Husband Compensated for Wife's Death by "Big Rig" Manufacturer
Tammy Tucker and her husband Steve operated a Peterbilt semi tractor-trailer.
In the early morning hours, while she was at the wheel and he was asleep
in the cab, Tammy encountered an unexpected patch of ice. Although she
was no stranger to driving on ice, when she attempted to correct for the
slide, the cab was jerked around by the interaction of the trailer. As
it slid sideways, Tammy’s shoulder hit the driver’s door and
it unexpectedly opened. She lost her balance; falling partially out of
the door. Within seconds the entire rig tipped over on its left side.
No longer able to hold on to the wheel, Tammy was ejected out of the truck
and crushed by its weight.
Steve Tucker survived, believing what had occurred was just a horrible accident. While at the funeral service for Tammy, Steve learned that a recall notice had just come out from Peterbilt related to a faulty latch on the same door that had unexpectedly come open and thrown his wife to her death.
Steve Browning took the case, and flew out to the accident site in South Dakota to conduct a thorough investigation, which included an examination of the door on the Tucker’s truck. He gathered evidence that proved that the door latch was defective. “Peterbilt took a hard line – their product was not defective and they did what was required by sending out a recall notice. Of course it was obvious to us that companies do not send recall notices out on products that are not defective. This, coupled with the results of our investigation, demonstrated their culpability,” said Steve Browning, who reached a confidential settlement with Peterbilt on behalf of Steve Tucker and his children.
“I appreciate everything Steve Browning did for us. Under the horrible circumstances, working with him and the firm was a positive experience and led to the best outcome possible.” - Steve Tucker