Earlier this summer, the case of Fabian Escobedo’s death in 2012 made it all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court. He was an overworked truck driver for Mo-Vac Service Co., Inc., a company providing trucking and warehouse services to the oil patch. Escobedo spent 12 years transporting liquids back and forth from drilling sites in a tanker truck for Mo-Vac.
His family has stated that Escobedo experienced fatigue from “being forced to work grueling hours” by Mo-Vac. Escobedo’s coworkers agreed. Some of them signed affidavits about the number of hours he had to work each day. Sadly, the long-time truck driver could not keep up with the exhausting schedule, and on May 30, 2012, at around 3 a.m., he fell asleep at the wheel before reaching the company’s warehouse in Dilley.
Escobedo’s 18-wheeler ran off the highway and rolled over while he was asleep. He survived the accident. But because of his position in the truck, alone on the side of the road, he suffocated and died.
His heartbroken family decided to take legal action against the company. They were able to obtain confirmation of the grueling hours from terminal manager Urbano Garza. In an affidavit, Garza said that Mo-Vac was aware that it was forcing employees to work excessive hours. The company instructed its employees to falsify their driving records.
Garza also said that Mo-Vac showed these employees precisely how to falsify driving logs so that they looked compliant. Some drivers worked as much as 19 to 24 hours straight, day after day.
Sadly, on June 12, 2020, the family lost its case in the highest court in Texas. The court stated that “there is evidence that Mo-Vac forced Escobedo to work excessive hours.” However, it still sided with Mo-Vac as the company was a participant in the Texas workers’ compensation system.
The Texas Supreme Court stated that Escobedo’s family lawsuit “can succeed only by proving that Mo-Vac intentionally caused Escobedo’s accident in the sense that it believed the accident was ‘substantially certain to result’ from his being overworked.”
Since Texas workers’ compensation laws only allow for the surviving spouse or heirs of a victim to receive compensation, Escobedo’s parents and sister are not eligible for anything.
The case of Escobedo is incredibly sad with an unfortunate ending – and evidence that some trucking companies and their insurance will do anything to save money – at any cost. This includes attempting to settle quickly with accident victims before they seek legal compensation. It is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer before agreeing to anything with these companies.
DeSouza Law Firm is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.
If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call DeSouza Injury Lawyers today at 361-799-2222 or visit the firm online at https://jfdlawfirm.com/.