Fatal Tractor Trailer Accident In Lawrence County
A woman died after a large truck went through a stoplight in Louisa, causing a serious vehicle crash.
A second person was seriously injured in a collision that occurred at the intersection of Highway 3 and U.S. Highway 23 in Louisa. According to witnesses and first responders, a tractor trailer driver, whose name was not relesed, went through a red light while northbound on U.S. 23 and crashed into a Buick Lesabre. The force of the vehicle crash propelled the car into a utility pole. First responders had to use the Jaws of Life to cut the victims out of the car. Two victims were both rushed to nearby hospitals with multiple serious injuries; and one was subsequently pronounced dead.
The tractor trailer driver was cited for disregarding a traffic control device.
Large Truck Vehicle Crashes
Mostly because such vehicles have so much ground clearance, are so massive, and take so long to stop safely, the number of fatalities in these incidents has rather steadily inched upward since 2010, and now totals almost 4,000 victims a year.
Most passenger vehicle undercarriages are only a foot or two above the pavement, but large trucks sit much higher. As a result, the victims’ cars are often trapped underneath the tractor trailers in these vehicle crashes. As a result, first responders are unable to reach victims quickly, so their trauma injuries are untreated for several extra precious minutes. At the same time, the full weight of the large trucks press down on them.
This weight often exceeds 80,000 pounds, and there is a movement afoot in Washington to raise the weight limits even further. The massive force often causes serious injuries, such as:
- Serious burns,
- Head injuries, and
- Internal injuries.
Fortunately, personal injury attorneys can secure ongoing medical treatment for victims, even ones that have no money or health insurance.
In addition to mass, velocity is the other factor that determines the force of a vehicle crash or other collision. Fully-loaded trucks may travel up to 40 percent further than passenger cars from the time the driver sees a hazard to the time the brakes stop the vehicle. The excessive speeds often transform serious injuries into catastrophic injuries, including wrongful death.
Liability Issues in Vehicle Crashes
Disregarding a traffic control device is a classic negligence per se (negligence “as such”) situation. A safety statute infraction, like running a stop light, essentially creates a presumption in favor of negligence. In these cases, victims normally only have to prove causation.
In terms of third party liability, the respondeat superior (“let the master answer”) rule almost always applies in large truck-involved vehicle crashes, even if the drivers are classified as owner-operators or independent contractors instead of employees. So, the employer is liable for the victims’ damages. Vicarious liability is especially important in catastrophic injury cases, because individual tortfeasors (negligent drivers) often don’t have enough insurance to fully compensate the victims.
For prompt assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Morgantown, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.