County Sued After Sewer Truck Involved In Fatal Accident
A county is facing a lawsuit involving one of their sewer trucks after a woman struck the truck and died on her way to the hospital. According to the complaint, the sewer truck was parked in the right-hand lane of a street and the victim did not have time to maneuver her vehicle around the truck before the collision. The sewer truck’s workers are accused of failing to place warning signals around the parked truck to avoid the accident. However, the sewer workers claim that hazard lights were on and a flashing arrow was present to direct traffic into the left lane. In addition, they claim that the driver rammed her vehicle into the sewer truck at a high rate of speed. The counterclaim lays the blame with the plaintiff for failing to operate her vehicle at a safe rate of speed and states that one of the utility workers was injured when her vehicle struck the back of the truck.
The case is headed to trial with a jury set to settle the matter. Much will depend on whether or not the utility workers followed protocol when they exited their truck. A failure to put on flashers, put up the arrow sign, or use the parking brake are all requirements for individuals operating that truck. A failure to abide by those safety protocols would shift the liability toward the defendants.
We can likely determine the probable outcome based on accident reconstructions. Everything will be considered from the lighting on the street that day, to where the vehicle was parked. Additionally, did the victim ever see the truck? If so, there should be skid marks. If there are skid marks, it may be more difficult to tell how fast the vehicle was going because it didn’t skid to a stop, instead it struck the truck. Without skidmarks, we can assume that the driver never saws the vehicle at all. We can determine her speed using the relative weight of the vehicles, damage caused to the vehicles, and how far the utility truck was pushed back. If she was speeding, it may reduce the state’s liability. If she was speeding and the utility workers placed up the warning signs, then the liability may completely fall on the victim.
For the victim, a determination as to whether or not the appropriate warnings were placed in an area that was visible to drivers is the key question. If there were no warnings, no flashing signs, and no flashing arrow sign, then at least some of the liability will fall on the state for failing to abide by their own requirements. If not, then this lawsuit may be very difficult for the plaintiff to win.
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