Pittsburgh truck accident claims two lives
A Pittsburgh court held the preliminary hearing of a man who is charged with causing a multiple vehicle accident in Washington County. Police are releasing few details about the official cause of the accident, but the man is facing vehicular homicide charges as a result of the truck accident.
While driving a tractor trailer, the man said his “brain shut off,” which some believe to mean he fell asleep at the wheel. The truck crossed over the median of a major highway, crashing into a car and killing a mother and her daughter. A third vehicle was caught in the accident as well, injuring two more people.
Even though the man is facing criminal charges, victims of an accident like this need to seek civil damages since a criminal conviction will not yield them financial recovery. In a civil lawsuit, if victims can show that the defendant was negligently driving, then they could recover monetary damages for their injuries.
Negligent driving can include a wide variety of things; speeding, failing to yield to traffic signs, distracted driving and driving while too sleepy to exercise proper care could all be considered negligent driving.
It is unclear if the man was on the road for a trucking company at the time of the accident, but if he was, there is a possibility that the company could be liable for damages to victims as well. If an employee is behaving negligently while under the scope of employment, like transporting cargo for a trucking company, then the company may be held responsible for that employee’s negligence. This is known as vicarious liability, and this theory is particularly useful if the defendant has no assets that a victim can recover from.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh, “Tractor Trailer Driver: My Brain Shut Off,” (http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/11/28/tractor-trailer-driver-in-rt-70-accident-in-court ) Nov. 28, 2012