The Messina Law Firm
Unsafe Load = Big Recovery
Unsafe load: Do The Right Thing.
It is worth remembering that sometimes things do work out for the best if you do the right thing. This point was driven home by a recent case involving a Texas truck driver and an unsafe load.
The truck driver was fired because he refused to take to the highways driving a load of steel that was not properly secured and that was therefore dangerous. The company’s president told him he could either drive the company’s truck or drive his own truck home. The trucker refused to take the unsafe load and was fired the same day.
The Trucker Sued
The trucker sued, claiming that he was fired solely for refusing to perform an illegal act. At trial, the jury agreed. Contributing to its verdict were a number of facts, includ ing the following:
- This was not the first time the driver had complained about having to drive a dangerous load.
- The company admitted that it knew next to nothing about the federal regulations governing trucks and their loads.
- The driver had previously received a ticket for transporting an unsafe and illegal load, about which he had complained.
- When another driver took the same unsafe load the trucker had refused to take, part of the load came loose and slammed into the driver’s cab.
The Trucking Company Tried To Discredit
The trucking company tried to discredit the trucker’s stance and to portray him as being in it for the money, but the jury credited his testimony that he had been trying to do the right thing and be a good role model for his kids. The jury awarded the trucker $267,000, even though he had suffered only $7,500 in lost wages. Those of us who drive on Texas highways can only hope that the trucking company got the message.