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Swift To Pay Owner-Operator $2.6 Million For Faulty Maintenance


A jury in Houston has awarded an owner-operator $2.6 million after a poorly maintained Swift Transportation trailer ran over his foot.

Driver Says Swift Knew About Faulty Tandems

Truck driver Herbert Willoughby owned his truck but was contracted to haul a Swift trailer when he was hurt. Willoughby was injured during the June 2012 incident when he was mentoring new Swift driver Jason Cribbs. According to court documents:

“Willoughby and Cribbs arrived at the Home Depot distribution center in Houston, Texas to deliver a trailer of goods. A security guard working at the Home Depot facility stopped the truck and told Willoughby that he could not enter the facility unless the trailer’s tandems were adjusted. Willoughby informed the security guard that the tandems were broken and he did not know if he could move them. The guard said he did not care; the truck and trailer could not enter the facility unless the tandems were adjusted.”

Willoughby got out of the truck to adjust the tandems while Cribbs got into the driver’s seat. Cribbs then waited for a signal from Willoughby, made sure that no one was in front of the truck, and pulled forward.

As he did, the 50,000-pound trailer rolled over the top of Willoughby’s foot, causing him severe injury.

Jury Finds Swift at Fault for Driver’s Actions

Despite Swift’s denial of liability, the court found that Cribbs did not “take proper evasive action” and did not “maintain a proper lookout.” Willoughby also told the court that Swift knew that the trailer was not properly maintained — and the jury agreed. They awarded him $2.6 million for physical and mental pain, lost wages, and medical expenses.

The lawsuit originally included Cribbs, but the court found that Swift was liable for his actions.

Commercial Carrier Journal
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