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Dallas Jury Awards $105M Verdict, Punitive Damages in Fatal Amazon Truck Accident Lawsuit

Dallas Jury Awards $105M in Fatal Amazon Truck Accident Lawsuit

Jury Finds Trucker & Employers Negligent, Letting Amazon Off the Hook. Here’s Why.

A 2018 Amazon truck accident that killed a father of three was caused by avoidable negligence that should never happen again. That’s one message a Dallas jury recently made clear when it awarded a widow and her children $105 million in damages at the culmination of a fatal 18-wheeler accident lawsuit (Lopez, et al, vs. All Points 360, LLC, et al, Case No. CC-18-07197-A).

It’s not the only message the jurors sent, however — and that multi-million award may not be the end of the case just yet. Discover why and get up to speed with this case by checking out:

While the following walks you through a headline-grabbing case that could be important for similar Amazon 18-wheeler accident lawsuits in the future, you can get more info about these wrecks and your potential rights in them here or by speaking to an Amazon truck accident attorney.

Facts of this Fatal Amazon Truck Accident Lawsuit

According to court documents, the deadly crash at the center of this case occurred on October 24, 2018, in Johnson County, Texas, on U.S. Highway 67. The victims were driving a passenger vehicle while one of the defendants drove an 18-wheeler.

Aside from those facts, the litigants did not agree on very many other facts of the case. Here’s why, with a closer look at the plaintiff’s allegations and the defense arguments at the center of all the court filings and proceedings for this case.

The Plaintiffs’ Allegations

Originally filed in December 2018, the complaint details that the fatal truck wreck was a rear-end collision that occurred when the victims’ passenger vehicle was reportedly hit from behind by the trucker.  

Amazon Truck Accident Lawsuit Dallas $105M Jury AwardAt the time of the collision, the plaintiffs allege that the trucker was traveling at a faster speed (than the vehicle) and that:

  • The impact was incredibly severe: The force of the Amazon DSP truck accident allegedly rotated the victims’ vehicle by about 90°, after which it rolled onto the driver’s side. That ended up entrapping the driver, suspending him in a dangling position until emergency responders could extract him. This victim died at the scene. The other victim, the wife of the deceased, suffered serious injuries.
  • The trucker was employed by an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP): Both the truck driver and All Points 360 LLC were contractors working for Amazon entities, including Amazon Transportation Services, Inc., and Amazon Logistics, Inc. Consequently, the plaintiffs alleged that Amazon shared liability for the actions of the unqualified trucker and DSP.
  • The trucker did not have a CDL: Not only was the trucker not holding a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) at the time of the wreck, but he had never earned or held a CDL at any point. The DSP should have been aware of that, and the trucker involved should never have been behind the wheel, the plaintiffs alleged.
  • The DSP truck had problems too: The 18-wheeler that rear-ended the victims had an expired registration, and the DSP had not been doing the required inspections on these trucks, the complaint detailed.

The plaintiffs included a husband, who suffered deadly injuries in the wreck; his wife, who survived the crash; and their minor children, who were not in the vehicle when the accident occurred but who were named as plaintiffs in the case (other plaintiffs named in the original complaint settled before trial for undisclosed amounts).

Notably, the plaintiffs filed multiple amended petitions after their initial complaint, updating the defendants  beyond the truck driver and DSP to, ultimately, include:

  • Amazon Logistics, LLC
  • Amazon Fulfillment Services, LLC
  • Amazon Transportation Services, LLC

Alleging “individual and collective negligence, negligence per se, and gross negligence proximate,” the plaintiffs accused the defendants of:

  • Failing to exercise the “ordinary prudence” required: The trucker didn’t step on the brakes or operate the big rig at a “safe speed,” the plaintiffs argued. They also accused the trucker of failing to be attentive and not taking enough avoidance measures to prevent the crash (or prevent it from being deadly).
  • Failing to abide by the required laws: State and federal laws were violated, and that included authorizing a non-CDL-holding driver to operate the 18-wheeler, the plaintiffs argued. The trucker also failed to comply with standard traffic laws. The combination of these factors contributed to the wrongful death and truck wreck, the complaint explained.
  • Causing the accident, injuries, and death: The defendants’ reckless actions and failures to act responsibly were directly responsible for the plaintiffs’ injuries and losses, including the death of one victim.

The Defense Arguments

Answering the complaints, the defendants responded by denying all liability and attempting to blame the victims. Specifically, the defense alleged that:

  • The victims were partially or wholly at fault for the Amazon truck accident.
  • The victims failed to take sufficient steps to “mitigate damages,” meaning minimize their losses.
  • The victims’ injuries were associated with conditions that pre-existed the wreck in question.
  • The victims sought “excessive and unnecessary” medical treatments, and their medical expenses should be limited.
  • The driver who suffered deadly injuries in the wreck experienced “a sudden emergency” that had nothing to do with the defendants.

For these and other reasons, the defendants argued, they were not responsible or liable for the 18-wheeler accident, the wrongful death, or any damages the plaintiffs were seeking.

The Trial & Jury Award

Originally set to begin on February 14, 2022, at 9:30 a.m., the trial for this case was rescheduled multiple times, following several motions and hearings. Eventually, the trial got underway on November 6, 2023, in the Dallas County Court.

$105 Million Truck Accident Award DallasOver more than a month-long trial, both the plaintiffs and the defendants presented distinct exhibits, witnesses, and arguments, with some evidence including:

  • Amazon truck accident scene photos and video footage
  • Amazon and DSP hiring and training materials
  • Corporate emails and operations reports
  • And more.

The trial culminated in December 2023, with the jury returning their verdict on December 18, 2023, in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants (all of them except for the Amazon entities).

In particular, the jury awarded the plaintiffs a total of $105 million in damages, including:

  • $42,064,710 in compensatory damages: The surviving victims and the decedent’s estate were awarded millions to cover medical expenses, mental anguish, lost earnings, funeral and burial expenses, and more.
  • $63,000,500 in exemplary (punitive) damages: The jury found that the defendants had acted with “gross negligence” through “clear and convincing evidence.” This, along with Texas statutes on exemplary damages, informed the jury’s award, which was divided among the plaintiffs in this case.

The jury also awarded the plaintiffs’ court costs and interest on their award, with the interest accruing as of Dec. 5, 2018.

What’s Next?

Since the $105 million verdict was awarded in this truck accident lawsuit, some defendants have petitioned the courts to request a new trial. Regardless of what happens with that motion, the recent verdict handed down by the Dallas jury in this case suggests that:

  • The bar for awards associated with this type of negligence may have been raised.
  • Amazon and other defendants could be seeing more rulings like this one, especially if fatal Amazon truck accidents continue to make headlines and capture public attention.

Beyond that, there’s no telling whether this verdict could prevent future Amazon truck wrecks. Still, pursuing justice in cases like this one can help victims seek justice and hold negligent parties accountable in ways that can impact their bottom line and may make them think twice in the future.