Federal Court Allows Punitive Damages in Virginia Tractor-Trailer Case

The Virginia Lawyers Weekly recently reported that a federal court in Virginia held that a widow whose husband died in a collision with a tractor-trailer may sue the truck driver for punitive damages, which are damages exceeding normal compensation that are meant to punish the defendant. The Court in this case found that while the Virginia Supreme Court normally frowns on awarding punitive damages in most motor vehicle cases, they would be allowed here because the defendant truck driver fell asleep at the wheel of his truck, despite a prior citation for violating a federal rule against driving more than 14 consecutive hours. The Court reasoned that a jury could find that the commercial driver engaged in conduct that he had been specifically warned about, and by doing so, he acted willfully, wantonly and in reckless disregard for the safety of the public.

The attorneys at the law firm of Pierce & Thornton understand that tragic accidents are an unfortunate part of life. If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious truck, auto or motorcycle accident we can help. Pierce & Thornton has experience and expertise in representing families of those seriously injured or killed by the negligence of other drivers. The lawyers at Pierce & Thornton have obtained some of the largest jury verdicts and mediation settlements in Virginia over the past several years. We can put together a team of qualified investigators and gather the information and data necessary to reconstruct the accident and determine who was at fault. We will consult with all of your health care providers so that we have a complete understanding of the nature and extent of your injuries and how the accident has impacted your life. Call today for an immediate free consultation with one of our truck, auto or motorcycle accident attorneys. The attorneys at Pierce & Thornton handle cases throughout Virginia and North Carolina, including in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Suffolk, and the Eastern Shore. They also associate with other attorneys on significant injury cases throughout the United States.