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Car accidents involving tractor-trailers take a heavy toll

The most difficult task for first responders in West Virginia and everywhere else is the handling of catastrophic accidents that involve injuries to one or more children. This was a problem recently in a fiery accident that occurred on the Interstate 77 in Mercer County. A tractor-trailer crossed the median and crashed into an oncoming vehicle carrying two adults and two children, all of whom died in the crash. Such car accidents involving tractor-trailers are the most dramatic in terms of property damage and the most expensive in taking a human toll.

The truck overturned after the collision and burst into flames. The air carried the sparks of the conflagration to a nearby tract of trees and started a forest fire. The overturned trailer caused a wide swath of destruction that backed up traffic for miles on I-77.

It is still unknown why the driver lost control. The West Virginia State Police are in the midst of their investigation. The accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. when there was still visibility.

The truck driver was himself severely injured and hospitalized for life-threatening injuries. The two minor children who died were reportedly between the ages of 10 and 15. Claims for wrongful death damages can be made on behalf of the four deceased victims in the appropriate civil court against the truck driver and his employer. It is usually determined to be negligence when an operator allows the vehicle to cross a median and travel into the oncoming lane of traffic.

The decedents were from another state, but their representatives will likely have to sue in a federal or state court here in West Virginia. The first step in the case of decedents from car accidents is for the next of kin to file an estate in their own state and then to enter appropriate papers in this state in the county court house where the accident occurred. Each estate may claim damages for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, along with pain and suffering up until the time of death.  

Source: wsaz.com, "UPDATE: 4 dead in fiery I-77 crash in southern W.Va., including 2 kids", April 14, 2017

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