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“I have been prosecuting serious injury and wrongful death cases against trucking companies, auto makers and tire manufacturers for more than 30 years. Our firm maintains this blog to share information and insight on transportation safety issues that continue to arise on our nation’s highways and roads.”

Steven Little passes away following deadly tractor-trailer crash on I-40

WHEELER COUNTY, Texas- 60-year-old Steven Little was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash between his vehicle and a tractor-trailer on I-40 in the early morning hours.

According to official reports, the crash happened around 6:45 a.m. when a tractor-trailer drifted across the median and into opposing traffic, colliding with Little’s Toyota Tundra.

Little was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer and a passenger were taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is being conducted. No additional information is currently available.

The driver of the truck and his employer must be held accountable for the death of Steven Little

This was a highly preventable crash that never should have occurred. The family of Mr. Little deserves answers for the harm they have been caused and an opportunity to recover financial compensation for the suffering they must endure for the rest of their lives because of the sudden passing of Mr. Little. All wrongdoers must be held responsible.

The most apparent cause of accidents like this is distracted driving. More accidents today are caused by distracted driving than any other cause. In fact, distracted driving leads to more than 400,000 accidents per year. Although we would expect professional truck drivers to refrain from distracted driving, given the serious risk of harm posed by their vehicles, most truck accidents we handle are caused by distracted truckers. This is a serious issue that cannot go unresolved, and the solution starts at the top.

Unfortunately, many truckers only adhere to rules their employer requires them to follow. If distracted, fatigued, or impaired driving is not a big deal to the employer, it’s likely not a big deal to the trucker. As such, trucking companies have a duty to hire, train, and supervise employees to promote public safety. Failure to train employees on property safety protocols, or allowing flagrant safety violations to go unanswered, is negligence by the employer and must be accounted for. A detailed investigation of the employer’s safety culture will need to be conducted here to determine if such negligence contributed to this crash.

Potential causes outside the trucker’s control must be investigated before fault can be entirely placed on the trucker. For instance, a mechanical failure may have caused the trucker to lose control of the truck, drive through the median, and crash into Mr. Little’s vehicle. While this happens less frequently than driver error, we have handled hundreds of cases caused by factors outside the driver’s control just like this one. In fact, we are currently handling several cases where an 18-wheeler’s steer axle tire blew out and caused the truck to travel through the median and crash head-on with oncoming traffic. As such, mechanical failure cannot be ruled out as a potential cause until trained product liability lawyers have investigated the accident. If it is determined that an error with the truck caused this accident, the family has the right to bring a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer for the pain and suffering caused by their loved one’s passing.

Regardless of what the official investigation finds, we always advocate for an independent legal investigation, particularly in cases like this. Resource constraints often mean that official investigations stop at the first identified cause. Unfortunately, we find many accidents have more than one cause, and it is important to continue digging until all responsible parties have been accounted for. Only after all responsible parties have been identified can the family receive the justice they deserve.

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