Truck accidents are incredibly dangerous and cause a lot of damage. The utter size and weight of semi trucks, 18-wheelers, and other big-rig vehicles stacks the odds astronomically against people in other vehicles, let alone pedestrians. Consistent with the destruction that truck accidents can wreak, injuries are often incredibly severe for victims of truck accidents, and fatalities are not uncommon. Accordingly, medical bills to treat these injuries can balloon to astronomical amounts, accounting for initial trauma care as well as possible long-term or permanent medical assistance. For this reason, truck accident lawsuits frequently have large payouts out of necessity to adequately help the plaintiff get through the rest of their life.
Such large settlements can reach absurd amounts of money that, for any other injury, would seem excessive. Our lawyers have looked at some of the largest truck accident and product liability lawsuits from history, as well as some more recent ones.
If you were in a truck accident and need legal help, call Rice Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland truck accident lawyers at (410) 694-7291 for a free case review.
Are These Really the Largest Truck Accident Lawsuits in History?
The reality is that we can never know for sure whether a publicly known truck accident lawsuit with a massive payout is the largest in history. Many settlement offers are, by operation of law, kept private and unknown to all except those involved in the lawsuit. In many circumstances, the parties want to keep tight-lipped about proceedings either because they want to move on or because it is a condition of the settlement. Therefore, it is tough to tell whether or not there is a hidden truck accident lawsuit that outclasses all the rest in terms of damages.
That being said, this article prepared by our Aberdeen truck accident lawyers will detail some truly colossal truck accident lawsuits.
Louisiana “Super Fog” Accident
Our first massive truck accident is one that has happened rather recently at the time of writing. On October 23, 2023, Louisiana experienced an incredibly dense fog that fell over highways in the state. This fog was caused by a number of contributing factors, among them dense fog from Louisiana swamps combined with smoke from wildfires that had possibly traveled a great distance to get there. The resulting environmental factors greatly reduced visibility for drivers. A gigantic 158-car pile-up – which included several large tractor-trailers, was the result. Seven people tragically lost their lives, and countless others were injured. State authorities began calling for blood donations to help replenish stocks and stay safe by avoiding driving if possible.
This accident is fairly recent, so the death toll and other information are still in flux and changing.
It will be interesting to observe how the legal theories surrounding this accident will play out. Of course, you cannot sue fog. It has no money. Nevertheless, a large class-action lawsuit is likely to result, and potentially several wrongful death claims.
Texas Multi-Truck Crash
On December 10, 2022, no less than four “big-rig” trucks got in a crash that also involved a singular standard sedan. The accident happened when a large truck began to slow down. However, the large truck immediately following did not slow down and impacted the other truck, which then went out of control and hit a passing pedestrian vehicle. A fourth 18-wheeler then hit the growing mass of crashed vehicles. All of the vehicles, save one, caught fire after the initial pileup. One of the truck drivers died at the scene, while the other three were rushed away to receive intensive medical care.
One (Hundred) Million Dollars
Yet another truck accident lawsuit arising out of events in Texas in 2014 resulted in an absolutely massive $100 million verdict. In that case, a family was traveling in their personal vehicle on a highway. The weather started to turn into an ice storm, clouding the windshield of the family pickup truck. The large commercial truck right in front of the family began to fishtail (when the rear of a truck slips from side to side like a fish’s tail). The truck driver lost control of their truck, which smacked right into the family pickup. Tragically, the seven-year-old boy in the vehicle was killed right away, and his 12-year-old sister was rendered a quadriplegic.
Much of the case centered around the competency of the truck driver and whether they were fit to be on the road that day. Although the trucker did have a commercial driver’s license, they scored quite low on skill assessments and may not have known how to handle icy conditions effectively. Moreover, the plaintiffs argued that the truck should have stopped driving whatsoever, given the nasty road conditions.
The jury found the trucking company to be the most liable party since they hired the driver and are required to train them to drive correctly and safely and to make sure they don’t go out on the road if they are not ready.
“Smaller” Accidents Can Reap Larger Verdicts
The amount of fatalities or casualties in a truck accident is not necessarily indicative of what the largest verdict will be. In fact, a truck accident involving only a truck and one motorist (who unfortunately lost their life) resulted in a verdict of $281 million.
In that accident, a drive shaft broke off of the truck and went through the windshield of the other driver, killing them. The case was based on the idea that the trucking company was liable for not properly maintaining their truck. Had they done so, they would have saved nearly $300 million, and the driver might very well still be alive.
Talk With Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
For help with your case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Baltimore truck accident lawyers at the number (410) 694-7291.