Car Accident Lawyer Wins $285M Verdict for Family of Woman Killed When a Tractor-Trailer Crossed a Highway Centerline and Struck Her Car Head-On

September 13th, 2019

Philadelphia car accident attorney

By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq.


The family of a 58-year-old Louisiana woman who was killed in 2016 when a tractor-trailer crashed head-on into her small SUV on a Georgia highway has won a $280,065,000 wrongful death jury verdict in connection with her death.

The victim, Judy Madere, of Albany, Louisiana, was driving on U.S. Highway 80 in Muskogee County, Georgia, on July 18, 2016 when a tractor-trailer owned by Schnitzer Steel crossed the centerline and struck her SUV, killing Madere and four passengers in the vehicle, according to an Aug. 23 story on The crash occurred at Jowers Road just outside the East Alabama Motor Speedway, which is located about 10 miles west of Phenix City.

After the crash, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Madere’s husband, Larry Madere, against Schnitzer Southeast, Schnitzer Steel Industries and the driver of the tractor trailer, Kenneth Cathey. Cathey’s truck and trailer crossed the center line of the highway and smashed into Mrs. Madere’s SUV “without any visible signs of evasive maneuvers,” the story reported. “Plaintiff attorneys questioned whether Cathey fell asleep at the wheel, though Cathey himself maintains he didn’t.”

The other victims in the crash were Trudy Herbert, 58; Carrie Jones, 23; and Jones’ two children, 7-year-old Trinity and 4-year-old Jackson. They were all from Albany, Louisiana.

The $280 million award came through a phase one verdict of $150 million for wrongful death and $30 million for pain and suffering, while the second phase of the verdict awarded the family an additional $100 million for punitive damages, plus $65,000 for attorney fees. Though the crash happened in Alabama, the civil case was moved to Columbus because that is where Schnitzer Steel is based.

Legal cases like this one occur around the nation every day and are examples of similar kinds of 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 frequirements, 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 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 vehicle crash, slip and fall, 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.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

Listen to Court Radio every Sunday at 7 a.m. with me, attorney Dean Weitzman of MyPhillyLawyer, on Philadelphia’s Old School 100.3 WRNB, Boom 103.9 or on Classix 107.9 WPPZ FM. Listen to Court Radio online or on the radio every week for the latest on legal topics and to get answers to your legal questions. In addition to addressing the topical issues of the day, we’ll answer caller questions on a wide range of legal issues.

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