Jury awards injured worker $1.6 million in a truck accident case in Big Spring, TX, argued by trial attorneys Dennis Weitzel and Marquette Wolf of TBL&A.
Texas trial attorneys Dennis Weitzel and Marquette Wolf, with the personal injury law firm of Ted B. Lyon & Associates, have secured a $1.6 million verdict on behalf of injured electrician Jacob Lang in a Big Spring courtroom.
The 30-year-old electrician was a passenger in a truck on his job to a jobsite in the Permian Basin when the truck was struck by another truck driven by an employee of Parsons Electric, LLC. Mr. Lang suffered severe head, neck, and back injuries as a result of the collision.
An investigation of the accident found the driver of the other vehicle to be at fault and not Mr. Lang’s colleague. Mr. Martinez was driving a company-owned truck for work purposes. The attorneys for the plaintiff brought suit against the driver’s employer, charging that the company was negligent in hiring, training, supervising and retaining the employee.
The Duty of an Employer
“Lang v. Martinez and Parsons Electric LLC was an important case,” Weitzel said, “because there are a number of folks out there driving big trucks in the Permian basin who are not properly trained or supervised.”
“The Dallas-Fort Worth area is expanding rapidly, both with new construction and with rapid growth of oilfield activity. There is a lot more traffic and there are a lot more workers in the Permian Basin area. There has been a spike in serious collisions out there – everything from 1-ton pickups to transport 18-wheelers. It’s worse in the Permian basin than some other parts of the state.”
“But increased traffic is only part of the problem,” he said. “Another contributing factor is drivers putting in too many hours and are driving fatigued. That’s making it more dangerous on the road.” In this case, it was noted that the driver had been talking on his cell phone and texting before the collision, and did not put on his brakes or take evasive action to avoid the collision.
The collision was not the first misadventure of the driver. At trial, attorneys Weitzel and Wolf proved to the jury that the company was negligent for allowing him behind the wheel because of a history of bad driving. The jury found both the defendant Jonathan J. Martinez and his employer Parsons Electric, LLC, at fault and financially liable.
“Employers have a duty is to have safe drivers on the road; drivers who are properly trained and properly monitored to ensure they are operating the company vehicle correctly. That didn’t happen in this case,” said Weitzel.
Serious Injuries – Lifetime Consequences
An award of $1.6 million dollars sounds like a lot of money for a truck accident case, but not when one understands:
- The severity of the injuries,
- Pain and suffering of the injured worker,
- The cost of past and future medical care,
- Rehabilitation costs,
- Inability to contribute to the household,
- Months of unemployment
- Inability to return to a chosen profession
Mr. Lang suffered a severe head injury, as well as neck and back injuries.
Head injuries, like concussions (closed head injuries) and skull fractures, cause damage to the brain. It can take many months, even years to fully recover from a head injury. Some people never do.
Head injury victims can suffer cognitive impairment, speech difficulties, problems with decision making and memory, and problems with balance. Victims can suffer recurring headaches. The injured person and his/her family often find they are living on an emotional roller coaster.
Neck injuries are common in collision accidents. Whiplash can occur when the head is jolted front to back or side to side. The violent force of the collision caused damage to muscles, ligaments and connective tissue in the neck and upper back.
In Mr. Lang’s case, the back injuries he incurred meant he could no longer lift heavy materials like he used to for work. Despite extensive medical treatment, it was expected that he would need additional surgery and may never be able to return to his prior profession. He lost not only his good health; he lost his career and the income that a high-paying trade job can provide for a family.
Full and Fair Compensation
“When you deal with someone who has been severely injured, It’s not just their injury. It’s the whole family’s injury.” Weitzel pointed out that “when the injured person is the primary breadwinner for the family and suddenly they can’t make the same income, families lose their home, their car.” And that’s what happened to the Langs.
“My client’s life was turned upside down and he was angry, frustrated, financially strapped and at the end of his rope. His family will have to rebuild their lives. It’s going to take time and effort on their part.”
A significant portion of the financial award compensated the family for future lost wages because Mr. Lang cannot return to his previous high-paying trade job. As a young man of only 30, Mr. Lang had a long career ahead of him, with tremendous earning potential.
“Failure on the part of the trucking company to supervise its employee led to a bad situation for this young man. Not every truck collision or workplace injury is life-changing but in Jacob Lang’s case, it was. We were very gratified by the verdict in this case. Our focus is always on helping people who have been injured put their lives back together. We feel this verdict goes a long way toward doing that,” Weitzel said.
The Legal Team
The law firm of Ted B. Lyon & Associates has a long track record of successful financial recovery for injury and wrongful death claims arising from car accidents and truck crashes. It also handles workplace injury claims related to defective products, unsafe workplace conditions, pipeline explosions, construction accidents, and oil field accidents.
While many personal injury cases are resolved through a settlement agreement with an insurance company – and many personal injury attorneys have little trial court experience – the lawyers at Ted B. Lyon & Associates regularly take cases to court.
The firm believes that in order to give its clients the best chance for full compensation, it’s essential to take the time to prepare each case for the possibility of trial. This includes a thorough investigation of the causes of the accident, a clear understanding of the scope and severity of injuries, gathering critical evidence, and then preparing a compelling case.
“I like trying cases. I feel I get the best results taking cases to trial,” Weitzel said, reflecting on the decision to try a case or negotiate a settlement. “Other attorneys refer clients to my firm because they know their client’s case will be tried in Texas courts by a Texas Trial Attorney. That’s what Ted Lyon was all about and that’s what his firm is about.”
The courtroom has certainly been the site for Weitzel’s greatest accomplishments, securing him a designation as a Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly magazine. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. And he is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). He has received an AV rating for competency and ethics from his peers, the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell directory of attorneys.
Attorney Marquette Wolf has tried catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases in Texas courts for clients who suffered injuries as a result of defective products, unsafe premises, pipeline explosions, refinery explosions, and other jobsite accidents.
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