On December 18, 2019, after the conclusion of a 12-day jury trial, a jury in the Superior Court of California in Kern County awarded a mother and her two children $70.5 million in damages, the highest ever verdict awarded in Kern County. The suit stemmed from an accident in Bakersfield, California where a truck operated by Amarjik Aulahk, a driver for Rai Transport, Inc., t-boned an SUV driven by Tomasa Cuevas, with her son Alex in the passenger seat in the front, and her daughter Maritza in the back seat. The suit alleged that Amarjit Aulakh negligently ran a red light, had a suspended license, and had been involved in 12 prior accidents. Tomasa suffered skull and facial fractures and a brain injury. Alex suffered skull and facial fractures and a brain injury, leading doctors to opine that he may never run again, as he was a cross-country athlete at his high school. Maritza witnessed the crash and injuries, and the jury awarded her damages as well.
This is yet another example of the proliferation of massive verdicts for accidents involving tractor/trailers. It is now more important than ever to make sure that there is a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding accidents, and that there has been thorough research into jury verdicts and settlements to make a proper decision as to the strategy in such cases.