Tractor-Trailer Accident Case Settles for $750,000 During First Day of Trial

When trucking companies start saying that evidence has been “lost,” you know something fishy is going on.

Tractor-Trailer Accident in Newnan, Georgia

A tractor-trailer operated by Pemberton Truck Lines was headed southeast from Carrollton, Georgia.  The driver was in a hurry because if he didn’t get his load of pet supplies to PetSmart soon, he was going to “time out”—meaning that under the federal rules that govern truckers, he would have to stop and rest for several hours before he could start driving again.  His truck was equipped with a GPS tracking device that should have let his company know where he was and how fast he was driving.  He cut off another driver as he took a hard turn onto Georgia Highway 16, a two-lane road heading toward Newnan.  Then the Pemberton tractor-trailer started heading southbound on Highway 16.

The tractor-trailer came up on a garbage truck out making its pickups.  The passing zone was about to end.  The tractor-trailer driver decided to pass the garbage truck anyway.

It was a bad decision, as this video from inside the garbage truck shows.

How a Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer Works

Our firm took the case.  We started, as usual, with deep digging into the paperwork.  We found not only that this driver was running short on hours, but that Pemberton Truck Lines had repeatedly gotten in trouble for drivers pushing themselves past their hourly limits.  We found that our client’s employer had a video of the collision, taken from inside the garbage truck by a security camera mounted inside the truck.  And we found that the tractor-trailer had been equipped with a GPS tracking device—although, according to the company, the data from the tracking device was “missing.”

We got ready for trial.  We contacted witnesses and law enforcement officers from the scene of the collision and got them ready to testify.  We took depositions (that is, testimony under oath) of our client’s treating doctors, so the jury could hear evidence about his injuries.  We went to Knoxville, Tennessee, home of Pemberton Truck Lines, where we cross-examined the company’s President about the “missing” GPS logs and cross-examined the company’s Safety Director about tractor-trailers driving over their regulated hours.

Tractor-Trailer Accident Settlement

We started this trucking trial in the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Newnan Division—that is, in the federal courthouse in Newnan that shares a building with the post office.  We selected a jury and gave opening statements, and then the Court decided to take a lunch break.  Over the break, the lawyers representing the tractor-trailer company approached us.  They had an offer.

We consulted with our client. The case settled for $750,000.

More from a Truck and Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer Georgia Trusts