Although many construction & truck accidents involve the men and women who work in the construction industry, sometimes an accident claims the life of an innocent bystander who has nothing to do with the job. That’s exactly what happened in 2015.
Construction Worker Blocks Highway With Truck
At around 11:35 pm, a construction worker left a construction site in a truck which was hauling concrete barriers. The driver pulled directly out into a highway, blocking all four lanes of traffic just as several other cars were traveling in the direction of the truck. The other drivers had no time to stop. The first vehicle, a Mitsubishi Lancer, struck the side of the truck and went underneath of it, shearing the top off of the car. The impact sent the car and truck a full quarter mile down the road. The driver of the Mitsubishi was killed and his passenger seriously injured.
Immediately after the first collision a second one occurred with a 17-year-old driver also hitting the truck. She may have survived the initial collision, however, the concrete barriers on the truck came loose and crushed the driver and her car. She did not survive.
A second tractor-trailer also collided with the first one but the driver was not injured.
Police have since charged the driver of the first tractor-trailer with impeding traffic and for driving a vehicle with unsafe equipment. He was also named as the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of the man killed in the Mitsubishi along with his employer.
Jury Sides With Grieving Parents
The parents of the 29-year-old man who was killed alleged that the driver was negligent when he chose to pull out into oncoming traffic and block all of the lanes. They claimed that their child would be alive today if the driver had kept a proper lookout. In addition to this, they also alleged that his employer was responsible for his actions and so they too were at fault.
The case went to trial and the jury awarded the plaintiffs $45 million – $35 million to be paid by the construction company and $10 million to be paid by the driver.
Are All Wrongful Death Awards So Large?
No, not all awards are so large. When the plaintiffs in a wrongful death case are given compensation, that monetary amount is meant to compensate them for:
- lost companionship
- emotional distress
- lost income
- funeral and burial expenses
Generally, those who are allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit include the parents of the deceased, the spouse, or their children if they have any. In some cases, if another party was dependant upon the deceased, they may also be eligible to file.
When Can I File?
As soon as it becomes clear that negligence has occurred, the plaintiffs may choose to pursue legal action. However, there are time limits known as the statute of limitations which prevent plaintiffs from pursuing legal action after a certain period of time has passed. This is why it’s very important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible.
How Long Will The Legal Process Take?
There is no set time for the legal process. Some cases will take a few months while others may take more than a year. Collecting evidence, taking witness statements, and scheduling a day in court all take time. If a settlement agreement can be reached then the case will likely end sooner than if it goes to trial.
Should I Settle?
That decision is entirely up to you. There are benefits to settling – the case is resolved in a timely manner, the plaintiff knows exactly what kind of compensation they will be getting, and usually, compensation is received within 30 days. But an offer to settle may not be given by the defendant and even if an offer is made, it may not be enough. Our firm will present all of your options to you and discuss the benefits of accepting or denying the offer.