Houston, TX Attorney Gene S. Hagood Announces $1.3 Million Verdict in Personal Injury Case against Trucking Company

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The announcement comes two years after Gene S. Hagood of Hagood & Neumann helped obtain a $281 million verdict in a wrongful death trucking accident case, one of the largest verdicts in Texas.

These awards not only help injured victims and their families put their lives back together, but they send a strong message to trucking companies that they will be held accountable if they try to cut corners.

Houston truck accident attorney Gene S. Hagood of Hagood & Neumann today announced he was part of a team that obtained a more than $1.3 million jury verdict* on behalf of a young man seriously injured in a truck accident in Laredo, TX.

It’s not the first time attorney Hagood secured a large verdict. Two years ago, a jury awarded a $281 million verdict** to the family of a U.S. veteran who was killed in a truck accident in Dimmit County, TX. Hagood and two other lawyers handled the wrongful death case which resulted in one of the largest verdicts in the State of Texas, according to Eagle Pass Business Journal (“Eagle Ford Shale company slapped with $281 Million Jury Verdict in Dimmit County for wrongful death case,” Dec. 9, 2013).

“I’m proud of the work we do on behalf of the injured and families who lost loved ones,” Hagood said. “We routinely obtain large settlements and verdicts. These awards not only help injured victims and their families put their lives back together, but they send a strong message to trucking companies that they will be held accountable if they try to cut corners. Far too often, trucking companies allow unqualified drivers on the roads not only in South Texas but throughout the United States. The consequences of the trucking company’s negligence can be devastating.”

In the recent case that resulted in the $1.3 million verdict, documents state that Hagood, his associate Allison Miller and referring attorney John R. Solis of the Law Office of John R. Solis represented Jaime Guzman and Derrick Lambert in their lawsuit for personal injuries against Celadon Trucking Services, Inc., and its driver, Melvin Jones Jr.

Guzman, a man in his mid-20s at the time of the crash who had a wife and two young children, was working temporarily as a van driver for a local hotel, according to court documents. He also helped with chores at the hotel to earn money to support his family, documents state. The lawsuit states his goal was to finish school to become an auto-body repair technician and painter.

Documents state the accident occurred on June 13, 2009, in Laredo. Guzman’s injuries included herniated disks in his lower back. The documents state he was treated with medication, physical therapy, rest, time off work and injections, among other treatment, but none of these “conservative” measures worked.

Documents state that as a last resort he underwent back surgery, but could not return to work full time because of his pain and back problems. Guzman’s passenger, Lambert, was in the back seat and sustained less severe injuries that resulted in him being out of work for about a month, documents state.

The jury awarded Guzman $1,314,000 and $20,500 to Lambert.

The documents state that Hagood’s investigation revealed the truck driver allegedly had serious medical problems, which the lawsuit alleges was a contributing cause of the accident.

The court documents allege that Jones gave diametrically opposed conflicting accounts about how the collision occurred. According to court documents, the plaintiff’s attorneys discovered that Caledon allegedly had an improper evidence preservation policy that lead to the destruction of Electronic Control Module (ECM)-related computer data that would have recorded the driver’s speed and braking immediately before the crash.

Hagood said his investigation, which shed light on the allegations against the trucking company and the driver, required a great deal of time, effort and expense. According to court documents, Celadon and Jones admitted they were solely negligent in causing the collision.

“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are safety rules designed to prevent unsafe and unqualified drivers from operating 80,000 pound commercial motor vehicles on our roads,” Hagood said. “Safety is the highest priority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The primary purpose of its regulations is to promote the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles to enhance safety thereby reducing highway fatalities, injuries and property damage. Once trucking companies learn that it is more expensive and therefore less profitable to violate these regulations, they will hire safe drivers and demand compliance with the safety regulations. Until then, the health and safety of our highways are in danger.”

*Jaime Guzman and Derrick Lambert v. Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. and Melvin Jones, Jr., case no. 5:2010cv00121, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Laredo Division

**Jose Luis Aguilar, et al v. Heckmann Water Resources (CVR), Inc., et al., case no. 12-06-11697-DCVCLM, in the District Court of Dimmitt County, Texas, 293rd Judicial District

About Hagood & Neumann
Attorney Gene Hagood, who founded Hagood & Neumann over 15 years ago, focuses almost exclusively on personal injury litigation. In addition to handling cases involving truck accidents, Hagood & Neumann represents people injured in oil and gas rig accidents, workplace accidents, construction accidents, defective product accidents, and other types of personal injuries. Attorney Hagood has been selected as a Texas “Super Lawyer” each year since 2003, is on the American Board of Trial Advocates and is on the National Advisory Board of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA), an organization dedicated to promoting trucking safety nationwide.

For more information about what to do if you or a loved one is injured or killed in a truck accident, call (713) 888-0390 or visit http://www.h-nlaw.com for a free case evaluation.

Hagood & Neumann has offices located at 1001 West Loop South Freeway #745, Houston, TX 77027 and 1520 Texas 6, Alvin, Texas 77511.

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