Martinez v. Celadon Trucking Services, Inc.

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by Heygood Orr and Pearson

Heygood, Orr & Pearson represented the plaintiffs in this truck accident case against Celadon Trucking. The case was filed in the 40th Judicial District Court, Ellis County, Texas; Docket No.: 72596. The defense was represented by Mr. Karl Koen and Mr. Robert J. Collins of Grau Koen, P.C., Dallas, Texas.

The case involved Ronny Martinez, 35, and Kenneth O’Neal, 48, who were driving northbound on Interstate 35E in Waxahachie on July 2, 2006, when a northbound 18-wheeler veered slightly into their lane requiring Mr. Martinez (who was driving a Nissan X-terra) to take evasive action. In so doing, Mr. Martinez steered slightly off the roadway and he lost control of his vehicle in some gravel causing it to veer back onto the highway, come in contact with the 18-wheeler, and flip and roll several times. Celadon claimed that the incident was caused primarily by faulty evasive action on the part of Mr. Martinez. Mr. Martinez and Mr. O’Neal claimed that the incident was caused by the 18-wheeler veering into their lane and failing to yield the right-of-way. In the accident, Mr. Martinez suffered a fractured vertebra and Mr. O’Neal sustained a serious injury to his right knee, which required several reconstructive surgeries. Mr. O’Neal also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and damage to his collarbone.

The case was tried to a jury in September 2008 for 4 days. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs for $1,482,000. Prior to trial, the defense had offered a settlement of $875,000.