Texas Poultry Company Enters into $27.5 Million Settlement After Crash Allegedly Caused by Employee Falling Asleep at Wheel

Humanitarian group Oxfam America recently issued a report about the working conditions of poultry workers in the United States. The group detailed the plight of those who work in America’s most popular meat industry, concluding that poultry workers earn low wages, suffer many injuries and illnesses, and often work in a climate of fear. It was another issue that made national headlines, however. According to the report, many poultry workers have to wear diapers to work because they are denied adequate bathroom breaks while on the line.

As demeaning as it must be to the workers who suffer this indignity, there are others who have been even more adversely affected by the relentless demands of the poultry industry. On an early November morning in 2013, a Texas family’s life was forever changed when they were struck from behind by a truck owned by poultry giant Sanderson Farms. The employee who was driving the truck reportedly later admitted to his girlfriend that he had fallen asleep at the wheel. He had arisen at 5:30 a.m., intent on arriving in Chilton by 7:00 a.m., where he worked 10 to 16 hours per shift.

Allegations of Negligence

After being propelled forward into traffic, the family’s car was struck by another vehicle. The mother suffered a fractured arm and other injuries, and her oldest son suffered minor injuries. Her two-week-old infant son was catastrophically injured in the wreck. According to reports, the baby’s skull was fractured, causing massive brain damage. He also suffered a collapsed lung.

The family filed suit against Sanderson Farms, seeking compensation for their injuries. Eventually, the parties submitted the case to mediation and reached an agreement about the amount of money Sanderson Farms would pay the family.

Settlement Reached

A judge in the 414th District Court of Texas reportedly approved a $27.5 million settlement between the family and Sanderson Farms late last month. Trust accounts for the long-term health and educational needs of the two minors are likely to be established by the settlement, which involved three separate insurance companies.

News reports describing the complaint in the family’s lawsuit spoke of allegations of “long and irregular work hours” and a schedule that “disrupted [the employee’s] sleep patterns.”

As both the report on poultry industry working conditions and the devastating motor vehicle accident caused by a fatigued worker indicate, many corporations have little regard for the safety and well-being of their employees or the public in general. Companies that engage in negligence or recklessness that harms others can be held accountable in a court of law.

If You or a Loved One Has Been Hurt

To talk to an experienced east Texas truck accident lawyer about your accident case, call the Law Offices of Earl Drott, P.C. in Tyler, Texas, at (903) 531-9300. We represent injured people throughout Smith County and elsewhere in east Texas. There is no charge for the initial consultation, and most cases are handled on a contingency fee basis so that legal fees are collected when the case is settled or a judgment is collected.

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