed in a commercial or oil and gas truck accident may be eligible for similar civil compensation. Qualified personal injury attorneys can help these family members learn more about their Texas legal rights and options.
Source: My SA, “Family Of Man Killed In Texas Oilfield Truck Accident Wins $281 Million Negligence Lawsuit” No author given, Dec. 09, 2013