Car Accident Lawyer Wins $19M Verdict After Teen Killed in Crash with Truck
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on August 30th, 2019
The family of a 16-year-old boy who was killed in 2015 when the car he was driving was struck by a tractor-trailer which lacked safety devices that prevent cars from getting stuck underneath in the event of a crash has been awarded an $18.9 million verdict by a New Mexico jury.
The teen, Riley Hein of Tijeras, New Mexico, died in November 2015 when his Honda Civic was struck by a tractor-trailer that veered over the centerline of Interstate 40 in Tijeras Canyon east of Albuquerque as Hein was driving to band practice at Manzano High School, according to an Aug. 23 story by The Albuquerque Journal. Hein’s Civic was trapped under the truck’s trailer by the impact and dragged for about a half mile along a concrete barrier, causing the car to burst into flames, the story reported. The teen was burned over 75% of his body and died at the scene of the crash.
In a defective product lawsuit filed against the manufacturer of the trailer, the boy’s family alleged that the trailer company, Utility Trailer Manufacturing Inc., did not include “underride guards” or bars on their trailers that can help prevent cars from being trapped underneath them in the event of a crash.
The trailer company was accused in the lawsuit of manufacturing and selling a dangerous and defective product that contributed to Hein’s death.
After two weeks of testimony, the jury found the trailer company and the driver of the truck were negligent in the teen’s death, the story reported. The truck driver, however, had not been sued by the teen’s estate or by his family.
The jury’s verdict assessed damages of $42 million in connection with the teen’s death, including $38 million to his estate and $2 million for each of his parents Eric and Wendy Hein for loss of consortium. The jury found the truck driver to be 55% responsible for the crash and the trailer company was determined to be 45% responsible, so the $42 million verdict was reduced to the 45% responsibility assessed to the trailer company, for a total of $18.9 million.
The family did not want a confidential settlement in the case because they wanted the public to hear about the dangers of truck trailers that lack underride guards, the story reported. Had the trailer that struck their son’s car had the guards, he might be alive today, the report continued.
Legal cases like this one occur around the nation every day and are examples of similar kinds of truck and car crash cases that MyPhillyLawyer attorneys regularly work on tirelessly for our own clients. Often, we are not able to discuss the cases we are actively working on due to confidentiality requirements, so we discuss other relevant cases in the news such as this one to illustrate the legal situations people find themselves in every day.
When you need a truck or car accident injury attorney, we here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of car crash, slip and fall, pedestrian injury, workplace injury or wrongful death in Philadelphia or anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the compassionate, dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Talk to a Philadelphia car crash attorney at MyPhillyLawyer by calling 215-914-5471 or toll-free at 1-866-907-2231 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
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