A trucker from Virginia has recently pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a horrible accident that occurred in Nevada in 2011. The truck accident reportedly occurred when the driver ran into the rear of a disabled car and propelled it into a nearby tow truck, killing three individuals in the process. At the time of the crash, a stranded couple and their dog were in the vehicle to keep warm.
Following the wreck, the driver admitted to speeding and staying behind the wheel longer than federal law allowed him to do so. The kicker: the excuse he gave for both mistakes was that he had been in an earlier accident that left him behind schedule on his route. He also said the reason for the crash was that the two-truck lights blinded him, which led to him slamming on his brakes and sliding over 200 feet into the victims.
The trucker now faces three counts of involuntary manslaughter, and is set for sentencing on June 2. Sources didn’t indicate whether the families of the victims have filed civil suits in connection to the accident, but one would hope so. Whenever a trucker causes an accident like this, they need to be held accountable.
In a case like this, it may be possible for the families of victims to obtain punitive damages. The latter are not intended, like other damages, to compensate the victim but to punish the defendant when his or her behavior is particularly egregious. In cases where a trucker violates federal trucking safety laws, it may be possible to obtain such damages, though it is important for those in such a situation to consult with an experienced attorney to have their case evaluated.
Source: Richmond Times Dispatch, “Va. Truck driver pleads guilty in Nevada crash that killed three,” March 25, 2014.