The Vasquez/Perales family of El Paso, Texas, was awarded over $22 million by a Dallas County jury for two deaths and multiple injuries that were the result of collisions involving a passenger vehicle and tractor-trailers that occurred on I-40 in the early hours of Nov. 23, 2013.
Tim Dollar and JJ Burns of Dollar, Burns & Becker, LC tried the case on behalf of the Vasquez/Perales family with the assistance of their local counsel, Mike Bassett.
The Vasquez/Perales family retained Dollar, Burns & Becker—Kansas City attorneys specializing in bad faith and truck crashes—to bring suit against several parties involved in the fatal collisions, including the driver of one of the tractor-trailers, Sarah Gregory; and the trucking company that put her out on the road, New Prime, Inc.
After receiving some training at New Prime’s, Inc.’s driver training school, Sarah Gregory was driving in hazardous weather conditions without a certified instructor on her first over-the-road trip when she saw brake lights approximately one-half-mile ahead. Gregory applied her brakes on ice, lost control of the vehicle and came to rest blocking the two eastbound lanes of I-40. She and her co-worker, another entry-level driver, left the vehicle without activating emergency flashers, road flares or reflective triangles. The trailer in the roadway caused several vehicles to crash, perform last-second emergency maneuvers, and block all available escape routes for other approaching motorists. The Vasquez/Perales family, with six people in their Chevy van, was forced to collide with the New Prime trailer. Shortly thereafter, another approaching tractor-trailer crashed into the back of the Chevy van. The crash resulted in the deaths of Belinda Vasquez and Hector Perales, and caused significant injuries to several other family members.
The case went to trial in the County Court of Law No. 5 in Dallas County and lasted four weeks. In addition to the damages awarded to the Vasquez/Perales family, the jury also awarded approximately $17 million to the family of Bhupinder Deol, a truck driver who was killed in the collisions after he had pulled over on the shoulder.