Trucking company must pay $7.29 million in damages for Connecticut DOT worker’s death in 18-wheeler accident

by John Chapman

Daniel R. DiNardi of Rocky Hill, Connecticut was a 41-year-old employee of the Connecticut DOT. One afternoon in March of 2012, Dinardi parked his orange DOT truck on the right shoulder of Route 8 North, just to the north of Exit 29 in Waterbury. As he was working to clear debris from the side of the northbound lanes between exits 29 and 30, he was struck by a tractor-trailer.

Gina Davies was operating the tractor-trailer, which was owned by PTX Services of Plymouth, Wisconsin. Davies veered from the northbound lane and onto the shoulder of the road, striking DiNardi.

DiNardi suffered multiple blunt force trauma injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. DiNardi’s family sued Davies and her employer for wrongful death. A Hartford jury now has ruled in the family’s favor and awarded damages of $7.29 million.

According to court records, Davies pled guilty in an earlier criminal case to misconduct with a motor vehicle in the accident. She was sentenced to five years in prison, suspended after two years, along with three years of probation. Nonetheless, the trucking company’s lawyers argued at the civil trial that that she was not at fault for the accident.

Attorneys for the DiNardi family presented evidence that the truck driver was likely very tired and may have fallen asleep. The family alleged that Davies falsified her driver’s logs with regard to the amount of time she had actually spent behind the wheel in the days leading up to the crash. The trial lasted about six days and included testimony from four eyewitnesses, two DOT workers, two state troopers, Davies, an economist and the defense’s accident reconstruction expert.

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* Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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