A trucker who was awarded an $80 million judgement by a jury may be out of luck. According to a lawyer representing his former carrier, the company is “never going to be able to pay even a fraction” of the money.
Earlier this month, a trucker was awarded a total of $80 million by a Texas jury after suing his former carrier. Lauro Lozano was injured in an accident he caused when he fell asleep at the wheel in 2015. Since his boss had allegedly forced him to falsify his log books in order to get back on the road when he should have been sleeping, Lozano’s lawyers successfully argued that the company was responsible for the accident and Lozano’s injuries.
“This was a case where the plaintiff’s lawyer asked the jury to send out a message,” Hector Torres, a lawyer representing the carrier, told FreightWaves.
In sending that message, the jury awarded $5 million to Lozano for pain and suffering, and $75 million in punitive damages. While $80 million for pushing a driver to falsify his logs certainly sends a message, it’s not clear how the trucking company is supposed to pay the judgement.
In cases like this, trucking companies hardly ever pay out of their own pocket. Insurance will normally cover at least a portion of a judgement. But according to Torres, since the company has fewer than 20 trucks, even their insurance won’t come close to covering the “astronomical” total.
There are two likely options in this case. Either the two sides will come to a settlement that can be paid, or the company will declare bankruptcy. Neither scenario ends with anywhere close to $80 million in Lozano’s bank account.