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Shapiro & Appleton

Crash Between USPS Truck and Oil Tanker Injures Both Drivers

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A collision between two large trucks in Suffolk, Virginia (VA), raises several questions regarding fault and liability. The wreck occurred on the afternoon of June 15, 2015, near the intersection of Carolina Road and Turlington Road. Both the driver of a U.S. Postal Service vehicle and the person behind the wheel of an empty oil tanker suffered injuries requiring hospital treatment, but they were expected to survive.

 

News reports include no details on which truck's operator likely caused the crash or why the vehicles ran into each other. Investigators will need to determine whether one of the trucks crossed the center line of two-lane Carolina Road, if a driver was turning, whether one or both truck drivers was speeding or distracted, and if alcohol or drug use made a driver potentially unsafel. Determining fault is necessary to allow both the drivers and the vehicles' owners to file insurance claims and, possibly, pursue compensation for damages through civil lawsuits.

If it turns out that the mail truck driver caused the wreck and injuries, claims and legal cases may be complicated by the fact the USPS is a government-chartered corporation. That status confers some forms of immunity from liability when its employees and property -- in this instance the service vehicle -- are responsibility for inflicting injuries and other forms of harm.

At the same time, learning that the oil tanker truck driver caused the crash would not ecessarily make collecting insurance settlements or succeeding in a lawsuit any easier. Commercial trucks and truckers often carry many forms of insurance, with separate policies covering the operator, the vehicle owner, the cab/tractor, and the trailer. Figuring out which policy applies in what ways requires a detailed investigation over and above any accident reconstruction.

When wrecks involving commercial and government trucks like this one in Suffolk happen, all the injured parties are well advised to consult with knowledgeable and experienced Virginia personal injury lawyers. Protecting one's rights and receiving the compensation one needs to recover physically and financially can be difficult without the help of a strong legal advocate.

EJL

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