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Company to Pay $3.3M for Fatal Truck Crash That Killed Woman, Daughter, Niece

An auto parts company recently agreed to settle a wrongful death car accident lawsuit involving a 29-year-old mother, her 12-year-old daughter and 14-year-old killed on a New York highway two years ago when their vehicle was struck by one of the company’s truck drivers. Multiple sources have reported the truck accident occurred when the mother called 911 for help after running out of gas. The woman was in the driver’s seat, her niece in the front passenger seat and her daughter in the rear. (The crash also killed two dogs that were in the vehicle.)

Traffic homicide investigators concluded the woman was stopped in the right driving lane with her flashers on when the smaller vehicle was rear-ended by the tractor-trailer, driven by AutoZone’s 52-year-old employee. Defendant company, based in Tennessee, did not comment on the settlement agreement which resolves the estates’ wrongful death claims. There is no indication based on media reports that the defendant conceded any wrongdoing, which is typical of most injury and wrongful death settlements prior to trial.

Why File Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida Trucking Accident?

While money is never going to come close to compensating survivors for such a profound loss, it’s nonetheless important to pursue wrongful death litigation in crash cases for two reasons.

The first is that in many cases, those who died were active, contributing family members whose loss has a huge financial impact to survivors. But even in a case like this, wherein those killed were teenagers/ not contributing family members, many survivors find legal action one of the key means through which to hold individual drivers and companies accountable for their negligence. Specifically as it relates to businesses and professional drivers, such sizable settlements serve as an incentive for implementation of and strict adherence to critical safety measures. 

How Employers, Vehicle Owners Can Be Accountable for Negligent Drivers

These types of cases are one example of how a non-negligent party can be held accountable for damages caused by another. The legal jargon for this is “vicarious liability.” In Florida, vehicle owners can be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of a permissive user of a vehicle. Similarly, employers can be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees acting in the course and scope of employment.

Florida employers can be held accountable for negligent employee drivers in two ways:

  • Vicarious liability of an employee committed within the scope of employment or during the course of employment and to further employer’s interest, as outlined in the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal’s decision in Valeo v. East Coast Furniture Co.
  • Negligence. This means failure to use reasonable care when one had a duty to do so, resulting in a crash that inflicted harm on another. In these cases, employers can be liable for negligently hiring or retaining an employee, negligently supervising an employee or failing to adequately maintain their fleet of large trucks.

Our West Palm Beach truck accident attorneys know this avenue of recovery is especially important for those injured in collisions with large trucks. That’s because firstly, truck accidents tend to be more devastating than crashes involving smaller passenger vehicles, simply by virtue of the size differential between vehicles. This exacerbated on highways and other roads with faster speeds. Secondly, those who own and operate commercial trucks are required to carry higher liability insurance rates, which can offer important financial relief to those who have suffered catastrophic injuries in these collisions.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

AutoZone pays $3.3 million for Bridgeport family’s deaths, July 19, 2018, By Daniel Tepfer,

More Blog Entries:

Florida No-Fault PIP Auto Insurance Lawsuits Reach Record High, July 24, 2018, West Palm Beach Car Accident Attorney Blog

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