Passenger Rights in Virginia Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Injured passengers have rights in Virginia tractor-trailer accidents. In a recent case in the Richmond area, lawyers acting for a 10-year-old girl who was hurt in a crash between her mother’s car and a big rig made a claim against both the trucking company’s insurance and the carrier of the girl’s mother.
In most cases, passengers who sustain injuries are not responsible in a car, truck, bus, or motorcycle crash. An exception to the rule would be if a passenger grabbed the steering wheel or was fighting with the driver, causing a crash. In Virginia, any degree of blame for a wreck, known as contributory negligence, can prevent a motorist from making a successful recovery.
Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported on an accident in September 2016 on Interstate 295 in Henrico County. The 10-year-old girl was a backseat passenger in a car driven by her mother. They were traveling north when they encountered a tractor-trailer that was stopped on the right shoulder. The rig re-entered the highway and a collision occurred.
The report in Virginia Lawyers Weekly noted the older model tractor-trailer was not equipped with a black box. Most truck manufacturers now provide black boxes as standard pieces of equipment on their vehicles. Black boxes can provide a wealth of information such as the speed the truck was traveling at and when it pulled onto a highway before a wreck.
The car was traveling at 73 mph on I-295. The driver did not brake, according to onboard electronic systems. The report noted she had over two football fields of sight distance between her and the truck before the impact.
The girl was taken by ambulance to VCU Medical Center in Richmond where she remained for three days. Her symptoms included multiple breaks to her left forearm, lacerations, and an injury to her right leg. The girl also sustained a traumatic Grade III perineal laceration, an injury that required surgery.
The girl made a speedy recovery from orthopedic and other injuries. She was released from the care of a doctor within two months of the tractor-trailer accident. However, the perineal laceration and its surgery required ongoing monitoring. The surgeon who treated the girl said she would likely not need further surgery. However, it was her view that the injury could lead to an increased risk of tearing if the girl underwent natural childbirth in the future.
Passenger Rights in Virginia Tractor-Trailer Accidents – Multiple Defendants May be Liable
Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported the claim was settled for $535,000 in 2018. The tractor-trailer insurance carrier paid $485,000 and the girl’s mother’s insurance carrier paid its limits of $50,000.
The funds were placed into a structured settlement for the benefit of the girl with a projected payout of over $1 million. Special damages of $78,037 in medical bills were met in the case. The girl was represented by Ryan E. Wind, a personal injury lawyer from Mechanicsville.
The case illustrates the rights of passengers in tractor-trailer accidents in Virginia. This extends to passengers in big rigs who are hurt in wrecks caused by the truck driver or passengers in other vehicles.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, our Norfolk based tractor-trailer injury lawyers help scores of injured passengers make claims every year against commercial drivers, their employers and other motorists who cause traffic accidents. Please call us for a free consultation today at (757) 455-0077.