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Birmingham Personal Injury Attorneys > Blog > Truck Accident > Trucker Awarded Damages After Employer Fails To Show Up For Court

Trucker Awarded Damages After Employer Fails To Show Up For Court


In February 2024, a Coffee County truck driver was awarded $12 million in damages after a trucking company failed to respond to his suit. The lawsuit alleged negligence on the part of the trucking company, and the trucker sought actual damages of $6 million. However, the court awarded another $6 million in punitive damages after the trucking company ignored the suit.

While this is very unusual, it shows how seriously Alabama courts take trucking accidents and the responsibility of trucking companies for the harm their employees may cause. If you have been injured in an accident with a large truck, the Birmingham truck accident attorneys from Goldasich, Vick & Fulk can help ensure that you have the best chance possible to recover damages for what you have been through.

Who May Be Liable?

Truck accidents are some of the most serious in terms of the potential injuries and fatalities, mostly due to the sheer size and potential speed of such vehicles. There are several different potential causes for this kind of crash, and while some can be chalked up to simple bad luck or fate, many are ascribable to negligence of some kind. The most commonly seen immediate causes of these accidents in Alabama include speeding, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and overloaded or unbalanced trailers.

Regardless of causes, if a case can be made that the truck driver’s actions breached the duty to exercise reasonable care that all road users owe to each other, they may be on the proverbial hook for negligence. However, truck drivers are often judgment proof (that is, they cannot pay off a jury award if they are found liable), so the law sometimes allows an injured plaintiff to file suit against not only the driver, but the driver’s employer. In the Coffee County case, the trucker sued the company he had contracted with, alleging negligence.

Default Judgment Can Be Expensive

Normally, when an accident involving a large truck happens on Florida roads, a person will seek compensation for their medical bills by either (1) filing a claim with their personal injury protection (PIP) insurer, or the PIP insurer of the driver who allegedly caused their injuries; or (2) filing suit against the negligent driver if their injuries are “significant and permanent.” However, filing suit against an allegedly negligent defendant normally requires a reply from the defendant. In the Coffee County case, the defendant simply never responded.

A person or entity failing to appear in court to refute the allegations against them does not simply make those allegations disappear. The court will instead take the allegations as essentially true, and treat the lawsuit as if the defendant had simply admitted all the allegations against them – after all, if they were false, a defendant would, at least in theory, come to court to refute them. This is known as a default judgment, and in the Coffee County case, it will be expensive for the defendant who failed to appear.

Injured In A Truck Accident? We Can Help You

An accident with a large truck can leave a person having suffered serious physical and emotional harm. You do not have to deal with this situation on your own – a Birmingham truck accident attorney from Goldasich, Vick & Fulk can help to guide you through the legal process while ensuring that you still have an active voice in your own case. We do not treat our clients like numbers, but we can help shoulder the load at what is often a difficult time for accident victims. Contact our office today at (205) 731-2566 to schedule a consultation.



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