Earlier this month, a bench trial that took place in a federal court in Harrisburg awarded over $2.1 million to the widow of a man who was killed in a tractor-trailer accident in Lebanon County.
According to an article on PennRecord.com, the accident took place on Interstate 78 in November of 2009. The driver of a Freightliner semi-tractor had been idling on the side of the road and began to pull back onto the interstate at a slow rate of speed. Two men who were travelling in a pickup truck in the right lane collided with the slow moving commercial truck. The pickup truck caught fire and the driver and passenger died from fire and asphyxiation. The widow of the driver who was killed sued the driver of the commercial truck for negligence and wrongful death.
According to the article, the plaintiff argued that the driver of the commercial truck was not familiar with the route he was driving, was unfamiliar with the truck’s radio equipment, and had not received on-the-job training. In addition, it was argued that the commercial truck driver only had his commercial driving license for about a month before the accident, and that he had failed both the written test and on-the-road driving test twice.
The widow of the driver of the pickup truck was awarded $2 million for lost wages and $100,000 for pain and suffering. PVR Transport was ordered to pay $100,000 in punitive damages.