IN THE MEDIA
The Ramirez Family vs. TXDOT
Chief Simpson vs. Harley Davidson
TXDOT negligence leads to serious injuries
Unanimous jury awards $500,000 to devastated family
Laredo, TX, November 21, 2016:
A civil jury unanimously found the Texas Department of Transportation responsible for extreme neglect of a public roadway outside of Laredo. Hector Ramirez, victim of a devastating 18 wheeler accident, was awarded a half-million dollar verdict as compensation for his severe injuries.
Seasoned driver Hector Ramirez had just picked up a load in Del Rio and was on his way back to Laredo to see his family. This drive, one he had made a hundred times, would leave him unemployed and permanently disabled, with devastating injuries to his neck, back, and shoulder.
As Hector's truck rounded a curve, he spotted another vehicle stopped in the roadway. He was faced with a difficult decision: attempt to stop an 80,000 pound truck before slamming into the vehicle or move onto the right shoulder to pass, as allowed by Texas law. As he moved onto the shoulder, a portion of his passenger tire went off the roadway. When Hector's tire brushed the shoulder, the wheel dropped dramatically, causing a complete loss of control of the vehicle, rolling the cab and trailer, and violently jerking Hector out of his seat. He was bounced around inside the cab, causing severe physical trauma requiring multiple surgeries and leaving him permanently disabled, unable to return to his lifelong career as a driver.
TXDOT records showed that inspectors had been out three times that week working on that very stretch of highway and had approved it as safe: well below the 5 inch shoulder drop-off considered to be dangerous for all vehicles. After the accident, investigators found the shoulder along that section of road had a drop-off of over 9 inches. During the trial, defending TXDOT representative Jesse Cantu admitted to having the data readily available at the time of the accident. When asked if he felt that the roadway was something that TXDOT could be proud of, he slumped his shoulders. “No. I’m not proud of this,” he said.
The Garcia family was represented by Joseph Ritch and Josh Hopkins of Elliott & Ritch, LLP. "The State of Texas, through its Department of Transportation, is charged with protecting our citizens with keeping the roadways safe. Here they simply did not do their job and the citizens of Laredo held them accountable. I am happy to be a part of that process.” said attorney Joseph Ritch.