Truck driver Roumen Todorov Velkov, of Globe Carrier Co., killed five (5) people when he hit a line of stopped cars on Interstate 26 Sunday night, October 24, 2010. It does not appear the truck driver ever braked.
There is an excellent article about the problems in the trucking industry that may have lead to the crash (here) with information about the crash itself, but it ignores some of the likely causes which experienced counsel would consider. What are these causes?
- Controlled Substances (Drugs and Alcohol)
- Overdriving of Headlights (By the time you see something in the road at night, with your headlights, you cant stop in time because you are driving too fast)
- Improper training.
- Negligent Hiring of an unqualified driver
- Distracted driving - Cell Phones and Texting
- Faulty Maintenance (bad brakes)
These families will all need help and certainly have our prayers. Unfortunately minimum insurance coverage has not increased for tractor trailers since the 1980's (See Here) so there will likely only be $750K to go around in the primary policy, clearly not enough for a loss of this magnitude. The key is to hire an experienced trucking lawyer early in the process to see if other companies contributed to the wreck. This could involve, at a minimum, the shipper, the broker, or even a prior employer of the driver. These lawyers would, at a minimum, send spoliation letters such as the one found here.
I am sure the insurance agents are already promising to "take care of things" for these families. This is part of the formal "Apology" system designed to keep money out of the hands of the victims and their survivors. See my blogs here and here for more on this.
Trucking cases are complicated and intense, even if just properly prepared for mediation. I work with a number of great lawyers in North Carolina and would be happy to make referrals for any family member or answer any questions.