A Kansas jury recently awarded $23.5 million to Terry and Donna Frederick in a lawsuit stemming from injuries in a semi-trailer accident in New Mexico. The actual award was reduced by the trial judge to nearly $15.3 million. The jury decided the driver of the other truck was only 65% at fault. That driver, Robyn Getchel, tested positive for methamphetamine while driving a truck for Swift Transportation. Getchel claimed she was rear-ended, but subsequent tests revealed that she was backing up from a rest stop onto the highway when she hit the truck Terry Frederick was riding in for Yellow Freight. The driver of the Yellow Freight truck, Dennis Bottorff, was killed.
The accident occurred just after 1:30 a.m. on March 16, 2006, on U.S. 54 near Tucumcari, New Mexico. This was about two hours west of Amarillo, Texas. Terry Frederick, 56, suffered a severe spinal cord injury and had about $5 million in medical bills. The rest of the verdict covered future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
While this verdict may have been a record in Kansas, it’s not the biggest verdict against Swift. Last December, an Arizona jury awarded $36.5 million to the family of a man killed in a collision with another one of the Swift trucks. A lawsuit on behalf of the Bottorff family has been filed in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, and should be tried next spring. Scott Nutter, a lawyer with the firm of Shamberg, Johnson and Bergman, located in Kansas City, Missouri, represents the Plaintiffs in both cases, and did an excellent job.
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