Improperly Lit Truck Leads Jury to Award $2.8M Judgment

An early morning wreck left a young man dead after crashing into the rear of a slow-moving logging truck. After investigators determined that the truck was improperly lit, the driver received a six-month prison sentence. Now, a jury has resolved the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the young driver’s family by awarding them $2.8 million in damages, according to
22-year-old Christopher J. Groulx was on his way to work when his Pontiac car slammed into the back of a logging truck at around 6:20 a.m. He died at the scene. While most typical rear-end collisions involve a rear driver at fault, this was not a typical collision. Police investigators determined that the logging truck lacked the required lighting needed to make it sufficiently visible. The logging truck was also moving at an extremely slow rate of speed (around 15 mph.)

Based upon the improper lighting, prosecutors charged the truck driver with a moving violation causing death, and the driver served a six month jail sentence. Subsequently, Groulx’s family sued the driver and the trucking company for wrongful death. The family argued that, because of the improper lighting, Groulx could not see the truck. The attorney for the driver and the trucking company contended that the young driver was speeding or was inattentive either due to sleep deprivation (from having attended a music concert until 1 a.m. the previous evening) or a cell phone distraction. The family countered by asserting that the man’s cell phone was in his pocket at the time of the impact.

Ultimately, the jury concluded that, given the lack of daylight, the truck’s slow speed and its improper lighting, Groulx could not have prevented the accident. In assessing non-economic damages, the jury awarded $500,000 for pain and suffering, $1.5 million for present loss of “love, society and companionship” and $750,000 for future loss of “love, society and companionship.” The jury also tacked on approximately $75,000 in economic damages.

The facts in this tragic case point out the complexities of truck accidents, both in Louisiana and elsewhere throughout the nation, including the various responsibilities trucking companies owe to the traveling public and the many ways in which their failures may trigger legal liability. In this case, the trucker was not sleepy, was not speeding and was struck from the rear. In many cases, that might yield a result absolving the trucker and trucking company of blame. Truckers and trucking companies do not merely have an obligation to drive safely, but also must ensure that their trucks are maintained and lit in a safe manner. The truck in the Groulx case did not meet this standard.

If you or a loved one injured has suffered an injury in an accident involving a semi truck, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. We can help you analyze every detail of your case to help you understand what the law entitles you to as a victim and help you get the compensation that you deserve.

For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.

More Blog Posts:

Driving with Distractions – Louisiana Texting Negligence, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, May 9, 2013
The Rear-Ending Driver is Not Always At Fault Under Louisiana Law, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Oct. 31, 2012

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