Logging Truck Accident Lawsuit Results in $3.5M Verdict Over Fatal Crash

An Alabama jury awarded $3.5 million last week in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a man killed when his van was crushed between two logging trucks.

The complaint was filed by the family of James Sanderson, who was killed in a truck accident that occurred in January 2008. While Sanderson was behind a logging truck at an intersection, waiting for a car ahead of them to make a left turn, another logging truck failed to stop and rear-ended Sanderson’s vehicle.

As a result of the impact from the rear-end collision, Sanderson’s van was forced into the log truck in front of him, and one of the logs was propelled through his front windshield, causing a traumatic head injury. Sanderson was survived by a wife and two children.

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Gary Fruge., the driver of the logging truck that struck Sanderson’s van, argued that he was only travelling 45 miles per hour at the time of the truck crash and did not have the distance or time to stop when seeing the stopped traffic at the intersection. Sanderson’s family argued that Fruge had one thousand feet to stop, and that he must have been going about 65-75 m.p.h. to have hit the breaks and still strike Sanderson’s van with enough force to cause the damage inflicted.

Had Fruge been going 45 m.p.h., he would have been able to stop within 360 feet of applying the break, representatives of the family argued. The jury agreed and found Gruge and Ken Gorum Trucking liable for Sanderson’s death.

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