Posted on Jan 08, 2014
On January 6, 2014, Scott Cooper, one of Schmidt Kramer’s Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers, secured a victory for his client who lost her husband in a deadly crash in Central Pennsylvania back in 2009.
A federal judge ordered a truck driver and his employer to pay $2.2 million to the family of one of two truckers who died in a November 2009 crash involving tractor-trailers on Interstate 78 in Lebanon County.
U.S. Middle District Senior Judge William W. Caldwell issued his ruling on behalf of Kamilah Claxton on Monday. In November, Caldwell had granted Claxton summary judgment in a lawsuit she filed over the death of her 36-year-old husband, Eric, of Memphis, Tenn.
The damage award is the second the judge has issued over the fatal accident against Michigan trucker Sukhwinder Singh and his employer, California-based PVR Transport. In May, Caldwell awarded $2.3 million in damages to the family of the other driver who was killed in the accident, 44-year-old Eric Burks, also of Memphis.
Investigators said the fatal crash occurred because Singh missed his turnoff around 3 a.m. on Nov. 13, 2009, at the I-78/Interstate 81 split in Union Township. Singh pulled off the highway, then reentered it without using his flashers. His rig was going 17 mph when the truck Claxton was driving and in which Burks was riding hit it from behind, police said
The fiery crash killed Claxton instantly. Burks, who was burned over 77 percent of his body, died a month later. Singh wasn’t injured.
In court filings, Kamilah Claxton’s lawyer, Scott B. Cooper, wrote that Singh, a native of India who didn’t speak English, received his commercial driver’s license after twice failing the written test and having to retake the driving test. Cooper added that the driving school where Singh studied had an F-rating from the Better Business Bureau, and Singh received no additional training after PVR hired him.
Singh and PVR admitted the crash occurred because of Singh’s negligence, Cooper noted.
Caldwell’s award in the Claxton case was for $2 million for lost wages, $100,000 for pain and suffering and $100,000 in punitive damages.
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