When a car breaks down on the highway, the driver and passenger may act carefully when pulling over and getting out of the car when a tow truck comes to their aid. Further, the tow truck driver, must be careful when performing his task of operating the tow truck, as drivers flying by on the highway may not see individuals walking along the shoulder.
In that scenario, many may think the tow truck driver and the occupants of the broken down vehicle are at the greatest risk. However, in a recent highway accident, it was the occupants of the moving vehicle that were actually in the greatest danger and experienced the worst injuries.
A 23-year-old woman was killed when her pickup truck crashed into a parked tow truck. At the time of the auto accident, the tow truck was loading a car for towing. After the woman crashed into the tow truck, the pickup also crashed into a vehicle in the middle highway lane. The two passengers in woman’s pickup truck were also injured, and were taken to a local hospital. No other injuries were reported. The accident is still under investigation by the Nevada Highway Patrol.
Liability for car accidents is governed by the legal theory of negligence. Under the law, all drivers have to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances when they are on the road. Where a driver is found negligent, the injured parties can recover damages. There are many factors that courts consider when looking at whether a driver acted with reasonable care. In highway driving in particular, factors such as observing the posted speed limit are important. Additionally, most states also have laws that require drivers to slow down or switch lanes when they are approaching a vehicle that has pulled over on to the shoulder, including police and emergency vehicles on the shoulder.
Source: lasvegassun.com, “Woman dies after hitting parked tow truck on U.S. 95 in Henderson,” Brian Nordli, June 14, 2013
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