Victoria man files personal injury lawsuit against trucking firm

Jan. 16, 2012 at 12:04 a.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2012 at 7:16 p.m.

A Victoria man is suing a North Carolina-based trucking company to pay for medical care following an October wreck in Goliad County.

Kenneth Christiensen sued Carolina Pacific Logistics, Coastal Plains Enterprise and James Alton Barbour in federal court in November.

Christiensen claimed the defendants' negligence caused the wreck.

"We have received no response from them regarding paying Mr. Christiensen's medical expenses and cost of living during the time he was unable to work," said Christiensen's attorney, Jim Cole, of Victoria. "We want them to be responsible for those expenses."

In early January, the defendants filed a formal response denying the allegations.

In their response, the defendants alleged Christiensen was solely responsible for, or at least contributed, to causing the collision and his subsequent injuries.

Messages left for the defendants and their Houston-based attorney John K. Woodward seeking further comment were not returned.

The lawsuit contends that on Oct. 23, Christiensen was northbound on U.S. Highway 59 in Goliad County when Barbour, who was driving a tractor-trailer south on the highway, crossed the center lane and collided with Christiensen's vehicle.

As a result of the collision, the plaintiff sustained severe head injuries that have required treatment by a neurosurgeon, said Cole.

Coastal Plains Enterprise owned the tractor-trailer, which was operated by Carolina Pacific Logistics. Both are defendants in the case.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement and loss of earning capacity, according to the lawsuit.

Cole said he also hopes the lawsuit will shed light on the issue of sleep apnea among truck drivers.

"It is my understanding that he doesn't know why he ran across the center lane into Mr. Christiensen," Cole said about Barbour. "He may have been asleep, which was caused by sleep apnea."

Cole said he has requested Barbour's medical records to determine whether he suffered from the ailment.

In December, in a separate case, the Lindsay family, who was represented by Cole, reached a $3.25 million settlement with a Canadian trucking firm following the death of a family member.

John Lindsay was killed in a collision involving a truck driver who suffered from sleep apnea.

This marked the first case in which a trucking company acknowledged a death resulting from a driver with sleep apnea.

"Numerous wrecks in the area have resulted in injuries and fatalities because of the increase in truck traffic in the area. We are concerned with the increased danger of people living in the area and having to share the highway with these trucks," said Cole. He added a number of recent wrecks in the Crossroads have shared similarities to the wreck involving Barbour.

"Our ultimate goal is to make the highway safer."



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