Case Conclusion Date: August 31, 2010
Practice Area: Trucking Accident
Outcome: Jury Verdict for 3 million dollars
Description: Hazel Stevens, a South Carolina Department of Transportation worker, was called to collect a dead deer from a two-lane highway at approximately 10 am on November 22, 2004. Stevens arrived at the site and parked his dump truck, with its tailgate down and extended, in the middle of the westbound lane. According to testimony of Paul McGriff, the DOT passenger, the truck’s tail lights were obscured by the tailgate and covered with dirt, and there were no other warning lights or equipment to alert motorists to the truck’s presence. As John Thompson, 60, was driving in the westbound lane, he suddenly came upon the truck and was unable to brake in time. The truck’s tailgate penetrated Thompson’s windshield and struck him in the head, inflicting fatal injuries. Thompson was a retired welder and is survived by his wife and two adult sons. Thompson’s wife, individually and on behalf of her husband’s estate and the couple’s sons, sued the state department of transportationThe plaintiff alleged that Stevens, as driver of the DOT truck, was negligent in (1) parking in the middle of the road, when there was a wide shoulder located next to the deer, a driveway, and a large church parking lot across the street, and (2) failing to use warning equipment, such as a flashing or rotating lights, cones, triangle signs, flags, or any other signals to alert approaching motorists to the dump truck’s presence.