Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania widow awarded $3.6 million in wrongful death suit

A widow of a Pennsylvania truck maintenance worker was awarded $3.6 million against a trucking company. The company owned the truck that essentially fell down on top of him and crushed him to death.

Though the trucking company appealed the $3,604,599.83 verdict against them, a federal court upheld the wrongful death verdict. The trucking company tried to assert that mistakes were made at the trial court level in not allowing references to be made concerning the deceased individual's alleged criminal record. The trucking company also contested the finding of the jury that there was no negligence on the part of the deceased worker that may have contributed to his own death.

In light of the verdicts that defendants may face in wrongful death lawsuits, these companies will often resort to bringing up a number of defenses that may or may not be legitimate. Yet experienced personal injury attorneys will make certain that the only defenses raised are valid ones.

In the above circumstance, it does appear that the deceased maintenance worker had been jailed at one time when he was 20 years old, but he had since married, had raised a family and was never in trouble with the law again.

Also, the appeals court felt it was well within the jury's discretion to decide that the deceased worker was not at fault. It is the jury that decides upon these factual issues and not the attorneys that decide the case.

Whether verdicts such as the one delivered above are excessive depends upon one's point of view. However, a family has been deprived of a husband and father, and it's difficult for anyone to say that this type of loss would be anything but substantial.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Third Circuit affirms $3.6 million wrongful death award to widow of Pa. truck maintenance worker crushed to death," by Jon Campisi, Dec. 10, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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