Firm Recognition:
Recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas by The National Trial Lawyers
Named Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters Business
Recognized in Best Lawyers in America publication
Recognized as Top 500 Leading Plaintiff’s Lawyers by Lawdragon Magazine
Recognized in the Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts and Settlements
Recipient of 50 Year Service Award by Houston Bar Association
Honored for Nation’s Top One Percent – NADC
Recognized as Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers
Recognized as Top 40 under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers
Recipient of the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents Litigator Award
Call today @ 281-283-8500 | No Recovery, No Fee
Call today: 281-283-8500
Legal Blog

Largest Civil Penalty in History After Texas Truck Accident

The largest jury award ever for a single truck accident case was handed down in Texas in July 2018. At $101 million, the jury award was over $10 million more than the second largest award in history, which also occurred in Texas in 2018. The trend is clear: Texas truck accident lawyers are getting better and better at maximizing the compensation for accident victims. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, do not settle your claim until you talk with an experienced attorney who can help secure the best possible recovery.

The record-breaking case involved FTS International, an oil fracking company that operates a fleet of trucks. One of their trucks carrying frac sand crashed into the back of a pickup truck, whose occupant was driving home from church. At the scene, the pickup driver reported no injuries and was able to return home. But over time, he developed neck and back problems that eventually required surgery. Now he is unable to work.

Why Was the Jury Award So High?

The jury award of $101 million includes $26 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The compensatory damages were awarded to the plaintiff in order to compensate him for the losses he incurred because of the accident, such as:

  • Lost past and future wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering

The punitive damages were meant to punish FTS for causing the injury and to dissuade other trucking companies from allowing similar incidents to occur. The question is, what did FTS do that warranted such harsh punishment?

The plaintiff’s attorney told the press that he had “never had such egregious liability” and that the “company totally disregarded their policies.” For example, FTS policy mandated that a driver with three or more violations in the three years prior should not be employed. The driver involved in the accident had many violations on his record, but FTS apparently overlooked this fact during the hiring process.

Furthermore, the driver admitted to being a regular cannabis and methamphetamine user. In one deposition with the plaintiff’s legal team, the driver stated that he used these substances about three times a week, including during the days leading up to the accident. A drug test confirmed the presence of drugs in his system.

Taken together, these facts show that FTS failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure it had safe drivers for its fleet of vehicles. It did not drug test its drivers, and where it did have safeguards against hiring dangerous drivers, it did not follow them. These facts allowed the jury to do more than compensate the victim for his injuries, but to punish the defendant for its egregious negligence and lack of oversight.

How a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

When you or a loved is injured in an accident, your first concern will be about obtaining compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.

If your lawyer can uncover facts that could lead to punitive damages, your settlement or recovery will be substantially higher. To learn more about the different types of damages to which you may be entitled, call the Krist Law Firm P.C. today at (281) 283-8500 for a free case consultation.