Family Receives Massive $13.5 Million Jury Award in D.C. Fire Truck Crash Lawsuit

Crashes involving commercial vehicles and large automobiles such as fire trucks or semi-trucks are inherently more dangerous than other types of collisions for a number of reasons.

Why Are Truck Accidents More Serious than Other Collisions?

Trucks, especially very heavy ones such as logging trucks or emergency vehicles result in more serious accidents when they are involved in crashes. Additionally, the conditions that many truck drivers operate under force them to drive extreme distances, resulting in fatigue. Further, large emergency response trucks, such as fire trucks, are often driving at extremely high speeds and operating under different driving rules than ordinary traffic, creating more opportunities for accidents. Finally, commercial trucks are also potentially carrying hazardous cargo, complicating truck crashes and accidents. While many people intuitively understand the greater risks involved in truck accidents, they may not know that according to the statistical analysis organization Policy Advice, truck accidents have increased by 52% since 2009, and 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle accidents include a large truck. A recent article discussed a large jury award following a serious D.C. fire truck crash.

According to the news article, a D.C. jury has awarded more than $13.5 million to the family of a man killed in a 2018 crash involving a speeding D.C. fire truck. The award, to be paid to the widow of DeAngelo Green and his six children, came after a jury found that the District was “grossly negligent” in the March 9, 2018 crash. Green, a maintenance man, was killed when the speeding fire engine, which was responding to an emergency with its lights and sirens activated, sped through a red light at an intersection at Rhode Island Avenue and 12th Street in Northeast D.C., plowing head-on into his car. Two other people, including a pregnant woman walking on the street, were hurt.

The jury’s decision follows two separate trials. The first, in June 2023, was to determine who was liable for the crash. Originally, a D.C. police report about the crash, released in 2019, primarily faulted DeAngelo Green for failing to yield the right of way to the fire truck and said a toxicology report found he had PCP in his system. D.C. Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams excluded the toxicology report from being considered by jurors because while it reported PCP in DeAngelo Green’s system, it only indicated he had ingested the drug at some point before, not necessarily the day of the crash. “PCP did not contribute to the Accident,” the judge said in one ruling, finding that there was “no evidence that Mr. Green acted recklessly” before the crash.

At the June trial, evidence showed the driver of the truck violated D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services policies, which allow drivers of fire trucks on emergency runs to run red lights, but only if they slow down or stop before going through them. The driver of the fire truck was also speeding, traveling nearly 55 mph in a 30 mph. In the end, the jury awarded no money to the family due to lost earnings on the part of DeAngelo Green, but more than $13.5 million under a wrongful death claim.

Have You Been Hurt in a Washington D.C. Automobile Accident?

If you or someone you love has been hurt or killed in a Washington D.C. car or truck accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen to consult with an experienced attorney. The attorneys at our firm are ready to use their knowledge and compassion to help handle complex cases involving car accidents. Expenses and injuries sustained in an accident can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced roster of accident attorneys by your side can make a world of difference in the compensation you receive. Our dedicated team of lawyers helps clients better understand their rights and recover damages for their injuries and losses. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at 1-800-654-1949.

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