Wrongful Death Claims for Truck Accidents
Big rigs are responsible for a large percentage of traffic accidents nationwide. These accidents can be caused by careless driving, traffic law violations, bad weather, poor road conditions, congestion, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence. Because semi-trucks are large and heavy, they have the ability to cause catastrophic damage. Some recent fatal truck accidents across the country include:
- A semi-truck carting cooking oil in Lafayette, Illinois failed to slow down during heavy traffic. The driver rear-ended a passenger vehicle, sending it flying into a ditch and killing its two occupants upon impact. The truck barreled on and collided with an SUV, sending it spinning in between the truck and another semi. The truck then crashed into a semi carrying perishable items. Said truck and the SUV both caught on fire, and all occupants were killed as a result.
- A tractor trailer owned by Cool Runnings Express, a Tennessee company, plowed into nine cars that were stopped on the interstate due to highway construction. Six passenger vehicle drivers were killed instantly, and several others were maimed. One of the injured drivers sued Cool Runnings Express and the driver for negligence in the amount of $10 million. The driver had been cited for reckless driving the day before the accident, yet the company allowed him to drive on his route anyway.
- A truck driver in Greensboro, North Carolina fell asleep behind the wheel and plowed into six motorcycles that were stopped on the shoulder of Interstate 85 due to mechanical issues. After striking the motorcyclists, killing one and severely injuring the other five, the driver sped off down the road, only stopping a half mile later due to a flat tire. The truck driver was arrested for felony hit and run as well as misdemeanor death.
- A San Antonio 18-wheeler driver was on Interstate 35 when he noticed a small sedan creep out of his blind spot. The truck driver felt something hit his trailer and immediately slammed on the brakes, which caused the truck to jack-knife across three lanes of highway. The collision trapped a small car underneath the trailer, killing the driver instantly.
Unfortunately, fatal truck accidents are not uncommon, though they are unexpected and devastating for the family and friends of the deceased. When an injury occurs after an accident, the injured individual is able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver to seek compensation for the injuries. However, when the victim is killed in the crash, the victim cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. Many grieving families feel that they are powerless at pursuing justice. However, every state in the United States permits surviving family members to pursue damages through wrongful death actions. A wrongful death action can be filed when the deceased is killed due to the wrongdoing of another.
Each state defines “survivor” differently. Generally speaking, however, “survivor” means:
- And other individuals who relied on the deceased for financial support, housing or care
When the victim dies, the survivors become victims of the crash as well. As such, they are permitted by state personal injury law to seek damages for their expenses and suffering. Common damages sought in wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Medical expenses for caring for the deceased prior to their passing
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost financial support if the deceased provided for the survivor
- Lost companionship
- Emotional distress
- Attorneys’ fees and court fees
- Punitive damages
If a loved one died suddenly in a horrific truck accident, you may find yourself having difficulty with coping with the tragic death. I, Charles H. Thronson, Attorney at Law, have worked with families across the nation with finding peace through pursuing justice and avenging the loved one’s death. Over the past three decades, I have pursued wrongful death compensation in state and federal courts. If you are interested in learning more about wrongful death lawsuits, you can contact my office today at (800) 856-5417 or send me an e-mail at CThronson@parsonsbehle.com for your free consultation.