Anyone who has driven on the nation’s Interstate Highway System can attest to the large number of semi-trailer trucks that use the same highways. Most semi drivers are well-trained and obey traffic laws, especially speed limits. Nevertheless, semi-trucks are frequently involved in serious motor vehicle collisions that injure or kill other drivers and their passengers. An especially serious semi-trailer truck crash south of Milwaukee on I-94 recently demonstrated the extent of the threat posed by these highway goliaths.
A semi heading south on I-94 attempted to make a lane change and hit a construction barrier. The driver over-corrected and hit the median wall. The wall was shoved into the northbound lanes, where it was struck by three other cars. The truck that hit the retaining wall burst into flames that quickly engulfed the three the northbound cars. A second semi that was traveling north swerved into a ditch in an attempt to avoid the burning vehicles. This truck also burst into flames. Both semi drivers died in the accident, and two other persons suffered serious injuries. A Flight for Life helicopter was ordered by the highway patrol, but it could not take off because of adverse weather conditions.
Officials said that the semi driver who intentionally drove into the ditch was a hero. According to the sheriff, the man knowingly risked and lost his life to prevent further casualties. The exact cause of the accident has not been disclosed, and the mechanical condition of the errant truck is also unknown.
Assessing liability in truck accidents can be more complicated than passenger vehicle collisions because the owner and operator of the truck may be different legal entities, and each may bear a portion of the fault for causing the accident. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident may wish to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on determining fault, assessing damages, and estimating of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.