Jury awards $3.5 million to man permanently injured in I-20 trucking accident

Published: Sep. 14, 2018 at 2:14 PM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A federal court jury in Jackson awarded Derrick Franklin a $3.5 million verdict for severe and permanent injuries that he sustained in a 2016 trucking accident involving three tractor-trailers and two collisions on Interstate 20 near Lake, MS.

Represented by Morgan & Morgan, Franklin sought damages for his injuries, which included a broken hip and broken arm, which confined him to a wheelchair and led to $300,000 in medical bills. He was permanently injured in the accident.

“This was a case where the defendant violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which are meant to reduce accidents involving large trucks and buses, resulting in catastrophic injuries for our client,” said Rocky Wilkins, Franklin’s attorney with Morgan & Morgan. “The jury deliberated for almost four hours and yesterday provided justice for Mr. Franklin, whose injuries rendered him unable to walk without assistance for the rest of his life.”

Franklin was driving an 18-wheeler east on Interstate 20 on August 11, 2016, when out of the darkness, he collided with another semi driver, Zewdie Dugda of Skymile Logistics.

There was evidence that Dugda was driving without his lights on at around 30 miles per hour, violating the minimum speed limit of 40 miles per hour.

After the first impact, both vehicles pulled toward the safety of the shoulder, but Dugda stopped before reaching it, blocking Franklin from getting off the road. Seconds later, a third 18-wheeler crashed into Franklin seconds later.

In a 7-0 unanimous decision, the jury found Dugda 100 percent liable for Franklin’s injuries.

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