The widow of a man who was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer may have the opportunity to sue for punitive damages in a wrongful death case after claiming the driver of the truck was asleep at the wheel, reports Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
Blanche Madison, whose husband died in July of this year, made a punitives claim in August that was dismissed by a Lynchburg Federal court. The five traffic summonses and a reckless driving citation to the truck driver, Medardo Acuna, prior the accident was not evidence enough to prove reckless disregard for the safety of others.
However, a second try with Lynchburg U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon, in which Madison argued Acuna was asleep at the wheel at the time of the crash, having recently violated the 14 hour-rule (a rule that stipulates drivers cannot drive past the 14th consecutive hour after starting duty, followed by 10 consecutive hours off), in addition to the other citations.
Madison claimed that Moon was driving purposefully in a sleep-deprived state, with full knowledge of the dangers associated with his actions.
Stay tuned for updates.