A fiery three-vehicle collision on Wednesday, December 8th resulted in the death of 48-year-old Odessa woman, Maria Louisa Loya. The three vehicles involved, Loya’s Chevrolet Trax and two semi-trucks, were all traveling eastbound on Interstate 20 near Stanton, Texas when the collision occurred. The impact caused all three cars to catch fire. The two semi-truck drivers, Maurin Jimenez-Mena and Zengfeng Shan, escaped unharmed.
In the event someone passes and the fault lies with the other party, wrongful death damages may be recovered by the deceased’s parents, children, spouse, or estate. This may occur in the form of personal injuries resulting in death, fatalities caused by drunk driving, or harm caused by a defective product. Wrongful death lawsuits are extremely tolling, so make sure you have the best wrongful death attorney to be there for your family.
Proving wrongful death
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim’s family will need to provide clear and compelling evidence to prove:
- What happened – A certified copy of the death certificate issued by the Texas State Department of Health is customary, but you may also use a signed statement from the funeral director, attending physician, or institute where the death was pronounced. Reports from the police, medical examiner, scene investigator, state authority, or US consul can be admissible in court.
- Who was responsible – Factual, unbiased statements about what the decedent and defendant were doing at the time of injury or death can be used to show how the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Expert testimony as to what a “reasonable” person would do in that situation can persuade the court. A lease, contract, hospital record, or surveillance footage can provide added context.
- Why it happened – A wide range of evidence can support claims of negligence, recklessness, or misconduct — medical records, physical evidence like clothing or vehicle wreckage, videos, photographs, black box recorder data, witness statements, or subpoenaed internal documents.
- What financial losses occurred – Pay stubs, tax returns, copies of medical bills, funeral bills, and burial plot receipts are all considered “loss.” Personal testimony from relatives regarding how the loss affected them personally, as well as expert testimony from forensic economists weigh heavily in court.
Who to Sue
Suing the correct party or parties can make the difference between a lowball settlement and fair compensation. Before the injured party can sue either the trucker or the company, the claim requires an understanding of the driver’s classification. In the event the driver is an independent contractor, the injured person may only have a case with this specific person or a manufacturer involved in a defective product.
Suing a Truck Driver
While the company can face liability issues for semi-truck wreck, the trucker must perform his or her duties adequately as well. This requires the driver to inform their employer of any health concerns; to remain within the hours of service and take off-duty time; brakes are up to state and federal regulations; to ensure that they’re checking on maintenance, and repairs. If the trucker becomes tired or drowsy, it is their responsibility to get off the road.
Suing the Trucking Company
While the company is not behind the wheel during the incident, it is possible to hold the business liable for damages when the trucker is an employee. Companies have control over employees, what they do, and how they accomplish the work. This can extend to training, maintenance with commercial trucks, and repairs. Any negligence in these matters can lead to liability in an incident. If the employee is currently working for the organization, the accident can hold both parties liable.
Since trucking firms are often well-insured, a Dallas truck accident lawyer would typically recommend suing both the driver and the employer. Typically, the company can be held liable for anything that occurs while the driver is “on the clock,” and representing their business.
A company must always provide their drivers with safe equipment, training, and all the information they need to drive under the law. Trucking companies that own the fleet are responsible for maintaining their vehicles to reasonably safe standards.
A Multiple Semi-Truck Wreck Attorney
Angel Reyes – Reyes Browne Reilley understand the ins and outs of dealing with trucking companies, as well as involving multiple insurance companies. Our attorneys recognize your ability to sue may be limited if the driver was off-schedule and driving for personal needs at the time of the crash. It is always worth calling an attorney for a free consultation before taking on your claim alone, as a number of legal technicalities can come into play in a truck wreck case.
There is no excuse for truck companies or their drivers to take shortcuts that endanger individuals’ lives on the road, and leave their families devastatingly trying to pick up the pieces. Call us by tapping the green button above, or submit your case here.