Category Archives: Accident Case Studies

Trucking Accident Liability: An Overview

Large commercial trucks sharing the roadways with much smaller, privately-owned vehicles can create a dangerous situation for everyone on the road. Because these vehicles are so large in size, they often have limited visibility, creating multiple blind spots in which truck drivers are unable to see the road. More importantly, if an accident involving a large commercial truck does occur, the consequences for all those involved in the accident can be substantial, even life-threatening.

Accidents involving a large commercial truck are often subject to legal action, in large part because those who are the victims of these types of unfortunate circumstances often require Truck Accident On Texas Road In Sunsetsubstantial medical treatment in order to recover from their injuries. The costs of this treatment are often quite high, and therefore trucking accident victims often seek compensation for their losses. However, assessing liability for trucking accidents can often be complicated, as several different parties may be variously implicated in the accident’s occurrence. An example of a prominent trucking accident settlement can help to show how exactly this can operate.

A truck driver working for a cable company in Texas struck a vehicle driven by Mindy Ragsdale, with her grandmother Peggye Woodson in the passenger’s seat, killing both women. The collision occurred even though the driver should have had as many as 14 seconds of visibility in which to come to a stop behind the vehicle. The accident occurred because the driver had been busy texting on his cellphone instead of focusing on the road, as he should have been.

In this circumstance, the driver was clearly the individual responsible for the accident’s occurrence. However, the truck accident lawyer which represented the family of Mindy Ragsdale and Peggye Woodson was able to effectively argue that the company bore at least some share of responsibility for the accident because it had failed to implement a ban on cellphone use while driving for its employees. Under the legal theory of vicarious responsibility, this would have left the company liable for much of the damages sought by the family if the case had gone to trial. In order to avoid this outcome, as well as the negative publicity such a move might result in, the company settled out of court with the family.

This is just one example of the many ways that trucking accident liability can be more complicated than it may initially appear. While the driver was certainly responsible for the accident, the company which employed him was also eventually deemed liable for the damages that his negligent actions caused because of its own lax safety policies. Many similar cases occur every year in the United States.

DUI Accident Lawsuits: A Faculty Case Study

When a motorist decides to get behind the wheel after becoming intoxicated, they endanger not only their own lives, but also the lives of everyone else on the road. Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense for this reason, and those who choose to engage in this type of dangerous behavior are subject to substantial criminal penalties as a result. However, these types of penalties often do little to assuage the pain that their victims may experience. Therefore, those guilty of driving while drunk may also be subject to civil penalties for their actions.

Many car accident attorneys find that a substantial subset of their cases are brought against Car Drivingdrivers who were intoxicated at the time of the accident. In fact, of the more than 30,000 automotive fatalities which occur each year in the U.S., around a third of them are the direct result of drunk driving. Criminal penalties have been effective in helping to reduce the number of drunk drivers on our nation’s roadways, but civil penalties are often necessary to limit the amount of damage that drunk driving accident victims may have incurred.

One highly publicized recent DUI accident lawsuit involved John Goodman, the founder of International Polo Club, who was found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of nearly three times the legal limit hours after his car struck a vehicle driven by Scott Wilson, forcing the other man’s car off the road and into a nearby lake, where Wilson was unable to escape from his car and drowned as a result. Wilson’s parents sued Goodman for the death of their son, and the case was recently settled for a reported $46 million.

Several issues of note in this particular settlement are helpful for understanding DUI accident lawsuits. First, this particular settlement was substantially higher than most DUI injury or even wrongful death lawsuits, as a result of the perpetrators considerable personal fortune. Second, part of the settlement is being paid for by the club which over-served Goodman, allowing him to become so intoxicated that his driving represented a threat to others. Finally, Goodman’s actions following the accident, in which he failed to contact police and, according to witness testimony, called his girlfriend instead, were likely influential in making the final settlement so large.

Many DUI accidents are much less severe in nature. However, regardless of the specific circumstances in which they occur, a DUI accident that causes injury to others is almost without exception grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

Ford Pinto: A Pre Law Case-Study in Product Liability

The Ford Pinto was Ford Motor Company’s entrance into the subcompact car market in the 1970s. With the rising popularity of imported Japanese and German vehicles, which were often smaller and more fuel efficient, beginning to push into the dominance of American automakers’ share of the market, Ford designed the Pinto as a viable alternative. The Pinto was fairly popular, selling more than 3 million units during its production span.

Unfortunately, an element of the Pinto’s design made it susceptible to serious damage if involved in an accident. The fuel tank was not properly constructed, and in even minor rear-end collision accidents, the filler neck might break and release fuel, resulting in deadly fires and explosions in some accidents. More damningly, an internal memo which had been circulated among Ford’s executive directors was obtained by Mother Jones magazine in 1977, showing that the company Ford Pintohad not only been aware of the design defect but, after conducting a cost/benefit analysis determining that fixing the defect would cost around $11 per vehicle, had concluded that it would be more cost-effective to simply allow the defective vehicles to remain on the market and settle any legal actions which might later be brought.

The first lawsuit brought against the Ford Pinto, Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company, demonstrated just how devastating the consequences of this product defect could be. Lily Gray and 13-year old Richard Grimshaw were traveling in a Ford Pinto when the vehicle was struck by another car, at the relatively low speed of 30 miles per hour. However, because of the defective fuel tank design, the vehicle burst into flames, killing Lily and severely injuring Richard. With the assistance of an experienced product liability attorney, Grimshaw and the Gray family sued Ford Motor Company, resulting in compensatory damage awards of $560,000 for the Grays and $2.5 million for Richard Grimshaw. As a result of the corporate memo, however, the jury also assessed punitive damages against the Ford Motor Company for a total of $125 million. While these damages were eventually reduced to a much more reasonable sum, they demonstrated the considerable public disapproval that Ford’s actions had incited.

Further cases were brought against Ford throughout the 1970s, eventually resulting in the discontinuation of the Pinto line in the early 1980s. While this case is an especially devastating example of the dangers that product liability can pose to the general public, many other types of product defect cases in the United States have helped to hold manufacturers accountable for the consequences their actions can have.