A Travis County jury awarded a Del Valle man nearly $7.4 million on Jan. 23. Ronnie Claxton suffered significant injuries that were the direct result of a poorly maintained 18-wheeler driven on an unapproved route that struck a bridge and sent debris flying through his windshield. The jury found Even Better Logistics, LLC liable for the 2017 crash that directly resulted in the extensive injuries that left Claxton unable to return to work.
In April 2017, Dennis Rayner was carrying out work duties from his employer Even Better Logistics. Rayner’s tractor-trailer was carrying an over-sized and over-height load that was strapped to a flatbed trailer. In addition, Rayner was in direct violation of Texas law by failing to operate the vehicle on a TxDOT approved route. As a result, the oversized and over-height loaded vehicle crashed into the side of a bridge at a high rate of speed.
The force of the crash caused steel turnbuckles and chains securing the trailer’s load to rip apart at a high rate of speed. A chain and a steel turnbuckle crashed through Claxton’s windshield.
“Rayner could’ve pulled over, turned around or called for a police escort to get back on route,” Carlson Law Firm attorney Todd Kelly said. “Instead, he continued on an unsafe route where he hit a bridge. Upon impact, a tie-down ratchet, weighing 25lbs, was thrown into the windshield of our client Ronnie Claxton’s truck.”
Further, the company failed to meet several safety standards that could’ve prevented Claxton’s injuries. For example, the company had no written safety policies and failed to maintain their vehicles. In addition, Even Better Logistics failed to road test Rayner.
“Ronnie was driving home after a hard day’s work,” attorney Todd Kelly said. “That morning, he dressed himself and drove to work. Since the crash, he has not been able to do anything he did before this egregious act of negligence. He can’t work, can’t drive or even get dressed on his own. Our client has undergone surgery and endured months of in-patient rehab as a direct result of Even Better Logistic’s negligence.”
Kelly and co-counsel Carlson Law Firm attorney Jaime Lynn offered to settle with the company on behalf of their client within the company’s $1 million insurance policy limits. However, the trucking company never offered more than $150,000 to the man who suffered significant injuries to his neck and spine.
“Today, a Travis County Texas jury heard Ronnie and rendered their version of Texas justice: $7,396,314, plus 2.5 years of pre-judgment interest at 5% on economic losses of $1,261,314,” Kelly said.
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Kazia Conway