Jury Awards $27 Million To Mother Of Woman Killed In Semi Accident
Columbus, Georgia – The mother of a young woman killed in a 2017 accident with a tractor-trailer has been awarded $27 million by a Columbus jury.
Cindy Tran Huynh, 22, of Buena Vista was killed in a collision with a 2012 Freightliner Cascadia driven by 61-year-old George Hooks on January 26, 2017 at approximately 1:15 p.m.
The semi collided with the 2009 Yamaha FZ6R motorcycle driven by Huynh in an intersection as Hooks was on his way to his employer’s terminal at 6175 Technology Parkway in Columbus.
Hooks and Huynh each had a green light when they reached the intersection, but Huynh had the right of way. As she was headed straight and Hooks was turning left in front of her on the five-lane road, Huynh struck the rear of the trailer.
Police determined Hooks should have yielded.
Huynh was transported to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to injuries described as “blunt force trauma” to her torso and extremities the next day.
Huynh’s mother, Hiuy Huynh, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hooks’ employer, MDV SpartanNash, and its liability insurer, XL Insurance America Inc. asking for a judgement of $25 million.
The lawsuit alleged Hooks’ negligence included driving too fast for conditions, distracted driving, failing to yield while turning left, failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to exercise due care and failing to stop on time.
Initially, the defense argued a pickup truck blocked Hooks’ view of the oncoming motorcycle, and he could not have yielded to a vehicle he could not see.
However, Hooks eventually claimed responsibility for the accident. “Cindy Tran Huynh was an innocent victim, as admitted by defendant Hooks during his deposition…. Hooks has admitted the crash was 100 percent his fault,” the suit argued.
The defense then argued a “split-second mistake” should not result in a judgment of $25 million. In fact, the defense claimed damages should not exceed $8 million.
The jury disagreed, and last Wednesday, awarded Hiuy Huynh, as the executor of her deceased daughter’s estate, $22 million for the value of Cindy Tran Huynh’s life and $5 million for her pain and suffering.
The jury reached its verdict in only 30 minutes of deliberation.
After the verdict was announced, the two sides entered into a “confidential agreement” in which the defense has agreed not to appeal. No further terms will be disclosed.