Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

In a personal injury claim, a plaintiff has to prove not just liability but the extent of the damages. This means the plaintiff may need to establish the nature of the injuries, the expected duration of the injuries, how the injuries may have aggravated a pre-existing condition, disfigurement, disability, pain and suffering, emotional distress, necessary medical expenses, lost wages, care-taking expenses, and any shortened life expectancy.

Semi-TruckJury Awards $15 Million in Damages to Student After Crash

A tragic car accident in 2015 resulted in the death of five Georgia nursing students. A jury recently awarded the lone survivor $15 million. According to the a news report, a truck driver had been driving 70 miles per hour down a highway and failed to slow down or stop for traffic, causing him to crash into several cars. The truck driver’s truck drove over the top of a Toyota Corolla and crashed into a Ford Escape that was carrying the students. The students had been on their way to their last day of clinical rotations at a nearby hospital. The survivor brought a lawsuit against the truck driver’s trucking company.

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This fall, an appellate court in Mississippi issued a written opinion affirming the dismissal of a case against a truck driver and his employer on the ground that the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were not a foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ allegedly negligent actions. In the case, Ready v. RWI Transportation, the court held the defendant truck driver and his employer could not be held liable because the plaintiff’s injuries were too far removed in time and physical proximity from the defendants’ alleged act of negligence.

Overturned TruckThe Facts of the Case

The defendants were a truck driver and his employer. On the day in question, the defendant truck driver caused an accident on the highway when he made an improper lane change. As a result of the collision, the defendant’s truck as well as another vehicle blocked traffic, causing a traffic jam to form.

Approximately one hour later, while traffic was still slowed from the original accident, the plaintiff approached the traffic jam and crashed into the rear of another vehicle that had come to a complete stop. This accident occurred approximately three-quarters of a mile away from the original accident. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver and the driver’s employer.

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If a case proceeds to trial, generally the parties leave the issues to the jury to decide. However, the judge still has to make decisions throughout the trial, including ones involving the admissibility of evidence. Sometimes, these decisions can have a huge effect on a trial—and sometimes, if a judge makes a decision later found to be incorrect, there may need to be a new trial altogether.

gavel-1017953_960_720In a recent case, a man was injured after he was hit by a dump truck driver hired by an asphalt company. The plaintiff sued the asphalt company for negligence and negligent hiring. At trial, the company tried to exclude evidence that at the time of the accident, the truck driver had a suspended license, and the truck was uninsured. The judge allowed the evidence about the truck being uninsured to be admitted at the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff.

The defendant appealed, arguing that the judge should not have allowed the evidence about the lack of insurance. The court of appeals agreed, finding that the court should not have admitted the evidence and that this information was prejudicial. The court found that in a claim about negligent hiring and general negligence, evidence of lack of insurance coverage was irrelevant and should not have been admitted.

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Transporting heavy equipment from one location to another can be a dangerous job. Drivers have to make sure to secure the right equipment, take proper routes, obtain permits and escorts, and follow regulations. Drivers and their employers also have to be concerned not only about their own safety but the safety of everyone else on the road.

mardyke-bridge-1537642In a recent case, a widow filed a wrongful death action after her husband was killed by a driver transporting heavy equipment across a bridge. The woman’s husband was killed when a driver was transporting an oversized log skidder, a heavy vehicle used in logging. The driver left Atlas, Illinois to deliver the log skidder to Eolia, Missouri. In order to reach Eolia, the driver took the Champ Clark Bridge, which connects Missouri and Illinois. The bridge is 20 feet wide and has two lanes. The log skidder was ten feet wide, so the driver had to take up part of both lanes on the bridge.

The driver transporting the load planned to send a lookout driver ahead in order to block the eastbound lane of the bridge. The lookout went ahead and the transport driver called to make sure that the bridge was cleared. After being assured that the bridge was clear, the transport driver continued onto the bridge with the log skidder. As he was driving across the bridge, he saw a car coming over the bridge in the opposite lane. He tried to move over but he hit the bridge and struck the oncoming car, killing its driver. Although the lookout believed he had blocked traffic, he had not effectively blocked all oncoming cars.

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Tractor trailers are essential to the U.S. economy. They haul goods from factories, warehouses, ports, rail yards, and farms to destinations all over the country. Without them, the economy would surely buckle.

trucks-on-the-road-1449684One of the few downsides to tractor trailers, however, is that they are an added danger to America’s already crowded roads and highways. They make it difficult for drivers to see other cars and trucks on the road, and the trucks themselves are difficult to maneuver, even for the most skilled and experienced drivers. On top of that, truck drivers are often tasked with driving long distances in short timeframes, and despite federal regulations capping the number of hours they can drive without a rest, they are often tired and rushing to reach their destination.

Not surprisingly, accidents involving tractor trailers are a common occurrence. Traffic reports and the news media regularly report long backups because of overturned tractor trailers, and just about every driver has been caught in a seemingly endless traffic jam caused by a tractor trailer accident. By some estimates, there are 500,000 trucking accidents each year in the United States.

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Earlier this month in O’Fallon, a truck driver was killed when the truck he was operating crashed on Interstate 64 near mile marker 19. According to one local news source, the accident occurred on a Thursday evening, and no other vehicles were involved.

need-an-ambulance-1512594Evidently, the tanker truck was traveling westbound on I-64 when witnesses reported seeing the truck swerving from side to side. After a few moments of swerving, the truck toppled over onto its side. By the time emergency responders arrived at the scene of the accident, the truck driver had died.

The tanker truck was carrying some kind of liquid. It is believed to have been liquid nitrogen. It took several hours for emergency crews to clear the wreckage while police were conducting their investigation into what could have caused the accident. Police told reporters that it is unclear if the driver was killed in the accident or if he suffered some kind of medical emergency prior to the crash.

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