Family of Trucker Killed in Fiery 2016 Crash Reaches $11M Settlement
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on August 4th, 2017
An $11 million settlement has been reached by the family of a 48-year-old South Carolina tractor-trailer driver who died in August 2016 when his rig struck another tractor-trailer carrying a load of gasoline as the second truck was attempting to turn around on a South Carolina highway in the darkness of early morning.
The victim, Kenneth Avis of Georgetown, S.C., died about 3 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2016, when his 2015 Volvo tractor and its trailer reached the top of a hill on South Carolina Highway 4 in Orangeburg County and smashed into a fuel tanker truck being backed up across the roadway by the other driver, David Lee Gullikson, according to a July 28 story by The (Orangeburg, S.C.) Times and Democrat.
Avis died of burns sustained in the collision, which caused both trucks to burst into flames. Gullikson, who was driving a 2016 Freightliner truck, had stopped and was trying to back his tanker across the westbound lane of Route 4 onto Neeses Camp Road, the story reported.
Avis’ estate filed the wrongful death lawsuit on June 5, 2017, against Gullikson and Eagle Transport Corp., of Rocky Mount, N.C., which owned the tanker truck. The collision occurred as Avis crested a hill, where he came upon the tanker truck and its load of some 8,800 gallons of gasoline blocking the highway in the darkness, according to an Aug. 1 story by LandLineMag.com. Gullikson was not hurt in the crash.
The lawsuit alleges that Gullikson and Eagle Transport were “grossly negligent and reckless” by their actions and that the trucking company had failed to properly train Gullikson to handle the vehicle. The trucker still faces a criminal reckless homicide charge in connection with the incident, the story reports.
The settlement, announced in U.S. District Court on July 11, includes $6 million being allocated to the survival action and $5 million to the wrongful death action. Avis’ estate will receive $7.2 million – $3.9 million for the survival action and $3.3 million for the wrongful death action. About $2.4 million of those amounts will be given to future descendants of the estate over the next 32 years.
These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
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