Widow nets $3M in equipment crash case

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The widow of a man who was killed in a strange highway accident in 2005 was awarded $3.2 million in a wrongful death jury trial in late September. The woman, who hails from Canonsburg, received the money in connection with her husband’s death. He perished when a large piece of mining equipment fell from the back of a tractor-trailer onto his vehicle.

Ninety percent of the liability in the case was placed upon the owners and operator of the tractor-trailer rig, which was based out of Wheeling, West Virginia, according to court records. The remaining 10 percent was placed upon the mining company that owned the equipment.

The suit had alleged that the mining company failed to ensure that the equipment was properly secured before transport. Incident reports indicate that the large piece of equipment featured several components that weighed more than 100 pounds. One of those was left untied on the top of the machine as the tractor-trailer rig departed.

In late 2005, the man was traveling down Route 221 in Washington County when the component launched through his windshield. The victim was reportedly killed instantly.

Attorneys for the woman alleged that both companies were negligent when they failed to properly inspect the equipment for safe transport. The trailer had several warning labels about loading that were disregarded during the transport procedure.

The driver of the vehicle was convicted on several other criminal counts, including driving with an unsecured load. He had also been charged with careless driving, along with operating a vehicle with unsafe equipment.

Even though the trucking company and the driver had admitted in court that they were solely responsible for the accident, the jury chose to attribute 10 percent of the liability to the mining company. That firm intends to appeal the verdict.

The man left behind his wife and two young daughters, according to media reports from the area.

Source: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Jury awards $3.2 million to widow of man killed in highway accident,” Paula Reed Ward, Oct. 6, 2012