The family of a California bus driver was recently awarded $7,284,000 in a wrongful death action arising out of a Highway 99 truck accident. This was one of many preventable California truck accidents caused by inattentive truck drivers being unable to respond to changing road conditions.
The bus driver was operating a church bus which had a broken gas gauge. The bus ran out of gas on the highway between Merced and Fresno, and the bus driver pulled the bus over to the shoulder. He went o a gas station and obtained diesel fuel. The bus driver began priming the diesel engine while standing by the driver’s side of the bus on the highway shoulder.
A semi-truck driver saw the disabled bus and its driver on the highway shoulder. The trucker sought to move over to give the bus driver room and avoid a pedestrian collision. The trucker had failed to check his mirrors in the moments leading up to his approach and another truck was already passing as he attempted to switch lanes.
The first truck struck the rear trailer of the second truck in the attempted lane change. The resulting crash caused one of the rear truck’s trailers to swing violently onto the shoulder and strike the bus driver.
According to the lawsuit, the bus driver’s nephew was on the church bus at the time of the accident. He saw his uncle being hit by the tractor-trailer and fly through the air. Authorities pronounced the bus driver dead at the scene of the accident.
A jury deliberated for two days following a three-week trial. The jury ultimately awarded the family of the bus driver $7.28 million in damages.
Source: Haen vs. Logos Group, 33 Trials Digest 14th 32, 2011 WL 3487659