September 2, 2014

As the fall harvest season approaches our freeways will again be filled with big trucks moving products grown in the fields to processing plants.  This includes tomatoes, grapes, rice and other such agricultural products vital to our region.  With the increase in big truck traffic comes the potential for an increase in big truck accidents.  There was a big truck accident in Southern California recently that reminds us of what can happen with a split second of inattention.

The California Highway Patrol recently closed down a portion of a freeway in Los Angeles while their officers conducted an accident investigation from a massive accident involving multiple passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers.  What typically happens whenever you have a minor accident involving passenger cars and big trucks on a California freeway is that the traffic crawls to a complete stop.  Then, a tanker truck full of milk failed to reduce speed and started a chain-reaction truck accident that involved several vehicles.

After rear-ending the first vehicle, the milk tanker truck ended up straddling the center divide.  This resulted in gallons of milk spilling onto the westbound lanes of the highway while the wreckage of 12 vehicles involved in the crash littered the eastbound lanes.  Emergency crews responded and removed the tanker from the median to keep it from falling onto vehicles that were on the highway.

While all of this was going on other emergency personnel were dealing with two other big trucks involved in the accident and two passenger vehicles that were on fire. The California Highway Patrol initially estimates regarding the number of injured parties was low, but it was later determined that 13 people suffered injuries with one fatality.

Of the 13 people injured, 3 were considered to be in critical condition.  After viewing pictures of the wreckage, it is surprising there was only one fatality.  Sadly, the fatality was a 5-year-old girl who was in the first vehicle hit by the milk tanker that failed to reduce speed to accommodate traffic conditions.   It’s possible that the driver of the tanker truck could end up facing criminal charges in connection with this truck accident. Additionally, the family of the 5 year old and the moderately to seriously injured victims may file civil actions against the driver and his employer.

Employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees and this is especially true when you are dealing with professional drivers.  When someone drives a big truck for a living it is useful to remember that you are dealing with a professional driver who has the duty to act in that regard.  They are expected to keep control of their truck under all traffic conditions and to pay attention to the road ahead so this sort of accident does not happen.  A successfully litigated claim could result in awards for damages for the victims of this tragic accident.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident with a big truck the Law Offices of Guenard & Bozarth can help.  We have the experience and compassion you expect and we can help!  Call us 24/7/365 at 888-809-1075 or visit https://gblegal.com/truck.php

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