At 11:00 a.m. on a clear day under dry and level road conditions on I-20 in Georgia, a tractor-trailer driven by Billy Ray Outlaw going 60-65 miles per hour slammed into another tractor-trailer driven by Allen Pace, a former war veteran. The impact, the equivalent of more than 4 million lbs. of force, was so hard that it caused the container that was on Pace’s rig to tip over on its side, it broke the 5th wheel of said rig, and it knocked the rig almost 300 ft. down the roadway causing the entire rig and its contents to be completely destroyed, and causing permanent physical injuries to Allen Pace.
As a result of the collision, Pace suffered from a head injury causing him to lose his memory of the accident, and a later spinal fusion that would leave him in constant pain and unable to do what he used to do as an active, young and in shape, outdoors person. Pace’s medical bills would total over $ 40,000.00. Outlaw, who it would show lived up to his name, was, according to eyewitness testimony and blood tests following the accident, popping xanax and other opiates, and washing them down with whiskey for five (5) days straight prior to the accident. Outlaw also had heart disease and sleep apnea and experts at trial would testify that he most likely fell asleep at the wheel due to the side effect of drowsiness from the medications that he was taking and that he, “was a physical wreck before this collision.”
After attempts to settle the case went nowhere, Pace would ultimately file a lawsuit in federal court against Robbie D. Wood, the Alabama trucking company for whom Outlaw worked, and its insurance company from Pittsburgh, PA National Union Fire Insurance Co. The case was tried in front of the Honorable Mark Cohen with a highly educated eight (8) person jury that lasted more than one (1) week.
The jury would return a verdict in favor of Pace in the amount of $ 3.8 Million Dollars in compensatory damages. The actual verdict would, however, be reduced to $ 2.5 Million under an agreement that was reached prior to the jury verdict between the Plaintiff and Defendants that would place a cap on the actual award in exchange for the assurance that the Defendants would not appeal the case. This would prove beneficial to both parties since the Plaintiff’s complaint did ask for punitive damages as well, which would have exposed the Defendants to an amount that could far exceed the compensatory damages award, and it secured payment without delay due to Pace the Plaintiff. Hence, for both parties it took out the mystery and substituted it with a guarantee.
Outlaw, who would never acknowledge under oath his drug and alcohol use prior to the accident, passed away from causes unrelated to the collision six (6) days following his deposition by the Plaintiff.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates our Personal Injury Lawyers are experts in tractor-trailer accidents and collisions. If you or a loved one have been injured or tragically killed as a result of a tractor-trailer collision, then we are truly sorry. Since these cases vary greatly from other motor vehicle accidents in terms of the law and the evidence, we encourage you to seek legal counsel in a timely manner after a tractor-trailer accident.
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We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you in collecting all of the just compensation that you deserve under the circumstances of your particular legal situation.