Truck accident caused by driver’s cell phone use leads to $3.75 million settlement

by Jay Pate

Attorneys representing a South Carolina couple that filed a truck accident lawsuit against a North Carolina fabric company say that they hope a recent settlement in the case will help in addressing the problem of distracted driving in the trucking industry. Unifi Inc. agreed to pay a $3.75 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by a husband and wife that were injured in an accident involving one of the company’s truck drivers, who was on his cell phone at the time of the crash.

According to the lawsuit against Unifi, the husband and wife were turning into the driveway of their home in Bennettsville, South Carolina when they were struck from behind by a truck owned by the company. The couple was seriously injured as a result of the accident.

The couple’s lawsuit alleged that the driver of the Unifi truck was using his cell phone at the time of the crash. Although Unifi’s company policy at the time of the crash was that drivers could only use their cell phones for two minutes at a time and with a Bluetooth device, phone logs showed that the driver had been on his phone for about seven hours of his eight-and-a-half hour shift. Lawyers for the couple alleged that Unifi failed to review the log records of its drivers to ensure that the company’s cell phone policy was being enforced.

During a deposition before the trial, the Unifi driver falsely claimed that he was not using his cell phone at the time of the accident. The driver also stated that the couple’s vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road at the time of the crash and that the car’s headlights were off. The black box in the couple’s car showed that it was moving at 10 miles an hour at the time of the accident, with both its headlights and turn signal engaged.

Although the Federal Motor Carrier Association banned the use of hand-held cell phones in commercial vehicles in 2012, the problem is still an issue in the trucking industry. Records from the couple’s lawsuit against Unifi showed that many of its drivers were routinely using their cell phones to make calls while driving.

Lawyers for the couple say that they are encouraged by the fact that Unifi is now properly enforcing its policy as a result of the lawsuit. They say that hopefully other trucking companies will continue taking steps to address the problem of distracted driving among truckers caused by cell phone use. In addition to banning cell phone use altogether, some trucking companies have begun installing cameras in the cabins of their drivers’ trucks to ensure that the no-cell-phones policy is being followed.

Trucking Accident Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson

If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other large commercial vehicles, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit for your injuries, pain, and suffering. The first step in taking legal action in a truck accident case is to talk with an experienced attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options.

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have handled dozens of cases involving injuries by accidents involving truck or other commercial vehicles. Our lawyers have achieved verdicts or settlements involving damages of millions of dollars in several truck accident cases. Our law firm has the financial resources to help our clients stand toe-to-toe with even the biggest trucking and insurance companies to ensure that your legal rights are fully protected.

For more information about lawsuits involving truck accidents filed by the attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson and to learn whether you may be eligible to file a case, contact our law office by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following this link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few short questions about your history to get started.

by Jay Pate

John “Jay” Pate is a licensed attorney who focuses his practice on complex tort litigation involving catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and product liability cases.