$5,470,000 Jury Verdict – Construction Site Dump Truck Accident
Mack Pitts was killed in a truck accident on a construction project in Atlanta, Georgia. The tragic accident was entirely preventable. Shiver Hamilton’s mission is help the families of people like Mack, who have suffered due to the negligence of others.
Mack worked as a spotter on the construction of the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The project, completed in 2006, added a fifth, longer runway primarily for international flights, and cost $1.28 million. It was a massive undertaking involving multiple stakeholders, including construction general contractors, many dump truck vendors, and the city of Atlanta. The new runway extends over I-285 on the southern side of Atlanta. Hundreds of planes use it to take off and land daily.
Mack played a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the project. He worked for a general contractor excavating and grading the ground for the fifth runway. His job involved holding flags and directing the dump trucks bringing in dirt for the new runway. The dump truck vendors were paid by the load. There was often a line of trucks waiting to off-load their dirt. It created a tense situation, with drivers in a hurry to offload and complete as many deliveries as possible.
Trucks on large construction sites are not allowed to back up without a spotter’s signal.
On the day in question, one driver with A&G Trucking didn’t want to wait. She ignored this critically important safety regulation, cut in line and ran over and killed Mack even as he was turning and waving to get her attention.
The skilled attorneys of Shiver Hamilton strive to put grieving Atlanta, Georgia families, like the Pitts, on an equal footing with insurance companies and corporate defendants in truck accident cases. Shiver Hamilton has won some of the highest settlements and verdicts for wrongful death cases in the state of Georgia. Insurance companies representing firms that have had serious workplace accidents or deaths have an adversarial relationship to victim’s families. They immediately and aggressively begin gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and seek to build a defense to protect themselves from liability. Shiver Hamilton recognizes that families of people who have died in workplace accidents need a strong advocate through the legal process to protect their rights at precisely the time they are most incapacitated by grief.
Shiver Hamilton brings compassion and zeal to every case. They dedicate whatever resources are necessary to make sure clients are treated fairly and that justice is done. They don’t take quick settlements that leave clients’ families unable to recover from the financial and emotional loss of a loved one’s wrongful death. They know there is more at stake than just a legal judgement, that clients often need counsel across a range of problems and issues that go beyond the particulars of their case. They value the people they represent as deserving of justice and respect.
The lawyers of Shiver Hamilton also prepare all their cases to go to trial, alerting insurance companies and corporate defendants that they won’t settle for anything less than full justice for their clients. Preparing the case for trial is the only way to consistently achieve the best outcomes for clients. Opposing counsel must know that Shiver Hamilton’s clients are represented by skilled and experienced trial lawyers with all the necessary legal resources to win jury judgements.
Shiver Hamilton represented the estate of Mack Pitts, including several minor children, in a wrongful death civil suit against A&G Trucking. Even though contractors involved in the project were required to carry $10 million of insurance coverage, A&G Trucking carried only $1 million.
The defense argued that Mack had been negligent as well as their driver, which would have greatly reduced the amount of any verdict. Shiver Hamilton’s investigative team, though, was able to clearly demonstrate that this was false. Witnesses at trial testified that multiple drivers in the line honked at A & G’s truck driver, that Mack was wearing the proper safety attire, and was clearly visible. Mack was just doing his job. Sadly, testimony at trial also indicated that she was distracted immediately prior to running over Mack because she was giving an obscene gesture to another truck driver.
The trucking company offered a settlement, but the attorneys of Shiver Hamilton were confident they could achieve a significantly better result for Mack’s estate at trial. Despite the prospect of a significant financial settlement, Mack’s family agreed to stay the course and let Shiver Hamilton litigate the case. It went to court. Shiver Hamilton sought recovery from the city of Atlanta as well as the joint venture of contracting companies that had run the project because they had negligently allowed A&G Trucking to work without adequate insurance.
The jury returned a wrongful death verdict of $5.47 million for Mack’s estate and children. The money was structured to provide educational funds and assure financial stability into adulthood for all of the children. This verdict sends a powerful message to insurance companies and construction firms to do right by their employees, not to cut corners, and to provide safe working environments. Shiver Hamilton is honored that the family had enough confidence in their firm to turn down settlements and see the case all the way to trial.