Driver says he was fired in retaliation for work comp claim

Kelly Holleran Oct. 4, 2012, 9:10am

A former tractor driver claims he lost his job after he sustained injuries in a collision that was not his fault.

Jimmy and Jane Winters filed a lawsuit Sept. 25 in Madison County Circuit Court against Kyla Sweeney, who is representative of the estate of Jackie M. Wood; K.L. Breeden and Sons; and Donald Tarkington.

The Winters allege Jimmy Winters drove his tractor trailer north on Highway 111 in Pontoon Beach on Sept. 5, 2011, near the entrance way to K&B Truck Repair at 2358 Highway 111 when the now deceased Wood, who was driving south on the same road, swerved into Winters's lane and struck his vehicle.

Because of the collision, Winters sustained severe and permanent injuries, incurred medical costs and lost substantial wages, according to the complaint. He also experienced considerable mental stress, anxiety, pain and suffering, the suit states.

Winters says Wood caused the collision, saying she negligently failed to keep a proper lookout, drove in a reckless manner, drove too fast, failed to drive on her side of the road, failed to drive within a single lane, failed to warn of her impending approach and failed to reduce her speed to avoid a collision.

Even though the accident was not Jimmy Winters's fault, he claims he lost his job because of it.

Both Jimmy Winters's employer, K.L. Breeden and Sons, and his supervisor, Donald Tarkington, knew he was attempting to file for workers' compensation benefits because of the injuries he sustained in the collision. In turn, they fired him, the complaint says.

Because of her husband's job loss, Jane Winters claims she lost his support and services.

In their four-count complaint, the Winters seek a judgment of more than $200,000, plus costs.

Brian M. Wendler of Wendler Law in Edwardsville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-1539.

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