Earlier this month in California, a man was killed when he was run over by a semi-truck driver. According to one local news source covering the tragic accident, the victim, who is believed to have been homeless, took shelter under the truck to escape the rain. At the time the man crawled under the truck, no one was in the cab, so he left his wheelchair next to the truck and took shelter. However, the driver of the truck returned after a short time.

18-WheelerWhen the driver returned from running errands, he got into the cab of the truck and pulled off. He immediately realized what had happened and turned the truck around. He later explained to police that he didn’t see the man under the truck. While the article does not discuss whether the truck driver conducted a pre-trip vehicle check before pulling away, it is likely he did not because had he performed a check, it is likely he would have seen the man under the truck.

At the time of the article’s publication, the accident was still under investigation, and no citations had been issued.

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Semi-truck accidents are known to be some of the most dangerous accidents, and also some of the most difficult to avoid. Unlike many other accidents, there is often little to nothing other motorists can do to avoid a semi-truck accident. This is especially the case when semi-trucks are being driven at high speeds.

Highway TrafficTo help manage the risk that semi-trucks pose on our nation’s highways, state and federal lawmakers have enacted rules and regulations for the trucking industry. For example, truck drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license, can only drive a certain number of hours per day and per week, and depending on what they are transporting, may be required to pre-register their cargo as well as their chosen route. All these regulations are enacted to keep the general public safe, and when a semi-truck driver or trucking company fails to follow these rules, they may be held liable for any injuries caused as a result.

Chain-Reaction Accident on Expressway Claims Three Lives, Injures Several Others

Earlier this week in New York City, a semi-truck accident on the Cross Bronx Expressway killed three motorists and injured several others. According to one local news source covering the tragic accident, a semi-truck was stopped in traffic in the middle of the Expressway when another truck came from behind. The second truck failed to stop in time to avoid a collision, and it slammed into the rear of a pick-up truck that had come to a stop behind the first truck. Another passenger vehicle was also struck by the second truck.

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Earlier this month in North Carolina, a five-year-old boy was killed when he was struck by an unattended dump truck. According to one local news report covering the tragedy, police investigating the accident believe that the truck was not properly secured when it was left unattended by the construction crew.

Construction EquipmentEvidently, the truck was parked on the side of a road in a residential neighborhood, near the top of a hill. A witness to the accident told reporters that a construction worker exited the truck, and then shortly afterward, the truck started rolling down the hill. The truck rolled for approximately 100 yards, taking down overhead power lines along the way, until it entered a resident’s driveway. The resident’s five-year-old boy was playing in the driveway and was struck by the unmanned dump truck. The young boy was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police arrested one man, whom they claim was responsible for the dump truck before it began to roll away. While the police have not disclosed the evidence they are using to make their assessment, they believe that the dump truck was not properly restrained when the construction worker exited the truck. Police are also looking into the safety record of the construction company to determine if similar violations have occurred in the past.

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Earlier this month in Michigan, a truck accident involving 53 vehicles claimed the lives of three people. According to one local news source covering the tragedy, the accident occurred when a sudden snowfall caused white-out conditions on the highway. Evidently, the massive chain reaction accident began when a semi-truck jackknifed, blocking most of the lanes on the highway.

Snowy HighwayAuthorities do not know exactly what happened in the moments after the initial collision between several cars and the jackknifed semi-truck, due to the number of subsequent collisions and vehicles involved. However, authorities are confident in labeling this as a weather-related accident, since the road already had a thin sheet of ice on it before it started to snow.

Witnesses to the accident told reporters that cars and trucks approaching the pile-up were applying their brakes as soon as they could see the upcoming collision, but they were often too late. Dozens of vehicles collided on the highway, and dozens more ended up off the road in an attempt to avoid what would have been a certain collision.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion in a case brought by a woman injured in a bus accident against the bus line. In the case, Gee v. Greyhound Lines, the court determined that a procedural mistake made by the plaintiff’s attorney was excusable and that the trial judge did not err when he allowed the plaintiff to remedy the mistake and proceed with the lawsuit.

School BusThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger who was injured on a Greyhound bus after the bus was involved in a crash. According to the court’s opinion, the bus struck two cars and then crashed into a tree. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the bus line, claiming that the bus driver was “driving at an excessive rate of speed” immediately prior to the collision.

Initially, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in Sacramento County. However, the defendant successfully petitioned the court to transfer the case to Fresno County. As a result of the transfer, the plaintiff’s attorney was responsible to pay an additional filing fee.

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Earlier this month, a tragic school bus accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee claimed the lives of six children and injured many others. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the driver of the bus has been arrested on vehicular homicide charges.

Kids Boarding BusThe accident occurred after school on the students’ ride home. Evidently, the bus driver was operating the vehicle at a high rate of speed on a road that was not a part of the driver’s route when he lost control of the bus and struck a tree. The force from the collision was so great that it bent the bus in half upon impact.

The Bus Driver Had a Checkered Driving History

According to the most recent news report covering the accident, the school bus driver had been the subject of several student and parent complaints in the past. In fact, there were reports that the driver had been driving too fast, had become agitated and aggressive with students, and had even intentionally come to a quick stop to make the students fall out of their seats. The driver had also been involved in another school bus accident just two months before.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Mississippi issued a written opinion in a chain-reaction truck accident case, affirming judgment in favor of the allegedly negligent truck driver and his employer. In the case, Ready v. RWI Transportation, the court determined that the plaintiff’s injuries in a subsequent accident not involving the defendant were not a foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ negligence. As a result of the decision, the plaintiff will not be permitted to pursue compensation for their injuries.

Truck MirrorThe Facts of the Case

A truck driver employed by RWI Transportation caused an accident when he made an improper lane change on a Mississippi highway. As a result of that initial accident, the truck and another vehicle were left incapacitated and came to a rest while blocking the highway. Traffic was slowed, and a significant traffic jam formed.

About 30 minutes later, while traffic was still moving slowly, Ready approached the traffic jam and crashed into the back of another vehicle that had come to a complete stop as a result of the traffic jam. Ready filed a personal injury lawsuit against RWI Transportation and the driver of the truck involved in the initial accident. Ready claimed that the truck driver’s negligence was the cause of the subsequent accident that resulted in his injuries.

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Earlier this month in South Carolina, four Maryland residents died after the vehicle in which they were riding was struck from behind by a semi-truck. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the victims included three siblings aged four, five, and seven, as well as another woman. Her relationship to the children is unknown.

Semi-TruckThe accident took place on Interstate 95 at around 4:00 in the morning. Evidently, the accident victims were heading southbound on I-95 in their 2001 Ford Taurus when an approaching semi-truck rear-ended them. The force from the collision pushed the car into a nearby ravine, where it struck several trees before coming to a rest. The truck also ended up in the ravine, falling on top of the car and trapping the occupants in the rear of the vehicle.

The driver and the front-seat passenger of the vehicle were able to escape, although they suffered serious injuries. However, all four people in the rear of the car were pronounced dead by emergency workers. The driver of the semi-truck suffered minor injuries. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

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Bus drivers, like other motorists, have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. However, unlike drivers of personal vehicles, most bus drivers are commercially licensed and are operating as “common carriers.” Simply put, a common carrier is a person or company that transports passengers for a fee. Examples of common carriers include buses, taxi-cabs, and semi-trucks.

Bus AisleDrivers always have a duty of care to ensure that they are safely operating their vehicles. This includes a duty to all other motorists on the road, as well as to the passengers inside the driver’s vehicle. However, the duty that a common carrier owes to its passengers is greater than the duty a member of the general public owes to a passenger.

Lawsuits brought against common carriers in the wake of a serious or fatal accident must meet several criteria before the injured party is entitled to compensation. Primarily, the injured party must show that the common carrier was somehow negligent. This most often is proven through evidence showing that the carrier was somehow careless or reckless in the operation or maintenance of the vehicle.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion that may be of interest to anyone who has recently been injured in a bus or shuttle accident. In the case, Huang v. The Bicycle Casino, the court held that a free shuttle offered by a casino for the benefit of its guests may mean that the casino is acting as a common carrier, giving rise to a heightened duty to keep passengers safe. While the court reserved judgment on that specific issue, the court did hold that the casino does have a duty to protect the passengers, even from other unruly or unsafe passengers.

Shuttle BusThe Facts of the Case

The defendant casino offered a free shuttle to its patrons. The shuttle held about 40 people, and due to the shuttle’s popularity among patrons, there would often be a line of passengers waiting at various stops. On the day in question, Huang was waiting with between 40 and 70 others, all hoping to get a seat on the shuttle. As the shuttle pulled up, all the patrons ran to board the shuttle and secure a seat. However, as Huang stepped onto the shuttle, the crowd behind her surged, causing her to misstep, fall, and injure her ankle.

Huang filed a negligence lawsuit against the casino, claiming that as a common carrier, the casino had a duty to ensure safe boarding of the shuttle. Common carriers, such as buses, trains, and taxis, are in the business of transporting the public and owe a higher duty to passengers than a regular citizen who may offer a friend a ride as a courtesy. In response to Huang’s claims, the casino argued that it was not acting as a common carrier in operating the shuttle, and any duty it did owe to Huang did not include the duty to prevent negligent or aggressive actions by other passengers on the shuttle. The trial court agreed with the casino and granted its motion for summary judgment. Huang appealed.

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