Utility Pole Truck/Auto Accident

This case involves the collision of an automobile with a utility pole being trailered by a local utility company.

An East Texas family had been to an area lake for a day of fishing and recreation. As the sun began to set they loaded their truck and headed toward home on a rural Texas highway. At the same time a local power company crew was returning late from a repair call. Not knowing what the call might entail the crew had taken not only an equipment truck but also a trailer from which a utility pole extended. The utility pole had neither flags nor lights attached to it.

As the utility crew turned into their equipment yard along the same rural highway they found that the gate had been shut which caused them to stop short in the fading light with the unlit telephone pole extending across the highway between six and seven feet above the pavement. The family did no see the pole in the fading light and their truck struck the pole. The pole smashed the windshield and peeled back a portion of the roof of the truck. The driver sustained facial lacerations and injuries, a fractured arm, neck injuries, and back injuries. The passenger sustained facial injuries and lacerations, neck injuries, and a closed head injury.

At the outset the utility company’s insurance company and lawyers alleged that the family should have seen the pole illegally extending across the highway in the twilight. A punitive damages lawsuit was filed. Discovery established that the utility company crew had committed numerous safety violations. A confidential settlement was reached.

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