Three years after a truck driver in Pennsylvania was crushed to death by steel beams in his truck, is widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several parties, including the company that manufactured the beams, the tractor trailer manufacturer and the driver who stopped suddenly in front of him.
According to the lawsuit filed in Mercer County PA, her husband was driving steel beams in an open bed tractor trailer on Route 31 in PA in Jan. 2014. The woman driving in front of him stopped without warning, causing the beams in the back of the truck to fly forward, pinning him against the dashboard and crushing him to death.
The lawsuit blames the woman driver, who, it states, did not make proper observations of traffic conditions. She also is suing the company that made the tractor trailer, and the manufacturer of the straps that hold down the beams.
We are sorry for the loss of life in this apparent defective product case in Pennsylvania. When someone files a wrongful death claim involving a defective product, the entity that you file a claim against will most likely argue that the death was not caused by the defect. The company may argue that the accident was the fault of the accident victim.
Given that the driver who suddenly stopped in the above accident was not cited by the police, it seems likely that the defense for the manufacturers will argue that the truck driver caused the accident by not stopping in time or not maintaining proper distance.
An argument that the person failed to operate the product with due care is known as comparative negligence. If the defense is successful in claiming comparative fault, it can reduce the claim but the plaintiff still may recover some damages.
In one defective product case we have worked on in Virginia, the company did indeed try to deny that their product caused the injury, but we still resolved the case for $375,000.
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