According to reports, the driver of a big rig choked on some food, lost consciousness behind the wheel, and plowed through a dividing guardrail, striking a BMW and causing both vehicles to catch fire. The two occupants of the BMW are believed to have died on impact. The accident, which was reported at about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 28th 2013, shut down at least one side of the highway, I-80 in California, for several hours. In addition to striking the BMW, the big rig jackknifed and struck several other vehicles on the roadway, but no other serious injuries were reported.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Crash?
When an accident involving a big rig occurs on the highway, there are several people and entities that may be held responsible. Primarily, in a case involving a driver who lost consciousness, the driver and the driver’s employer are the two most likely parties to be named in a personal injury lawsuit. If other factors contribute to a driver’s inability to control the truck, like an improperly secured load, individuals responsible for contributing to the other factors may also be held responsible.
When Accidents Cause Death
When another party is responsible for an auto accident that results in a death, the survivors of the deceased victim are allowed to pursue wrongful death charges. Wrongful death charges allow survivors to collect damages from anyone who was responsible for the death. Those damages may be awarded in the form of monetary compensation for loss of consortium, expenses related to dealing with the death like medical and funeral expenses, and, if the deceased was a breadwinner, compensation for earnings which the deceased can no longer provide for his or her household.
What if No Criminal Charges are Filed?
In the United States, it doesn’t matter whether or not criminal charges are pursued, injury victims and survivors of accident victims are allowed to pursue civil charges in court. Unlike criminal charges, civil charges are brought by individual citizens, not by public prosecutors. Also, while the consequences of criminal charges typically include a loss of freedom and the imposition of fines, only monetary loss is a consequence of civil charges. The idea of letting private citizens seek retribution in the form of monetary compensation is an old legal principle that seeks to deter “eye for an eye” justice while still giving accident victims a form of redress.
Cut and Dry Cases
Cases that could be described as “cut and dry” are rare in the legal world. Most cases will involve laws and rules with which a victim or victim’s survivor is unfamiliar. Even if a case seems simple on its face, failure to present a legal argument properly can result in a legitimate victim being unable to collect the compensation he or she deserves. For best results, accident victims and survivors of deceased victims are encouraged to work with an experienced semi truck accident lawyer / wrongful death attorney from the outset of a case. This way, parties seeking compensation can be sure that they have the best possible chance of collecting everything that they deserve.