Drivers in I-35 Fort Worth Winter Crash Suing Transportation Companies

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Drivers in I-35 Fort Worth Winter Crash Suing Transportation Companies
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On February 11, 2021, North Texas saw one of its worst highway pileups in history, with 133 vehicles involved, numerous injuries, and six fatalities. As a result, some drivers are filing suit against certain transportation companies for alleged unsafe driving contributing to the damages sustained in the pileup.

Texas experienced a record-breaking winter storm that affected everything from roads, to power, to water.

Unlike other states which incorporate cold-weather precautions into the infrastructure of their road and power safety systems, Texas was unprepared for the effects of such low temperatures mixed with rain and snow. Unsurprisingly, drivers were also unprepared. The I-35 pileup also occurred at the beginning of the icy weather, coming on suddenly and leaving drivers on the road stuck in a perilous situation. At the time of the pileup, the air was below freezing, the highway was reportedly covered in a sheet of ice, and a forecast of freezing rain was heading into the area.

Transportation companies have a responsibility to understand and execute certain safe driving protocols in the event of bad weather.

While it’s not particularly surprising that drivers of standard passenger vehicles in Texas would be unprepared for such dangerous road conditions, transportation (i.e. trucking) companies are held to higher standards of preparedness. Considering the sheer size and weight of these vehicles and the damages that can occur in the event of an accident with a large truck, it makes sense that truck drivers are held to higher driving safety standards.

Truck drivers are required to participate in additional training and pass certain tests to prove that they know how to safely operate their vehicle in any inclement weather conditions they may encounter both in and out of state. Trucking companies are required to adhere to and enforce these standards both in the hiring and training practices as well as in the day-to-day supervision of their drivers.

Five transportation companies as well as the individual truck drivers are named in the lawsuit.

FedEx, GG’s Produce Transport, JB Hunt, Rich Logistics, and GO2 Logistics are all named in this lawsuit in addition to the drivers involved, all facing allegations of negligence. The lawyers handling this case report that their clients, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, are currently receiving treatment for serious head injuries and crushed-by injuries among other things. While the truck drivers in question are accused primarily of unsafe driving practices, the trucking companies are facing more specific allegations of negligent hiring and supervision. This is not the first time nor is it likely to be the last time that one or more trucking companies face allegations of negligent hiring and supervision. Unfortunately, poor hiring and lack of company oversight are common factors in large truck accidents.

The plaintiffs are seeking $1 million in damages.

Damages that are often involved in truck accident cases range from serious medical bills and short or long-term lost wages to pain and suffering. In the event a plaintiff dies from their injuries, wrongful death damages may also be compensated in a successful settlement or verdict. The National Transportation Safety Board in addition to the legal teams involved in this lawsuit are continuing to investigate the cause and contributing factors of the pileup, paying special attention to the snow and ice treatments used on the road, allegations that the truck drivers were speeding, and the effect that the transportation companies’ lack of supervision and poor hiring could have had on the string of collisions.

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