A Suffolk, Virginia (VA), man’s death may have resulted from a rear-end collision involving a tractor-trailer. The crash happened just before 12:30 pm on April 17, 2017, and early reports characterized the 84-year-old pickup truck driver’s injuries as “minor.” He went to the hospital for treatment, however, and he remained hospitalized until he passed away on the evening of April 21.
According to police, the man who died had been trying to turn right into a driveway in the 3300 block of Holland Road when a semi struck his pickup truck from behind. The impact sent the pickup off the road and into the corner of a house. No charges were initially filed against either driver, and the investigation into the wreck remains open.
Analyses performed by the Federal Highway Administration revealed that commercial truck drivers caused the largest number of rear-end collisions when a driver in a smaller vehicle slowed down in front of the semi and when the person in the smaller vehicle was attempting to make a right-hand turn. That same report lists the six most-common errors by a commercial truck driver that led to rear-end collisions as
- Driving inattentively (e.g., reading, talking on the phone, fatigue-induced)
- Failure to stop for a stop sign or light (also, early or late through a signal)
- Failure to slow down in a construction zone
- Unsafe speed (e.g., approaching too fast from the rear/misjudging truck's speed)
- Following too closely
- Failure to slow down in response to environmental conditions (e.g., fog, rain, smoke, bright sun)
If the completed crash reconstruction indicates that the tractor-trailer operator engaged in any of these negligent or reckless behaviors, the family of the deceased pickup truck driver might have grounds for filing wrongful death insurance claims. Heavy commercial trucks are required by federal regulations to carry multiple forms of insurance to cover the driver, the tractor/cab and the cargo. Consulting with a knowledgeable Virginia wrongful death attorney would help the family determine which policies apply.
Another reason to work with a dedicated Virginia wrongful death attorney who has experience helping victims of truck crashes is that collecting on insurance claims filed for this rear-end collision in Suffolk will require showing that the man died as a result of the injuries he suffered in the wreck he did not cause. A plaintiff’s lawyer will make sure that the family gets full access to all relevant medical records and work to counter arguments from the insurance company that some other problem led to the death.