When serious auto accidents occur, it is not always easy to determine the exact cause of the accident and which parties are liable. Often, multiple factors contribute to an accident. Accidents involving commercial vehicles are especially complex, because liability goes beyond the individual driver and may involve the trucking company and vehicle manufacturer.
A tragic case that illustrates the complexities of liability was an accident involving a school bus and dump truck on February 16, 2012 in Chesterfield, New Jersey in which 11-year-old Isabelle Tezsla was killed, and multiple other students were injured:
An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found multiple contributing factors to the accident. The bus driver was negligent in failing to register the oncoming dump truck before he pulled into the intersection, causing the collision. The NTSB concluded the driver was suffering from fatigue and side effects of prescription medications, and determined he had failed to report medical conditions before receiving his certification only weeks prior to the accident.
However, the school bus driver’s negligence, and failure of those who certified him to drive without a more thorough medical investigation are only some of the factors that contributed to the severity of the accident. The NTSB also found that the dump truck was traveling eight to thirteen miles per hour above the speed limit. Furthermore, the truck was overloaded by about 5,000 pounds, and the load was not properly secured.
Finally, an issue with the truck’s brakes reduced the effectiveness of those brakes by about 32 percent.
All of these exacerbating factors contributed to the severity of the accident because they reduced the truck’s ability to stop. Therefore both drivers, the bus company, trucking company, and company that loaded the truck may all be partially liable for the resulting death and injuries.
In multi-vehicle accidents, there are often many factors involved, and multiple parties may be liable.
Posted in Personal Injury
Tagged auto accident, personal injury claim