Jury awards Lowndes County family compensation for log truck crash

Updated: Jan. 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM CST
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LOWNDES CO., AL (WSFA) - A Lowndes County family has received $16.8 million after their family member, a log truck driver, died in a crash due to a defective cab guard.

According to the Beasley Allen Law Firm, Larry Albritton, who was killed Oct.7, 2013, lost control of the log truck he was driving and crashed. When the load of logs on the truck shifted in the crash, they breached the truck's cab and struck Mr. Albritton, who died instantly.

A Lowndes County Circuit Court jury determined that the cab guard on the truck was defective in design, manufacture, and warnings. Cab guards are meant to prevent shifting cargo from contacting the cab of heavy trucks. In this case, the cab guard failed, according to the law firm.

Additionally, the trailer support beams failed to contain the truck's load in place, allowing it to shift forward, and the trailer had no cab guard attached to it.

The jury found that Merritt Equipment Co. acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others. They believe the cab guards did not protect the victim like it was supposed to.

Beasley Allen lawyers Jere Beasley, LaBarron Boone and Ben Baker, as well as Tyrone Means of Means Gillis Law, represented the plaintiffs, Jacqueline Wright, Mr. Albritton's sister, and Knichi and Jerry Hatcher, Mr. Albritton's daughter and son.

"One thing they should be able to count on is that the vehicle they're driving is designed so that they have a reasonable expectation of being safe in the event of a crash," Boone said. "In this instance, the manufacturers failed Mr. Albritton, and it cost him his life. It is our hope that this verdict will send a message to these and other companies that ensuring their drivers' and the public's safety is more important than their bottom line."

Defendants included Merritt Equipment Co., Pitts Enterprises and Volvo Trucks North America.

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