A Texas man recently reached a $3,350,000 settlement as a result of an accident with a tractor-trailer caused by a distracted commercial truck driver. Thomas East suffered serious back, neck, and head injuries when his pickup truck was rear-ended by an Oakley Trucking 18-wheeler.
The driver of the commercial vehicle, David Henefield, was alleged to have been making a call on his cell phone at the time of the collision, and had made eight other calls and received one in the fifteen minutes prior to the accident. The defense denied Henefield was distracted by the calls, all of which were either dropped or unanswered.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits commercial motor vehicle drivers from texting while driving, but allows talking on a hands-free phone located in close proximity. Commercial truck drivers can use a mobile phone while driving by doing the following:
• Locate the mobile phone so it is operable by the driver while restrained by properly adjusted safety belts.
• Utilize an earpiece or the speaker phone function.
• Use voice-activated or one-button touch features to initiate, answer, or terminate a call.
Although a number of studies have shown that hands-free phone calls while driving are no safer than conventional calls, they are not currently against the law. However, the significant settlement in this case shows that the courts will allow the jury to consider whether the commercial truck driver was in fact distracted, regardless of whether the laws regulating mobile phone use while driving were violated.
This case is an example of why it is crucial to contact a lawyer if you have been involved in an accident. You might assume there is no liability if the commercial truck driver was not breaking the law, but this is often not the case.
You need a skilled personal injury attorney to investigate your accident with a commercial vehicle or truck and guide you through the process from start to finish. Contact Wendt Law Firm P.C., today for a free consultation. We will only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.