Monico Arias of Riverside, who suffered serious injuries after he was struck head-on by a drunken truck driver in 2006, received $1.8 million in damages from an Orange County Superior Court Judge Sept. 12, according to this report in the Riverside Press Enterprise.
The driver of the truck, Octavio Mondragon Cayentano, reportedly crossed the center of Granite Hill Drive and collided head-on into the vehicle carrying Arias and two sons, Angel, 8, and Jonathan, 4. Monico Arias suffered a broken left leg, a ruptured eye, blunt force trauma and knee injuries . According to his attorney, Arias needed four surgeries and his medical expenses exceeded $300,000.
Cayentano was an employee of Tustin-based Southern California Pipeline Construction, which was also held liable for the accident and the injuries because Cayentano was on the job at the time of this truck accident. Cayentano reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. It is illegal in the state of California to drive a vehicle with a BAC level of 0.08 or more.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which monitors trucking companies, only a small percentage of truck accidents are caused by the use of alcohol or drugs. However, they do occur. Many truck companies do not conduct routine drug testing and do not perform adequate background checks before hiring their drivers. Trucking companies must be held accountable for the kind of employees they hire. The safety of others who share the roads with such truck drivers depends on it.
Typically, juries tend to award higher compensations when the injuries are caused by a DUI auto accident compared to a non-DUI accident. A skilled attorney uses this knowledge to negotiate a better settlement for the accident victims.
I’m glad that Arias and his two sons received the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Southern California Pipeline Construction, the company that hired Cayentano, deserved to be held accountable for the action of their employee.