$2M Settlement in Death of Va. Man Killed by Tractor-Trailer
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on August 25th, 2017
The family of a 50-year-old Virginia man who was killed in 2014 when he was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer as he drove a utility tractor on the side of a highway has reached a $2.05 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed against three defendants.
The victim, Albert Thomas, was severely injured on Sept. 4, 2014 when the utility tractor he was driving south on U.S. 13 near Eyreville Drive in Northampton County, Va., was struck from behind by a 2005 Peterbilt tractor-trailer loaded with Perdue frozen chicken parts, according to an Aug. 22 story by The Virginian-Pilot. Thomas died two days later in Sentara Norfolk General Hospital due to his injuries.
Thomas, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, was at the time of the crash operating a Kubuto model 6800 tractor while working on a second job.
The Peterbilt tractor-trailer was owned by Earl Baynor Jr. Trucking and was being operated by driver Rodney Shepherd when it smashed into the rear of Thomas’ utility tractor at 4:52 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2014. Baynor Trucking had been hired by Perdue to haul the frozen chicken parts from its processing plant in Virginia’s Accomack County, the story reported.
Thomas’ family sued the trucking company, the driver and Perdue for $25 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia in October of 2016 following his death in the crash. The family’s lawsuit “alleged the trucking company had a poor safety record that included repeated falsified hours-of-service documentation, as well as drivers in possession of alcohol, positive tests for cocaine and daylight wrecks that occurred during dry conditions,” the story reported.
The truck driver, who pleaded guilty in January 2015 to misdemeanor reckless driving for following too closely, served four days in jail and paid $731 in fines and court costs in connection with the incident.
About $1.05 million of the settlement is being paid by Earl Baynor Jr. Trucking and its insurance company, while the remaining $1 million will be paid by Perdue.
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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