Louisiana residents may be used to seeing reports of accidents involving large trucks and cars. It is not uncommon for the occupants of passenger vehicles to suffer severe injuries and even death, while the occupants of the trucks suffer little or no injuries. However, in an accident that recently occurred in New Orleans, the situation was quite the opposite and may lead to a wrongful death claim.
The Traffic Commander of the New Orleans Police Department reported that the driver of a fuel tanker truck lost his life in an accident with an SUV whose driver suffered no injuries. The accident report states that the SUV driver was traveling on the wrong side of the road and smashed into a tanker with a fuel load of 8,500 gallons. The impact apparently caused the tanker driver to lose control of the vehicle before smashing into a concrete sign at a gas station.
It was reported that the truck's cab was engulfed in flames within moments, and the fire soon started spreading to the tank. The efficiency of firefighters avoided further tragedy by extinguishing the fire with foam. Sadly, the driver burned to death in the cab. The SUV driver called 911, who alerted NOPD, and she was located at her residence where she claimed to have left the accident scene because her safety was threatened. She was taken into custody and will now be facing negligent homicide charges.
The family of the tanker driver who lost his life as the result of the alleged negligence of the SUV driver is likely struggling to cope with end-of-life expenses while mourning their loved one. They are entitled to pursue recovery of damages incurred after the accident, both through workers' compensation death benefits and civil litigation. They retain the right to file a wrongful death claim in Louisiana civil court based upon evidence of negligence on the part of the SUV driver. Successful presentation may result in monetary compensation to cover the cost of the funeral and burial, along with any additional damages allowed by state laws.
Source: wwltv.com, "Police: Wrong-way driver booked in fatal tanker fire", , Oct. 3, 2014