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Million Dollar Settlement in Maryland Work Accident Fatality

Like many inmates before him, Rodney Jennings took his turn on Maryland's highways, picking up trash discarded by careless drivers. On the morning of August 23, 2007, he was part of a six-man crew working near an exit along Route 202 in Landover.

As Jennings and two other inmates attempted to cross the exit to pick up trash on the other side, a 39-ton dump truck struck Jennings, pulverizing his legs and leaving him stranded on the ramp. At the time of the truck accident, the driver was traveling faster than the posted exit speed.

For almost an hour, Jennings was conscious and in constant, excruciating pain. He later passed away. He was only 28-years-old, serving a two-year sentence.

Following the fatal work accident, Jennings' family sued. In the civil trial, held in Prince George's County, a jury found Maryland state corrections and highway officials partially responsible for Jennings' death. They also found the private dump truck driver responsible for his part in the accident.

The $2.025 million award was capped at $680,000, per Maryland law in regards to non-economic damages. However, as both the state and the truck driver were found liable for Jennings' death, the actual payout may be closer to $1.5 million.

Following the accident, the Maryland Division of Correction changed its road crew policy and now transports inmates across ramps and other dangerous areas in a vehicle, rather than allowing them to cross on foot.

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