A Salt Lake County jury on Thursday awarded $16.4 million to an 11-year-old boy Whose family was killed in a car accident with an out-of-control semitrailer.
The award against Dick Simon Trucking Inc. of West Valley City ended a four-week trial before 3rd District Judge Leon A. Dever. The dollar amount marks the largest a Utah jury has ever awarded a single plaintiff in a personal injury case, said Salt Lake City plaintiff’s attorney Jeffrey Eisenberg.
The accident occurred in March 1998 when a truck driver traveling down Route 6 in Price Canyon lost control of his rig. The semi collided head-on with the car Anthony Rynes and his family were riding in. Rynes was left brain damaged but survived the crash. His mother and half-brother did not. The boy, who has extended family in Utah, now lives in a Texas care facility.
Salt Lake City defense attorney Andrew Morse said Simon Trucking has already paid more than $400,000 for the boy’s care and has always accepted responsibility. “The only reason this case was tried was that the plaintiffs demanded much more than we thought was necessary and adequate to take care of this child for the rest of his life,” Morse said.
The jury’s award was several million less than the plaintiffs had asked for at trial, Morse said. Jurors awarded Rynes $12 million to pay for the cost of his future care, $2 million for pain and suffering and the remainder for lost earnings and other economic damages.