A logistics company, Heyl Logistics, has been ordered to pay $5.2 million in a wrongful death lawsuit for its role in the 2008 death of a trucker who was killed by another semi-truck driver. The company was a trucking broker that connected drivers and jobs. According to the finding, the company did not practice due diligence when it agreed to provide contract work to Washington Transportation, which did not drug test its employees.
The accident occurred as the killed driver was conducting a check on his vehicle, as required by FMCSA regulations. The other driver had fallen asleep and was reportedly driving erratically for miles. He was awakened by the noise of clipping the mirror of another semi-truck. In response, the sleeping driver steered hard to the right, hitting the rear of the stopped semi and killing the driver.
Heyl had argued that they had received paperwork from Washington Transportation that “satisfied them” as to the safety of the company, but plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that wasn’t enough. They pointed out that the FMCSA maintains a database of companies that meet the drug testing requirement, and Washington Transportation was not on the list. Further, Washington Transportation also did not have valid insurance at the time of the accident, so Heyl Logistics should never have put their driver on the job that resulted in the fatal truck accident.
This case is a reminder that in the complex world of trucking, there are many potential parties to an accident that can be held accountable. Only an experienced attorney can help you pursue all the potential parties.
To learn more about your legal rights in filing a wrongful death or truck accident lawsuit, please contact Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA, in Columbus, Ohio for a free case evaluation.