The scene on I-77 in Chester County made it clear something awful had just happened. As news footage and photographs reveal, huge masses of mangled metal littered the highway. Smoke billowed from the tractor-trailer. Police and fire crews raced to get there as fast as they could. In the end, they couldn’t save two of those involved in the six-vehicle South Carolina highway accident.
One of those who died was the driver of a tractor-trailer, while the other was an 82-year-old passenger in one of the other vehicles. Others injured included a 2-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old. The children were each taken by helicopter to a trauma center, some with injuries that were characterized as life-threatening.
Authorities told reporters with WYFF4.com that the driver of the tractor-trailer was responsible for a chain-reaction collision, which occurred amidst congested traffic, where vehicles were moving very slowly around 3:30 one afternoon. It appears the driver of the truck did not slow down as he approached the congestion. He slammed into the back of a vehicle, and this rear-end collision ended up causing a chain-reaction. The trucker apparently crossed into the median, striking another tractor-trailer vehicle traveling the other direction head on.
Upon impact, both tractor-trailers burst into flames.
The interstate was shut down for hours.
Although the families involved are still no doubt reeling from the impact of this crash, they will soon begin weighing the costs of this incident. There is the pain and suffering and the emotional toll, of course. But the medical bills were start pouring in. The loss of income from the time taken off work (or the inability to work) will soon be felt.
It is so important in these situations to consult with an experienced Anderson truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Particularly when there may be multiple claims for liability made against the same firm, it’s often better to be first in line. Truck companies can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees. But even if the driver was an independent contractor, the owner of the tractor, the owner of the trailer and perhaps the owner of the goods being hauled may all bear some responsibility, depending on the kind of contract they had with one another. Trucking industry contracts often spell out who must carry insurance, how much and for which type of incidents.
Both truck drivers, because they were on the job, may be entitled to workers’ compensation insurance benefits (or workers’ compensation insurance death benefits, for the family of the trucker who did no survive). These benefits are available regardless of fault, assuming the truck driver was not impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2014 (the most recent year for which these figures are available) there were 3,900 people killed and another 11,000 injured in truck accidents across the U.S. This represented a 2 percent decrease from the year before, though regulators noted that doesn’t necessarily indicate a trend (as much as we’d like it to). The vast majority of those killed in large truck accidents – 74 percent – are occupants of other vehicles. Another 10 percent are non-occupants (i.e., bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.).
Because these accidents so frequently affect those other than the driver – individuals who probably won’t be covered under workers’ compensation – it’s important for victims and loved ones to explore their legal options as soon as possible.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Fiery interstate crash that killed 2 caused by tractor-trailer, troopers say, Sept, 2, 2016, By Janice Limon, WYFF4.com
More Blog Entries:
Holiday Motor Corp. v. Walters – Convertible Car Makers Not Liable for Rollover Injuries, Sept. 9, 2016, South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer Blog