Jury awards family of a truck driver crushed in log truck accident $16.8 million after finding vehicle cab guard did not protect the driver from injury as it was intended
MONTGOMERY, ALA. (January 19, 2017) – A jury in Lowndes County Circuit Court found in favor of the family of Larry Albritton, who was killed Oct. 7, 2013, when he lost control of the log truck he was driving and crashed. When the load of logs shifted in the crash, they breached the truck’s cab and struck Mr. Albritton, resulting in his death. The jury determined that the cab guard on the truck was defective in design, manufacture and warnings. The jury also found that Merritt Equipment Co. acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others in the way it designed, manufactured and provided warnings related to its cab guards and therefore did not protect Mr. Albritton as it was supposed to do. Beasley Allen lawyers Jere Beasley, LaBarron Boone and Ben Baker, as well as Tyrone Means of Means Gillis Law, represented the Plaintiffs – Jacqueline Wright, Mr. Albritton’s sister; Knichi and Jerry Hatcher, Mr. Albritton’s daughter and son; and Patricia Albritton, Mr. Albritton’s wife. Defendants included Merritt Equipment Co., Pitts Enterprises and Volvo Trucks North America.
“Truck drivers face many hazards on the road every day, from weather to unexpected traffic and unpredictable other drivers. One thing they should be able to count on is that the vehicle they’re driving is designed so that they have a reasonable expectation of being safe in the event of a crash,” Boone said. “In this instance, the manufacturers failed Mr. Albritton, and it cost him his life. It is our hope that this verdict will send a message to these and other companies that ensuring their drivers’ and the public’s safety is more important than their bottom line.”
Cab guards are required as front-end structures on 18-wheelers that pull flat beds, trailers and log trailers, and are meant to prevent shifting cargo from contacting the cab of heavy trucks. In this case, the cab guard failed. Additionally, the trailer support beams failed to contain the truck’s load in place, allowing it to shift forward, and the trailer had no cab guard attached to it. The case is Jacqueline Wright et al v Volvo Trucks North America, Inc., et al, 45-CV-2013-9000091.00 in the Circuit Court of Lowndes County, Alabama.
Wright v Volvo – Order