If you’ve ever been next to a commercial truck negotiating a curve at high speed, you can appreciate the sense of fear that many drivers have of these metal beasts. Loaded to the hilt, a commercial truck, such as a dump truck, can weigh 80,000 pounds. But did you know that improper loading of these vehicles can cause or contribute to horrible accidents?
Consider the case of the Walsh family. Dan and Gail Walsh had two autistic sons in their 20s. Gail volunteered in the autism community where they lived, in Pennsylvania. She also took care of the couple’s sons.
One day in 2012, Gail was driving her SUV when a fully loaded dump truck swerved and overturned onto her vehicle. Her SUV was pushed backward 50 feet, and the sand in the back of the truck poured over her SUV, burying her alive. Dan had to leave his job to stay home and take care of the couple’s sons.
The truck was owned by a materials company and driven by one of its employees. The driver had the sand loaded at a quarry in New Jersey.
Gail’s husband brought a lawsuit against the truck driver, the materials company, the quarry, the truck manufacturer, a company that modified the truck, and a passenger car driver involved in the accident. The truck manufacturer and modifier both settled their parts of the case before trial.
The case went to trial, with experts supporting both sides. The main contentions were that the truck had been improperly loaded and that the truck driver did not handle the traffic situation presented to him reasonably.
With regard to loading, the experts debated about whether having the sand mounded and extending above the dump truck bed caused the rollover. The parties’ experts also differed as to whether Gail would have died quickly or suffered a lengthy, painful death.
The jury awarded a total of $10.5 million in the case, clearly agreeing that Gail suffered horribly. Ultimately, the jury assigned half of the responsibility for causing the accident to the other passenger car driver. It also assigned 35 percent to the truck driver and 15 percent to the quarry that loaded the sand into the truck.
If you or a loved one suffered major injuries in an crash with a commercial vehicle, contact the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP right away at 888.777.1776. We have decades of experience representing accident victims and their families. Call now: Delay could harm your case