Trucker awarded damages for on-the-job injury

| 1/21/2002

A Mississippi jury ruled Jan. 16 that two companies owed a truckdriver about $250,000 for an on-the-job accident. The jury also ruled the trucker was partly at fault in the accident.

The Pike County Circuit Court jury ordered Carbo Ceramics Inc. of Eufaula, AL, to pay $202,500, and Nance & Collums Inc. of Fernwood, MS, to pay $45,000.

Trucker Earl "Mike" Berry sued the companies over a back injury he sustained after slipping on ceramic pellets on top of a Nance & Collums tanker at the Carbo plant in April 1999. Berry testified that he was permanently disabled after slipping on the pellets spilled on top of his tanker truck.

The jury set the total damages at $450,000, but ruled Berry was 45 percent responsible for the accident. It said Carbo was also 45 percent responsible, while NCI bore 10 percent of the fault.

Carbo has since changed its procedures for safety reasons, requiring drivers to wear a harness if climbing on top of the truck. Plant employees now reportedly routinely close truck hatches.