The most elementary skills one learns when beginning to drive is to carefully scan your surroundings for oncoming traffic and to yield the right-of-way when necessary. Because these are such fundamental skills, it is easy to assume that commercial truck drivers have learned this over and over again, as they are trained to drive professionally. Unfortunately, too many commercial truck drivers don’t drive with the utmost precaution, as was the circumstances which led up to a recent wrongful death case that we tried on behalf of one of our clients.
Helping a Grieving Spouse
In a recent wrongful death case taken on by Clay Dugas & Associates, our client was the victim’s wife, who was suffering both the emotional pain of the loss of her husband as well as the financial damage incurred by the incident. As a party who was directly damaged by the trucker’s negligence, our client was able to sue on her own behalf, as well as on the behalf of her husband’s estate.
The Events of the Accident
The plaintiff’s husband was travelling southbound on a local area highway while the truck driver was parked in a private driveway that exited onto the highway. Though the highway drivers clearly had the right of way, the trucker pulled out of the driveway, failing to yield to the highway traffic. This resulted in a collision between our client’s husband and the big rig truck.
The Loss This Accident Caused
Our client’s husband was hospitalized and ultimately succumbed to his injuries and unfortunately died. This resulted in the monetary damage associated with his medical bills, expensive funeral and burial expenses, as well as the property damage to the vehicle he was driving at the time of the accident. Additionally, our client suffered from the loss of support that her husband would have provided had he not died. There was also a devastating emotional loss associated with the grief and mental anguish that our client had to endure over the death of her husband.
The Legal Grounds for the Case
In making the case for compensation of these losses, we asserted the following charges against the trucker:
- Failure to keep a proper look out
- Failure to apply his vehicle’s brakes in a timely manner
- Failure to yield the right of way
Because the truck driver was acting within the scope of his employment for two commercial food companies, and because they had entrusted him with the operation of their truck and trailer, we also filed charges against both of those two companies. The charges focused on negligence in training and supervision.
The tragedy suffered by our client can never fully be justified; she will always have to live with the loss of her beloved husband. It is important, however, that justice be served, that our client receive fair compensation for her loss, and that a message be sent to commercial trucking companies and their drivers that reckless negligence will not be tolerated. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to assist our client with her legal rights and help her through the difficult process.