There is a wide variance in the amount of money awarded to an injured plaintiff by a Texas legal system. Though many of the largest verdicts are against trucking companies, there are so many cases working their way through the system that multi-million damage awards occur in a number of different types of cases. We assembled a list of three of the largest verdicts awarded in the year 2019. Although these cases are in no way typical, they are instructive as to what Texas juries and judges find sympathetic, what they find reprehensible, and what they find the most worthy of compensation.
The first case was an 80 million dollar award dispersed by a jury in Hidalgo County to a truck driver who was injured while at work. The man was forced to work a shift by his employer after directly informing his employer that he had not rested for the minimum amount of time and could not safely or legally drive. Then the man was made to understand that his job was at risk, so he took the driving shift over his objections. While driving, he fell asleep at the wheel and was injured in an accident. The jury took 7 days to find his employer negligent in this injury.
The second case is 33 million dollars awarded to the family of a man killed in Dimmit County. The case was rather straightforward. The man was driving through Carrizo Springs when a cement truck suffered a sudden tire failure and veered into his car, killing him. The jury found the Goodyear Corporation, manufacturers of the tire that failed, to be 90% at fault for the accident. The company that owned the cement truck was judged to be only 10% at fault.
The third award was for 32 million dollars, and it came from a case of sexual assault against a fourteen-year-old in Denton County. The two boys that committed the assault were sued for a variety of crimes, and the jury agreed. The liability for the incident was split evenly between the two young men. Unlike the other cases, which were against large companies with contingency funds, insurance policies, and other methods of paying multimillion-dollar verdicts, it is unclear if the plaintiff will ever be able to retrieve even a substantial proportion of their payment.