Last week, on what seemed to be an otherwise nice, sunny
afternoon, 8 motorcycles and 4
cars were stopped at a traffic light in
While waiting for the light to turn green--and with no warning--a dump truck going too fast SLAMMED into the group causing unimaginable damage and destruction.
Like something out of a horror movie, the truck burst into a ball flames. When all was said and done 4 of the motorcyclists died. Others sustained substantial and critical injuries. It was shocking. It was tragic. And the entire incident was the result of one driver's failure to control his speed.
What happens next?
First, the families of the injured and deceased will have to take care of their loved ones. That is very clearly priority #1.
The dump truck driver may
well face criminal charges, although, to date, it has
been the policy of the
However, civil liability for the deaths and injuries is a virtual certainty. Four (4) deaths and horrific injuries to the survivors (physical, mental and emotional).
The driver of the dump truck will be held liable, as will his employer.
Some people might question why his employer is responsible. In Arizona, when a person is acting in the scope of employment, and causes an injury or damage, his employer is also held liable, under several theories: 1) that the employee is really acting to further the interest of the employer, 2) that the employer has the greatest degree of control over training, supervision and actions of the employee and 3) that the employer is the one that generally has insurance coverage in place to cover and protect itself and the employee for accident like this.
How much insurance is needed for a horrible collision like this? There is no good answer to that question, but let it suffice to say: a whole lot of it.
What happens if the insurance for the company and driver is insufficient to adequate cover and compensate the families and the injured for their damages and losses?
There is no easy answer to that question. In
In my practice, I regularly handle cases that involve motor vehicle collisions of a severe nature like this. I have many clients who were injured while riding motorcycles. Handling these cases takes some specialized skill to wade through the insurance company arguments and to find all avenues of coverage that exist---particularly when there are many claimants all seeking the damage payout from a single policy.
It's important for an accident victim to have a full understanding of what is and isn't possible in pursuing the full damages owed to them. Unlike what many may think, the insurance policy limits of the responsible party may not be anywhere near what is needed to compensate all victims and their families.
It is extremely important to get an experienced and board certified injury attorney in a complex case like this. It is not just a matter of “getting as much as you can”. It is a matter of understanding all that is going to happen, it is a matter of understanding that you have rights, and that there will be many legal issues to face other than making a claim for money. An experienced, board certified attorney understands all of these issues, doesn’t cost you any more than an inexperienced attorney, and will be able to assist you, with the legal skills and compassion, through the legal minefield that you have become involved in.
Our hearts go out to all that have been and will be affected by this senseless tragedy.