The family and estate of Rodney Jennings has been awarded a $2.025 Maryland wrongful death verdict against dump truck driver Wayne Goss and the state of Maryland, Jennings, 28, died in August 2007 after he was hit by a dump truck on Interstate 495.
At the time, Jennings was an inmate serving time for a drug-related charge. The Prince George’s County dump truck accident happened while he picking up trash. Jennings was part of a work detail working under the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
On the morning of August 23, 2007, Jennings was struck by Goss’s 39-ton dump truck as he and other inmates on the work crew tired crossing the Exit 17 ramp for Route 202. His legs were crushed during the Maryland truck accident and, according to the family’s Prince George’s County wrongful death lawyer, Jennings experienced severe pain for about 45 minutes prior to his passing.
The plaintiffs have accused Goss of improperly crossing a solid white line while driving too fast in an attempt to overtake a tractor-trailer. Their Maryland truck accident lawsuit also claims that there were inadequate work signs set up at the off- ramp work area. They blame the Department of Corrections and State Highway Administration for failing to ensure Jennings’ safety. Their Maryland wrongful death attorney says the department should have made sure that the inmates crossed the area where Jennings’s was struck by the truck in a van rather than on foot. He also says that the state workers that were supposed to monitor the inmate crew were inadequately trained. Since the tragic Prince George’s County truck accident that claimed Jennings’ life, inmates are now driven across similar ramps in a van.
In Maryland, many civil verdicts have a $680,000 noneconomic damages cap. However, since there were two defendants, the family will likely receive close to $1.4 million.
Jury awards $2 million to family of Md. inmate killed by truck, The Washington Post, June 25, 2010
Jury awards $2 million in highway death of Md. inmate, The Baltimore Sun, June 24, 2010
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