Rolling Death: 18-Wheeler Accidents On the Rise
It is estimated that there are more than 2 million 18-wheelers on U.S. highways today. Each rig can weigh from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds. Unfortunately, the presence of those large trucks on the roads can pose serious risks to the safety of motorists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), large trucks accounted for 3,964 fatalities in 2013. It marked the fourth straight jump in annual large truck-involved fatalities, dating back to 2009.
There are many factors contributing to 18-wheeler accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the top 10 most common factors are:
When one dies because of the negligence by another party, their legal beneficiaries are entitled to wrongful death and/or survival action claims.
- Brake problems.
- Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash).
- Prescription drug use.
- Drunk driving.
- Traveling too fast for conditions.
- Unfamiliarity with roadway.
- Over-the-counter drug use.
- Inadequate surveillance.
Many of those factors are attributed to negligent and unsafe behavior on the part of the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the trucks or their parts, and/or the party responsible for maintaining the truck.
Beneficiaries who may bring claims
When one dies because of the negligence of either of those parties, their legal beneficiaries are entitled to wrongful death and/or survival action claims. The list of
beneficiaries may vary from state to state, according to each state's statutes. In many states, the list of beneficiaries who may bring such claims are:
- Surviving spouse and/or children.
- Surviving parents.
- Surviving siblings.
- Surviving grandparents.
- Succession representatives in the absence of any of the above categories.
A beneficiary falling in a higher category prevents those in lower categories from recovering.
The damages recoverable under the above-mentioned statutes also vary from state to state. A wrongful death claim is brought by a beneficiary to recover for damages suffered by him or her, which include: loss of love, affection, services, support and society, and grief. The survival action claim is brought by the beneficiary to recover damages that the victim could have recovered had he lived. Those damages include: pain and suffering, medical costs and expenses, lost wages and future earning capacity, and mental anguish.
Frank J. D'Amico, Jr. APLC can be reached at 622 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70113, http://www.damicolaw.net and Telephone: 504-525-7272.