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Verdict News: Jury verdict leads to settlement for driver hit by fire truck

A verdict in Clayton County leads to significant settlement for the driver of hazardous material tanker truck hit by a fire truck.

Attorney Thomas J. Ashenden of Ashenden & Hollingsworth, P.C. with co-counsel Gary Cooper recently completed a jury trial in Clayton County, Georgia for client Ron B., a tanker truck driver.

The Wreck

As Mr. B. was driving down a busy highway in Clayton County when a fire truck approached his tanker truck from behind. The county fire engine had emergency lights and sirens activated according to reports, but Mr. B. did not hear or see anything as he proceeded through a left-hand turn. The fire engine proceeded through the intersection in an oncoming lane and collided with Mr. B.’s hazardous materials tanker truck.

The crash resulted in horrific and life-threatening injuries.

The Trial

At trial, county lawyers argued Mr. B. should have heard the emergency sirens had he not been wearing a Bluetooth headset. However, under Georgia law and Clayton County’s ordinances to exercise “due care,” we argued first responders have an obligation to make sure it’s safe before proceeding through an intersection.

Before trial, the judge ordered the case to be bifurcated, meaning the jury could only hear evidence as to the parties negligence and not damages in the first phase. The jury’s instructions were  to assign percentages of fault to Clayton County and our client.

The Verdict

“We are delighted that the jury found the county 100 percent negligent and our client, Mr. B., zero percent negligent,” Ashenden said.

The case went to mediation and settled for a confidential amount.