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Jury Awards $30 Million to Teen Injured in Truck Wreck

A DeSoto County Circuit Court jury in Tennessee recently awarded $30 million to a teenager who suffered permanent brain damage in a gravel truck accident three years ago.

The teen, Ethan Bryant, spend eight months in a coma after a gravel truck crashed into his pickup truck in 2006.

Paul Scott, attorney for the Bryant family, said that the gravel truck driver’s load was 20,000 pounds overweight, and the driver had little experience.

Unfortunately, trucking companies often exceed load limits in order to save money. However, overloaded trucks are dangerous on roadways. Excessive loads not only add more mass to already massive vehicles, but they also make trucks more likely to roll over and crash.

Bryant’s passenger, Patrick Taylor, was killed in the wreck. Both Bryant and Taylor were 16 at the time of the accident, and both were athletes at Hernando High School.

The jury found that APAC Tennessee, Inc., the paving company that hired the gravel truck driver, was 70 percent responsible for the wreck. The remaining 30 percent of fault was split between the driver and the company that loaded the gravel. The loading company settled out of court.

The driver, Chad McCarty, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault and was given 15 years of probation.

Bryant, who is now 19, received traumatic brain injury that left him incapable of living without help. His mother had to give up her job to take care of him.

“He requires 24-hour care,” said his father, Carey Bryant. “It’s turned into my wife’s full-time job.”

The victim’s father also said that the jury verdict gave him the only feeling of justice he’s felt in the last three years since the accident.

In today’s economy, many trucking companies will do anything to get ahead, even if that means breaking the law. In fact, a recent analysis of government data found that 200,000 trucks are driving in violation of federal safety laws.

Trucking companies may hire inexperienced drivers, drivers with medical problems, or drivers with alcohol and drug dependency. Many companies encourage drivers to work for long hours without adequate rest.

Large trucks may be overloaded, improperly loaded, or unsafe because of defective tires or other parts.

Large trucks are certainly the most dangerous vehicles on our roadways. They make up less than 4 percent of the vehicles on the road, yet they’re involved in 12 percent of the fatal accidents.

When you’re driving on the highway, always keep a safe distance between your vehicle and large trucks. The trucks have several extended blind spots, and they may not see your vehicle. When you have to pass a large truck, do so quickly and with care. Be aware that large trucks must swing to the left when turning right. To be safe, anticipate their moves and stay out of the way.

If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you need a personal injury attorney who understands the industry and the relevant laws and regulations. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney.