Construction zones are becoming increasingly dangerous for driving conditions due to speeding semi-trucks. Almost everyone driver in Kentucky has experienced it. You see the signs of a work zone, then the lane merge signs, then the flashing work zone reduce speed limit signs.
As you, and most other cars and trucks slow down and merge as you enter the construction zone, you are suddenly passed by a large tractor trailer truck speeding by while trying to merge in ahead of the line at the last minute, causing all the other drivers to hit their brakes to avoid rear-end collisions.
In most cases, this results in some minor fender benders. In worse case scenarios, the results can be deadly. These tragic, serious wrecks are 100% avoidable if the truckers would simply slow down and obey the speed limits and warning signs.
A Recent Example of a Truck Wreck Case Our Personal Injury Attorneys Took On
Our firm recently handled a major wreck involving a large truck that attempted a last-minute, high-speed merger in a construction zone. The accident occurred on an interstate in Kentucky that had been under road construction for months. The construction crew had rolling shutdowns that occurred in the afternoon daily. Once the shutdown occurred, it resulted in delays of thirty minutes to an hour if you were caught in the traffic jam.
Our client was traveling through Kentucky to return to Tennessee during the afternoon when the road crew began merging traffic over for the shutdown. Our client followed the directions and began to slow from 75 mph to 55 mph as the signs directed. They also merged into the right-hand lane of the interstate as the left-hand lane was ending a mile ahead due to the construction. Once traffic was merged into the right-hand lane, the construction crew had posted signs slowing the traffic down to 35 mph and then ultimately stopped traffic 3 miles ahead.
Due to the high number of cars and trucks on the interstate, Kentucky State Police were present with their emergency lights on to ensure everyone was slowing down and merging. As our clients SUV reached the point where the left lane ended, an 18-wheeler semi-truck attempted to cut over and merge in front of them. The truck driver had ignored over a mile worth of warning signs directing them to slow down and merge into the right-hand land.
Instead, they increased their speed and sped down the vacant left-hand lane to get ahead of the slowing traffic and cut over at the last second. As the truck driver was successful in merging the cab into the right-hand lane, just ahead of our client’s vehicle, the trailer portion of the semi wasn’t so lucky. As the cab portion merged in front of our clients SUV, our client hit the brakes because they were startled by the speeding truck darting over at the last second. The truck driver plowed ahead and merged the entire trailer over which caught our client’s car in-between the axels of the trailer, causing it to flip onto its side as the trailer portion wasn’t tall enough to allow the cabin portion of the SUV to fit underneath it.
The truck driver slammed on his brakes causing the trailer to jack knife and roll over our clients SUV, crushing the occupants which included his father and brother, and his brother’s son. All occupants were pinned inside the crushed vehicle as it slid over 500 feet with the trailer on top of it before coming to a stop. The child survived the crash with cuts, bruises, and a broken arm. The adults were all severely injured. All three sustained significant traumatic brain injuries and broken bones.
Fire and Rescue were on the scene within minutes because they were able to access the wreck due to the lane closure and having a free lane to travel on to get to the scene of the accident. They had to use the jaws of life to cut one of the adults out of the SUV who died on the scene due to his brain injury and fractured cervical spine. The other two adults were transported by air ambulance to University of Louisville for Emergency Trauma care. One required over 5 surgeries to repair a severely shattered femur and foot and ankle bones. The other adult passenger required emergency neurosurgery to relieve the pressure on his brain due to swelling. The trauma surgeons were incredible in that both adults survived.
How Our Louisville Personal Injury Attorneys Were Able to Help in This Tragic Truck Wreck Case
Our firm was contacted over 6 months after the wreck due to all the medical care and arraignments the family members had to contend with following the injuries. There were multiple witnesses that we had to track down with the help of our private investigators to establish the length of time the trucker had not only ignored the change in traffic pattern and speed limits but acted contrary to them. In addition, we had to track down his former employer to establish that he was fired from his previous trucking job for similar conduct that resulted in an injury accident a few years earlier. After learning this we were able to prove that the freight broker that hired the driver was negligent in their selection due to his poor driving record which had a history of accidents and a suspension of his CDL. Our personal injury attorneys were also able to establish that the road construction company had improperly measured the merging distance of the lanes which exacerbated the truck driver’s actions by leaving virtually no room to escape if someone tried to cut over at the last minute as the truck driver had done.
After completing our investigation, our Louisville personal injury attorneys were able to establish liability on both the truck driver, and the freight broker who contracted the driver and the road construction company. As we do in all our cases, we prepared the case for trial by retaining the best experts in the fields of truck driving, driver training, broker operations, road construction and engineering and medical and economic experts on damages.
This was a complex case due to the multiple injured clients and multiple defendants. Once damages and expert reports on liability were established the defendants resolved the case for a significant sum of money that included the amount of the insurance policies from the truck driver, trucking company and freight broker.
A week before trial, the road construction company paid a very high 8 figure settlement to avoid going to trial. A portion of the money recovered allowed the family to receive the very best in medical care, construct a home that allowed them to live as comfortable as possible with their injuries, and compensated them for their loss wages and lost future earnings due to their injuries. This case demonstrates the importance of trucking companies and freight brokers in performing proper driving training and background checks, so they do not allow reckless drivers on the road.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm Today
If you or your loved one were involved in a truck wreck, or any kind of motor vehicle accident in the state of Kentucky, our Louisville personal injury attorneys are standing by ready to help, with over 70 years of experience. Contact us online or call (502) 210-8942 today!