A Texas woman was awarded nearly $16 million against a Rhode Island company after she became quadriplegic after a utility vehicle ran her over while she was working on her family’s farm.
The $15.8 million verdict is reportedly the highest personal injury damage award doled out in the federal U.S. Western District of Texas, though plaintiff will reportedly only receive about half of that due to a finding of 50 percent contributory negligence. Based on Texas’ modified comparative fault with a 51 percent bar (the same standard used in Massachusetts), that was almost enough to prohibit collection of any damages at all.
According to court records in Nestor v. Textron, Inc., the accident involved a vehicle called the E-Z-Go Workhorse cart. It looks something like a golf cart, but it’s designed to haul material. It was December 2011 and plaintiff was working alone on the ranch, using the vehicle to help her with feeding and moving livestock around the property. Plaintiff alleges that she stopped at a gate to open it. She took her foot off the accelerator, which stopped the engine. However, as she was opening the gate with her back to the vehicle, one of the cubes of cattle feed fell onto the acceleration pedal. The engine started. The vehicle thrust forward. The force knocked her to the ground and the vehicle ran her over. As a result, she is now paralyzed from the neck down. Continue reading