Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 12, 2016 – Manuel Galindo’s family received a jury award of $37.9 million in a wrongful death action filed against O’Reilly Auto Parts. Galindo died in February 2015 after slamming into a big rig stuck on an icy road.
The jury deemed the truck driver 40 percent responsible for Galindo’s death and O’Reilly Auto Parts was found to be 60 percent responsible.
At the time of the fatal accident, Manuel Galindo-Comancho was 37-years-old. He died around 6 a.m. near the Texas town of Burnet after hitting a tractor-trailer unit straddling every lane of State Highway 29. Galindo was from Fredricksburg. The truck driver had lost control of his rig, hit a guardrail, and whipped around so the truck came to rest blocking all traffic headed in either direction.
The visibility was not good that day making the road and the truck hard to see. As the driver tried to move his vehicle, Galindo, unable to see well, crashed his Chevy Astro van into the 18-wheeler. First responders found him dead at the scene.
A subsequent investigation of the accident revealed that the truck driver, 36-year-old David Shoots, had been talking on his cellphone at the time of the accident. He neglected to put reflective warning cones in front of his truck.
The trucking company took the case to court and argued that Galindo was traveling too fast for black ice conditions and that a police office responding to the wreck also lost control of the cruiser and slipped when walking to the scene. They further suggested the truck did have highly reflective tape that should have been visible up to 1,200 feet.
The plaintiff’s attorney pointed out the trucker’s driving record was not clean and in the three years before the accident that killed Galindo, he had been involved in three accidents with trucking company property, two crashes, a rear-end collision, the subject of a “How’s My Driving” complaint and the recipient of two speeding citations.
“It appeared Mr. Shoots was not a safe driver and that his employer would have been fully aware of his record. In allowing him to drive, they were negligent in not taking him off the road,” indicated trucking accident attorney Brooks Schuelke of Austin’s Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC, not involved in the case.
Finding the defendant company and their truck driver at fault was in line with the legal doctrine, respondeat superior, which when translated from Latin means “let the master answer.” In many cases of this nature, an employer, such as a trucking company, may be deemed to be responsible for the actions of workers performing their duties within the course of their employment.
“If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, make sure you reach out and connect with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Do not wait or valuable evidence may be lost. Find out your legal rights and what you may be able to claim for compensation,” added Schuelke.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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