Ikerd Law Firm

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$1.26M Trial Verdict / $1.45M Settlement Before Appeal (Donald R.)

Chad Ikerd successfully prosecuted and tried a commercial motor vehicle trucking case in Federal Court with Scott Webre in June 2023 and received a jury verdict of $1,260,000. The case involved contested liability by the trucking company, as well as the extent of our client’s damages, and the value of the compensation he was owed.

This publicly recorded case was against a national trucking company, CRST Expedited, Inc., and one of its new “student drivers” for a crash in Lake Charles, Louisiana. 

Prior to trial, we repeatedly held fast to our demand for almost the exact amount the jury ultimately awarded. The defense repeatedly tried to undervalue the case by as much as 1/3rd. Our client refused to be ignored and undervalued, and rejected the insultingly low offers.

Donald’s Story

Donald R. had a unique story to tell, and we were privileged to be the ones to tell it. Donald R. was one of the last people in America to be stricken with polio. When he was very young, he contracted the virus shortly before a vaccine was developed. The disease caused him to lose muscle in his legs, creating a significant limp he continues to have today.

Suffering from physical and emotional trauma like that can do one of two things: make someone retreat and cower, or make them strong. 

For Donald R., it made him strong. Despite his physical limitations, he beat the odds and became highly successful in a manual labor job. He was a union electrician for nearly 50 years, becoming a general foreman and superintendent. Although he used his mind more than his tools toward the latter part of his career, he was still required to walk miles daily on the job site.

That is why, when he was hit by a CRST truck, while waiting at a red light, the pain in his lower back made everyday walking and climbing ladders unbearable. After a nearly uninterrupted career from 1969 until 2018, Donald R. was told by his doctors that he could not work until his back pain was relieved. 

Donald R. spent over a year trying to do conservative treatment to get relief. After many months of remaining in pain and experiencing the frustration of not working, Donald R. was referred to a pain management doctor. 

Doctors recommended he try radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to numb the area of his back that was causing pain. To his surprise and delight, the RFA procedures provided temporary relief. After about 6 months, the effects of the RFA would wear off, but he was able to live painfree so long as he kept getting the procedure. Importantly, he was able to return to work after missing nearly 3.5 years. At 70 years old, he returned for one last large hospital project in Florida.

At trial, we retained an expert in commercial motor vehicle operations who explained to the jury why CRST Expedited, and not just its student driver, was at fault. 

Mainly, CRST Expedited had hired and sent the driver for expedited training only two weeks before they gave him the keys to an 80,000-pound truck. CRST Expedited claimed that it had a “world class” training operation that required the student driver to drive with a lead driver for the first 30 days. However, after only 4 days, the student driver began driving by himself and as a “team” with the lead driver.

After 14 days into his new driving career, while the lead driver was asleep in the back of the truck, the student driver failed to make a wide enough left-hand turn and hit Donald R.’s truck stopped at a red light. Most notably, CRST Expedited’s records showed the student driver had problems making left-hand turns, but they never told the lead driver of this problem.

CRST Expedited hired good defense attorneys to defend against claims they were at fault. The federal jury in Lake Charles, however, saw through CRST Expedited’s attempt to put all the blame on their own student driver. 

The jury apportioned fault and assigned CRST Expedited 88% of the fault in this case, and only 12% to the student driver. The jury’s finding was just because the student driver was placed in a situation he was not prepared for because CRST Expedited was attempting to make more money off him without him being ready to operate the 18-Wheeler in a safe manner.

The jury also made a damage award in the amount of $1,260,000 in favor of Donald R. The jury awarded $150,00 for past and future medical expenses, $270,00 for lost wages and pension, and $840,000 in general damages (pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life). The award was almost exactly what we valued the case for, and we asked the jury to award.

What We Did

Scott Webre and Chad Ikerd presented the story of a man who got up every day to work hard and never took the easy path in life. He was not someone who asked for a handout or sympathy from others, despite the hardships he endured in life. It was a privilege to tell Donald R.’s story and have a client who trusted us to tell it.

 One goal we were able to accomplish was to cause big trucking companies to reevaluate the “cost saving” training plan that attempts to use lower-cost labor from “student drivers.” By showing that these drivers are more likely to cause serious injuries to the public, maybe we can cause them to recalculate and actually place safer drivers on the streets, even if it costs them more on the front end. Safer drivers mean safer roads, which leads to fewer innocent people being injured.  


After the federal jury resoundingly rejected the defense claims on liability and damages, CRST Expedited filed for an appeal to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, prior to that appeal lodging, the parties reached an agreement to settle the case for more than the jury’s verdict. The final settlement amount was $1,450,000, which included interest on the amount awarded by the jury. To schedule a consultation, get in touch with the Ikerd Law Firm right now.

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