$16.6M+ Verdict at Trial Over Big Rig Crash That Left Georgia Man With TBI

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Dec 15, 2023 3:09:37 PM


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Decatur, GA— Jurors Thursday handed down a $16.66 million verdict against a trucking company and found it 60 percent responsible for the 2021 crash that left a Georgia man with a traumatic brain injury.  Dalal v. Brown Trucking Company, 21A04356. 

The DeKalb County (Georgia) State Court jury deliberated for roughly five hours before reaching its verdict for Avnish Dalal, injured in a collision he says was caused when Brown Trucking Company driver Evans Tshongwe braked his big rig to a stop on I-285 in Decatur while avoiding a van passing through his lane.

Dalal, then 21, was traveling behind the Brown Trucking big rig and another tractor-trailer when Tshongwe, with the aid of an auto-braking system, brought his truck to a stop. Dalal says he swerved to avoid Tshongwe’s vehicle, but clipped it, collided with yet another tractor-trailer, and then ultimately traveled under the Brown Trucking vehicle. 

The crash severely injured Dalal's arm and left him with a traumatic brain injury that causes a host of long-standing neurological issues. 

Jurors found Dalal 40% responsible for the crash. That apportionment means the verdict will likely be reduced to roughly $10 million. The award is significantly higher than the $2 million pre-trial offer Dalal's attorney, Fried Goldberg's Michael Goldberg, said was made by the trucking company's insurer. 

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The four-day trial turned on Tshongwe and Dalal's driving decisions leading up to the crash. 

During Thursday’s closings, John Dixon, of Dennis, Corry, Smith & Dixon, reviewed evidence, including video and vehicle data, that he said showed Tshongwe acted appropriately under the circumatances to avoid striking the van.

Dixon added that Tshongwe did not have time to safely evaluate other potential alternative maneuvers as the van passed through his lane. Meanwhile, Dixon argued, Dalal was following trailing traffic too closely. 

“A white van moves into the lane. It slows. You see it. You apply the brakes. The truck’s braking. You’ve got traffic on your right. Traffic on your left. And you don’t know what the van’s going to do,” Dixon said. “And the accident’s already happened. That’s what happened to Mr. Tshongwe out there.”

But Dalal’s attorneys claim Tshongwe violated a host of trucking industry standards, leading to the crash. 

During Thursday’s closings, Goldberg walked through evidence, including testimony from a trucking industry expert, that he said showed Tshongwe broke industry standards in failing to apply his brakes as soon as the truck's acoustic warning system indicated the van passing into his lane. And Goldberg added Tshongwe compounded that error by failing to accelerate once the van left the lane.  

“Brown Trucking created this emergency. The white van didn’t create the emergency,” Goldberg said. “It’s Brown Trucking’s [driver’s] reaction to the white van that creates the emergency, by not following their training and by not following industry standards.” 

After the verdict, Dalal’s attorney, Fried Goldberg’s Joseph Fried, told CVN that the plaintiff’s case relied on trucking industry standards to overcome potential preconceived notions surrounding the fact that Dalal rear-ended the big rig. 

“Any time your plaintiff hits the rear of a vehicle ahead, there are going to be big liability challenges. We had to overcome the bias that, if you hit someone from the rear, you are liable,” Fried said. We built our strategy around the violation of a few trucking industry standards that were difficult for the defense to justify, and kept this simple focus throughout the case.”

Dalal’s attorney, Karina Deochand, of Deochand & Jayswal Law Group, agreed, adding, “This was a case where liability was hotly contested, and therefore we had to work hard to educate the jury about trucking safety standards,” Deochand said. "I am thankful that the jury understood our case and appreciated the danger the truck posed to our client that day."

Meanwhile, Goldberg praised the defense attorneys at trial but criticized Brown Trucking’s insurer for settlement negotiation decisions he said ultimately forced the case to a jury. 

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for the defense lawyers. They were a pleasure to work with. The insurance company left a bitter taste in my mouth, as they made a $2 million offer, but would not engage in meaningful negotiations above that and refused to consider a high/low [settlement arrangement]” Goldberg said. “They never should have put our client through this.  I am just happy that we didn’t let him down.”

And Deochand & Jayswal’s Romi Jayswal added “The trucking company underestimated both their level of fault and the value of the case. It was a hard-fought battle but I'm thankful that the jury saw our side.”

CVN has reached out to Dixon and will update this article with his comments. 

Email Arlin Crisco at

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Topics: Georgia, Transportation, Trucking, Dalal v. Brown Trucking Company