Armored Vehicle Collides With Motorcyclist Resulting in Wrongful Death Suit
The family of Virgilio Martinez Garcia filed a wrongful death lawsuit against security firm GardaWorld Corp after one of their trucks was involved in a fatal accident with Martinez’s motorcycle. The family alleges that the driver attempted to make an illegal left-hand turn from the right-most lane. Martinez was in the lane directly left of the truck and when the vehicle attempted to change lanes, it slammed into Martinez’s motorcycle.
In response, GardaWorld claims that Martinez was speeding during the accident and this is what caused his death. But even if Martinez was speeding, there is no reason why a vehicle departing one lane should ever collide with another vehicle in the lane they are trying to enter. At best, this argument may reduce their liability, but some (if not most or all) of the blame will fall on the armored truck’s driver.
Plaintiff’s Dredge Up Safety Violations
Making matters worse for Garda is the fact that the plaintiffs have uncovered information that could be potentially damaging to their case and may result in an award of punitive damages. The plaintiffs say that Garda ignored several warnings from key executives concerning safety violations that could lead to accidents. These included unauthorized cellphone use while driving. Some of these incidents involved serious injury or fatality to other drivers on the road.
If the jury hears and believes this evidence, they may award punitive damages to the plaintiff. Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish a defendant for gross negligence. Gross negligence includes creating a situation where a terrible accident was inevitable. It also includes ignoring information concerning safety violations and failing to act on information that could have saved at least one life.
Surveillance video provided prosecutors with enough information to file vehicular homicide charges against the armored vehicle’s driver, but a grand jury failed to return an indictment against the driver, which is quite rare.
The plaintiffs also allege that the driver of the vehicle failed to render aid and instead contacted a supervisor. Attorneys for the defendant claim that the driver had no obligation to render aid. However, those charges were dropped and the court refused to allow testimony or evidence that the defendant failed to render aid.
Attorneys for the plaintiff began opening arguments by asking jurors to award Martinez’s family between $80 and $100 million. Whether or not they will get that sum or they will get a more down-to-earth figure depends on how the jury reacts to Garda’s defense.
Garda is essentially arguing that the motorcycle was speeding through the left lane and that their driver did not have time to react to the vehicle because of its speed. However, the driver has a duty to yield the right of way to the vehicle that is already in that lane. So it appears unlikely that Garda will absolve themselves of liability completely.
Talk to a Houston, TX Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve suffered a serious injury in a traffic accident, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver on your behalf and recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost time from work, and reduced quality of life. Schedule a free consultation today.