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Georgia man awarded $20 million after tractor-trailer accident

On May 10 a Whitefield County, Georgia, jury awarded Donald Monroe $20 million and his wife, Rhonda Monroe, $1.6 million after Monroe lost his leg and suffered leg and hip injuries in an accident caused by a tractor-trailer.

The February 3, 2016 accident occurred when a tractor-trailer owned by Lane’s Equipment Rental and driven by Daniel McGuffee improperly pulled onto the highway, ignoring the assistance of Monroe who was acting as a spotter. A pickup truck driving on the highway swerved to avoid hitting the tractor-trailer and struck Monroe who was standing off the roadway.

The verdict was an indictment of the trucking company and its driver, with the jury assigning them 99.99 percent of the fault, and the driver of the pickup, Greefus Patterson, .01 percent at fault.

Stories differ

The version of events told by the defendant and the plaintiff contradicted one another. Monroe claims that after he loaded McGuffee’s tractor-trailer, he acted as a spotter to guide the truck onto the highway. McGuffee, Monroe says, failed to follow his signals and pulled onto the highway without yielding.

McGuffee holds that he turned onto the highway properly, following Monroe’s directions. The attorneys for McGuffee and Lane’s Equipment Rental tried to assign blame to the pickup driver Patterson, who they said was driving with impaired vision, including a cataract on his left eye. Patterson’s lawyer countered that his eyesight met the driving minimums at the time of the accident.

Stay safe around tractor-trailers

While tractor-trailers are a vital part of the United States’ economic infrastructure, they can be dangerous on the highway. Weighing in at up to 80,000 pounds, the force delivered in a collision with a tractor-trailer can be catastrophic. When a car goes up against a tractor-trailer, it almost always loses. In 2017, 2,797 occupants of passenger died in accidents with large trucks, the highest number in years.

When driving around tractor-trailers, remember to avoid their blind spots. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots on all four sides, so it is dangerous to ride alongside a truck or too close ahead or too close behind them. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, the trucker can’t see you.

Give tractor-trailers plenty of room and always make sure you use your turn signals to indicate your movements.

If you’re in an accident with a tractor-trailer, you may be owed compensation for your injuries and trauma. You may want to contact an attorney who can tell you your options and help guide you on the best path forward.

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