Two children and four adults were killed early on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013, when the car they were traveling in burst into flames after being rear-ended by a semi truck. Two children managed to escape from the burning vehicle in time for their lives to be spared, but were transported to the hospital and listed in critical condition.
After catching on fire, the vehicle that was rear-ended by the semi truck, then rear-ended another vehicle on the road. The semi truck driver did not sustain any injuries, but the driver of the second rear-ended vehicle was treated for minor injuries.
The fatal accident occurred on I-65 in Kentucky, but the occupants of the vehicle that burst into flames were from Wisconsin and returning there after a trip to Florida.
Shortly after the collision, witnesses reported seeing the first rear-ended vehicle engulfed in a ball of fire. Some, armed with fire extinguishers tried to extinguish the flames before firefighters arrived, but to no avail – at least two fire extinguishers were emptied on the vehicle fire. Others were successful in helping the only two survivors from the burning vehicle, a 15-year-old girl and a 12 year old boy. Some of the witnesses who were present at the scene described it as “…pretty frightening.”
The cause of the fatal crash is still under investigation and the driver of the semi truck involved is reportedly cooperating with investigators. While it remains too early to speculate as to the outcome of this specific case, it is fairly safe to say that a semi truck driver who negligently or recklessly causes the death of another motorist faces legal action. Not only is it possible for certain cases of negligence or recklessness to give rise to criminal charges, they can also give rise to civil charges brought on by injury victims or, in the case of the deceased, their surviving family members (such claims are referred to as wrongful death claims).
Borrowing from the facts of the deadly I-65 crash, a semi truck driver may even be responsible for secondary collisions like the one that followed in the story above – but these cases are very fact specific and depend on several variables which are better explained by an attorney with full knowledge of the facts surrounding a case.
Other Responsible Parties
Depending on the facts of the case, it will be clear whether an employer of the truck driver can be held responsible in civil litigation claims. The law generally allows employers to be held liable for the faults of their employees, but certain exceptions to this rule may prevent victims and survivors of victims from recovering from employers. For more insight into their odds of recovery, injury victims and survivors of deceased victims should consult with an experienced personal injury / wrongful death attorney in their area.