Rangel v. P.A.M. Transport (2017)

A busy interstate highway crowded with 18-wheelers can be a recipe for tragedy, as it was for Jose Rangel and his family from Laredo, Texas, two days before Christmas in 2013.

Rangel, his wife Martha, and their daughter were traveling from Laredo to San Antonio when the acts of two negligent trucks drivers changed their lives forever.

Rangel, driving northbound on I-37, was in the left lane and passing a commercial 18-wheeler operated by P.A.M. Transport, based in Tontitown, Arkansas, in the right lane.

As Rangel began to pull adjacent to the 18-wheeler, the P.A.M truck driver, suddenly and without warning, began to change from the right lane to the left lane forcing Rangel off the roadway and into the median. Rangel lost control of his vehicle in the median, resulting in the car re-entering the left lane in front of the P.A.M. truck and colliding into the rear of a second commercial vehicle. The second big rig, operated by Hirschbach Motor Lines of Dubuque, Iowa, was parked on the shoulder of the interstate highway, prompting the P.A.M truck driver to change lanes.

Martha Rangel died of injuries suffered in the accident. Their daughter sustained a moderate brain injury, and her father, Jose, was also seriously injured.

Slack, Davis Sanger partner Greg Marks represented the Rangel family. He filed a lawsuit on behalf of the accident victims against P.A.M., alleging the 18-wheeler driver made an unsafe lane change. The suit also charged Hirschbach, alleging that it was a hazard for the company’s driver to park on the highway’s side without having an emergency. The Hirschbach driver admitted that he had stopped for a restroom break and to make a couple of sandwiches.

Both companies eventually settled the case for undisclosed amounts.

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