Jury Awards Commercial Trucking Accident Victim $281 Million

A South Texas jury in Dimmit County has awarded a record-breaking $281 million to the family of Carlos Aguilar, 31. On May 29, 2012, Aguilar was killed while riding in a work pickup truck, when he was hit by the drive shaft of a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer was driving in front of the pickup where Aguilar was a passenger and was working with the Eagle Ford Shale Company, owned by Heckmann Water Resources, an oil patch supplier in Pleasanton, Texas.

The lawsuit alleged that the drive shaft broke, because Heckmann did not give proper maintenance to the tractor-trailer. The jury found Heckmann negligent, but the driver, Ruben Osorio Hernandez, was not charged. Late Thursday, December 5, 2013, the jury ruled in favor of the negligence lawsuit brought by Aguilar’s family. The $281 million verdict awarded to Aguilar’s family includes $100 million in punitive damages.

The attorney for the Aguilar family was quoted as being proud to have obtained such a large verdict in Texas and for bringing justice to the Aguilar family. The attorney  is hopeful that the verdict will make the roads safer for all of South Texas.

Aguilar was a U.S. Army veteran who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was survived by his parents, wife, and seven children. Rodriguez said that Heckmann was insured, and it is not yet known if the company will appeal.

The Eagle Ford Shale Company has brought wealth and riches to both landowners and companies by operating the largest gas and oil explorations in the U.S.

According to authorities, the shale company has seen an increase in litigation in the last five years since they started the project. These lawsuits range from contention over property agreements to fatal traffic accidents. As trucks and work areas spread throughout South Texas, the accidents have increased. Fatal traffic accidents are up 40% due to the increased traffic of trucks and trailers working on the various job sites.