Truck Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuit Results in $1 Billion Verdict For Family of Florida Teen
A Florida jury has awarded $1 billion to the family of a teenager who died in a truck accident in 2017, including massive punitive damages intended to punish the trucking company, after evidence indicated that one of the drivers involved in the crash was on his cell phone and did not have a commercial driver’s license.
Connor Dzion was 18 and a freshman at University of North Florida in 2017, when he had to stop due to a crashed semi, which caused a 22-vehicle accident and massive traffic jam on I-95 near State Road 200 on Labor Day weekend. Dzion was stuck in traffic for an hour near Jacksonville, Florida, when another truck slammed into the back of his vehicle.
The driver of the semi-tractor trailer that cause the initial traffic jam worked for AJD Business Services, Inc. According to court testimony, he had been on his cell phone, did not have a commercial driver’s license and had been on the road for more consecutive hours than the law allowed.
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The driver who ran into Dzion’s vehicle worked for Kahkashan Carrier, Inc., of Canada, and had placed his vehicle on cruise control prior to the truck accident. His vehicle was going 70 miles per hour when it hit Dzion’s vehicle, and he only attempted to apply the brakes one second before the impact.
On Tuesday, a Nassau County jury blamed both trucking companies for Dzion’s death, awarding $100 million to Dzion’s parents for the loss of their son, as well as pain and suffering after a five-day trial. In addition, the jury added another $900 million in punitive damages specifically against AJD Business Services.
The massive punitive damages award was intended to punish the company’s gross negligence in hiring and employing an unfit and dangerous driver. In addition to the lack of a legal license, the driver had been on the road for 25 hours, driving a route from New York to Miami. The jury agreed with Dzion’s family that the company had done virtually nothing to ensure the safety of its drivers on the road.
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