A Hidalgo County jury recently issued an $80 million verdict to a truck driver who fell asleep while driving along I-59 in Alabama in 2015. The plaintiff, Lauro Lozano, sued his bosses for forcing him to falsify his logs and continue driving when he should have taken a 34-hour restart.
On May 3, 2015, Mr. Lozano was at home after delivering a load and needed to take a legally mandated 34-hour break. A few hours after being at home, he received a call from his boss, Jorge Marin, who told him to take another load brokered by Omega Freight. The plaintiff told his boss that he could not safely or legally take the load, but he was told to alter his logbook to make it look like he had taken his 34-hour break and to return to the yard in McAllen, Texas, the next morning to take the load to Maryland.
During the early morning of May 6, while driving north on I-59 in Alabama, Mr. Lozano fell asleep at the wheel and struck another tractor-trailer from behind. His injuries included abdominal trauma, a crushed pelvis, crushed left foot and broken ribs. The lawsuit alleged negligence and gross negligence against Jorge Marin’s three companies – JNM Express, ANCA Transport and Omega Freight Logistics – relating to forcing Mr. Lozano to drive on too short of rest and to alter his logbooks.
The jury found the defendants liable and issued $5 million in compensatory damages, for Mr. Lozano’s injuries, and $75 million in exemplary damages related to the falsification of logbooks.
Unfortunately, this case demonstrates there are still trucking companies forcing tired drivers to be on the road. If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a trucking accident, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-231-9360 or toll free at 1‑800-594-4884.