A distracted driver was found liable for injuries caused when he rear-ended a woman amid stop-and-go traffic in 2015. A San Antonio jury sided with the plaintiff, who was represented by Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys and awarded her $45.3 million for past and future pain and suffering for injuries to her back, neck and shoulder.

The case involved a collision between Mickey Hunt, an employee of JC Fodale Energy Services, LLC, a privately held oilfield services company, and 35-year-old plaintiff, Jenny Hanes. Hanes was traveling in stop-and-go traffic on I-35 when she was rear-ended by Hunt’s SUV. Hanes’ vehicle was pushed off the road to the left-hand median, causing her to suffer neck, back, and shoulder injuries.

Hunt claimed this rear-end collision was caused by traffic slowing or stopping abruptly. Yet it was revealed during the trial that the defendant driver was on his cell phone immediately before the collision. He was also proven to be a “heavy user” of his cell phone while driving.

Thomas J. Henry exposed the defendant’s four different company policies regarding the use of cell phones while driving, which included different rules for executives and non-executives. The jury heard how executives in the company were allowed to use their cell phones while driving. Despite denials by Mr. Hunt and company, the jury decided that Mr. Hunt was a corporate executive and liable for the damages.

It was determined that company executives were aware of studies showing that using a cell phone while driving, even hands-free, was equivalent to driving while intoxicated at a level of .08 percent blood alcohol content. The company failed to share this vital and life-saving knowledge with their own employees and continued to allow executives to use their cell phones while driving.

Thomas J. Henry attorneys Dale Hicks and Richard Hunnicutt also represented the plaintiff. Hunnicutt noted: “The jurors in San Antonio are concerned about safety on our roads and highways. They wanted to make sure their message was heard loud and clear— they will not tolerate an individual or company that allows their drivers to speed, use hands-free cell phones, or text while driving.”

The case, JENNY HANES v. JC FODALE ENERGY SERVICES, LLC AND MICKEY HUNT, was tried in the 45th District Court in Bexar County. Hon. Stephani Walsh presided.

Read more about Thomas J. Henry’s recent results here.