Jury Verdict to Make Truck Driver and Employer Pay $23.5 Million
According to the Kansas City Star, a jury in Wichita rendered a $23.5 million verdict against a truck driver and her employer, Swift Transportation for their role in causing a horrible truck wreck in 2006.
According to the lawsuit, truck driver Robyn Getchel missed her turn while trying to pull into a rest stop and was trying to back-up on the highway when she was rear-ended by another semi. The driver of the second rig, Dennis Bottorff, was killed instantly and his passenger, Terry Frederick, sufered severe spinal cord injuries leaving him completely disabled.
Likely driving the liability in this case were the facts that: (1) the at-fault driver was inexperienced (only driving for about 6 months), (2) had failed her commercial license exam several times, (3) had a history of drug use and (4) tested positive for methamphetamine in a post-acident drug test.
Everyday, big-rig semi-truck accidents occur all over Kentucky because companies, more concerned with profits than people, put inexperienced drivers behind the wheel. The companies place unrealistic schedules on the drivers which often leads to the drivers abusing amphetamines to stay awake to drive longer distances and fudging log book entries so they can avoid the federally mandated rest periods. Companies and drivers that operate in this careless manner have to be held accountable, regardless of whether it’s in Wichita, Kansas or Louisville, Kentucky.