LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The truck driver who parked his rig on the side of a Southern California freeway was the cause for the horrific SUV crash that claimed three lives, an L.A. jury concluded.
Despite that the SUV collided into the truck – which was parked in the emergency lane.
The lawsuit, which was launched over four years ago, alleged the truck driver pulled over on the shoulder to sleep, ignoring signs that stopping wasn’t permitted unless in emergency situations.
In addition, both the trucker and the California-based trucking company were deemed negligent for parking on the side of the freeway in night-like conditions without setting up any light or emergency reflectors around the rig.
In response to the allegations however, defence attorneys argued that the truck driver’s impromptu stop on the side of the road was to be able to take medication in order to quell a severe headache, which constituted an emergency.
A final conclusion by the jury last week reportedly came after three days of deliberations, eventually ruling in favour of a 13-year-old girl – who lost her entire family when the SUV collided with the truck and caught fire – who was awarded over $150 million in damages.
“It’s hard for her to comprehend,” said the young girl’s attorney in a Los Angeles court.
The family was heading towards Oregon in the early morning of Nov. 22, 2009 to visit relatives for Thanksgiving when the accident happened.
The girl’s father, who was driving the SUV at the time, tried to pull onto the right-hand shoulder of Interstate 210 just after encountering some debris on the highway – and crashed into the truck which was parked in the morning darkness.
Following the collision, the girl and her younger brother managed to escape from the flame-engulfed SUV, unfortunately her parents and older brother remained trapped and perished inside.
In their deliberation, the jury agreed that the girl’s father was also negligent, but determined his actions were not a substantial factor in causing his family’s deaths.
According to the California Highway Patrol, no debris that may have caused the SUV to pull onto the curb was recovered, however investigators did find noticeable damage on one of the vehicle’s rims, suggesting that its driver could have hit something before colliding with the truck ahead.
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