$6M Awarded To Trucker’s Estate After Crushed By Load Of Steel Beams
Winston-Salem, North Carolina – On May 3, 2019, a North Carolina jury awarded $6 million to the estate of a trucker who died as a result of injuries suffered while unloading steel in 2014.
Truck driver Robin Colvin suffered severe brain injuries and eventually passed away as a result of injuries he suffered while unchaining a flatbed load of steel plates and beams.
According to the facts of the case, Colvin picked up a load of steel at Lyndon Steel Co’s Winston-Salem plant and hauled it to a construction site in Greensboro.
The steel plates and beams had been loaded and secured by Lyndon’s employees.
Colvin’s lawyer, Matthew Cook, told Law.com that “everything looked fine” to Colvin so he drove it to his destination.
Upon arriving, Colvin began unchaining the load.
“He took off one chain and nothing happened,” Cook claimed. “Then he took the second chain loose, and one of the nylon straps holding the load together had been abraded and worn during the trip and broke.”
Two steel beams then fell from the trailer striking Colvin in the head.
Colvin suffered traumatic cranial injuries and a massive brain bleed that immediately required surgery.
Colvin battled for 6 months while undergoing therapy and, at times, showing some improvement, according to Cook.
However, Cook said Colvin “took a turn for the worse” and sadly passed on.
Colvin was single with no children, but was engaged to be married.
According to testimony in the case, evidence indicated there was either a problem with the tie-down chains or that the load was thrown out of balance during the trip from Winston-Salem to Greensboro.
Cook argued the load was Lyndon Steel’s responsibility and thus they bore the negligence.
Joseph Caruthers represented Lyndon Steel and argued Colvin also bore a part of the blame.
“We thought, under the Federal Motor Carriers Safety regulations, that he had the right to inspect and accept or reject the load,” Caruthers told Law.com. “And under those regulations he has the responsibility for it until he hands it off to the receiving company.”
The jury saw it differently. After only 4 hours of deliberations they returned a verdict clearing Colvin of any negligence and awarding his estate $6 million.
Cook said the total judgment will be about $7.7 million, since, according to North Carolina law, prejudgment interest starts accruing the day a lawsuit is filed.
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