Collisions between two or more trucks can be especially destructive. A heavily laden truck traveling at or near the speed limit develops a great deal of kinetic energy that must be discharged or absorbed when the collision occurs. This principle was recently demonstrated in a two-truck collision in Southampton County.
According to Virginia State Police, an International tractor-trailer truck was heading east on Route 58 near its intersection with Route 671 at about 11:30 a.m. The driver was apparently obeying the posted speed limit, but for unexplained reasons, his truck rear-ended a dump truck that had stopped or slowed due to traffic ahead on the road. The tractor-trailer then hit a Chevrolet Malibu, and the dump truck was pushed into another tractor-trailer.
The first two of the involved vehicles both burst into flames. The driver of the tractor-trailer died upon impact; his passenger, a 57-year-old man from North Carolina, was thrown from the cab and died when he hit the ground. The driver of the dump truck suffered non–life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local hospital. The driver of the Chevrolet suffered minor injuries, while the driver of the second tractor-trailer suffered no injuries. Local officials said that alcohol was not a contributing factor in the accident.
As with most truck accidents, liability will be difficult to establish because the operator of the tractor-trailer may not be its owner. Liability could depend on the qualifications of the driver of the tractor-trailer. The owner of the truck or the party who may have rented the rig is responsible for ensuring that the person hired to drive the rig had the proper training and qualifications.
Failure to ensure the competence of the driver may serve to pin liability on the owner or lessee of the truck. The accident may also have been caused by failure to properly maintain the tractor-trailer. If further indication shows that the brakes were in poor condition, the party responsible for their maintenance may be held liable.
Consulting a seasoned accident attorney may be beneficial
Sorting out the potential causes of the accident and the liability of the individual parties may require the services of an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can provide an evaluation of the evidence and assist in efforts to determine the responsible party.