The victims in this accident were a husband/wife driving team who had been driving together for about 10 years. Shari Wood Linder was driving at the time of the accident; her husband, Ricky Keith Linder, was in the sleeping compartment of the truck. They were driving a semi that was hauling two trailers. Shari was driving eastbound and for some reason veered off the road causing the semi to hit a cement barrier. The semi rolled over and exploded. Overhead power lines also caught fire from the explosion.
According to officials, the explosion resulted from the contents of the trailers, which contained flammable automotive products and cleaning products. A Hazmat team was dispatched for containment and cleanup.
The accident remains under investigation.
In the US, one in every eight traffic deaths results from a collision with a large truck. In 2007 alone, 101,000 injuries resulted from tractor-trailer accidents. Common factors in these accidents are truck driver under-qualifications, speeding to meet time schedules, and the leading error, driver fatigue.
In Arizona, there are a few select people who can make a claim for the death of another. A parent, a spouse and a child are the only classes of people who are allowed to bring these claims. Now, assuming that the Picacho Peak collision was the result of driving error by Mrs. Linder, the law gets a bit tricky here. Could the husband bring a claim against his wife, for her death? He could most certainly bring a claim against her (the claim would actually be brought against her “estate”) for his own injuries and damages. The liability insurance on the truck would provide for any payments to be made for these claims.
Depending on what the investigation shows, there are other possibilities as well. Suppose that another vehicle caused Mrs. Linder to veer and lose control? Suppose also that this could be somehow proven, but the identity of the other driver could not be ascertained. What then? If the Linders had uninsured motorist coverage on their truck, this could provide Mr. Linder a recovery for the death of Mrs. Linder. For the very few reasons mentioned, it really is imperative that people in this situation get an experienced personal injury/trucking injury attorney involved as early as possible. A thorough and early investigation, to find and preserve evidence, can be crucial to the outcome of these claims.
We send our condolences to the entire Linder (and extended) family.