The Missouri State High Patrol has reported that at approximately 6:46 a.m. on January 12, 2015, a 2007 Freightliner truck struck and killed 54 year old pedestrian Daniel Dekeyser. The Freightliner was being operated by 70 year old John Waugh of Holden, Missouri, in the eastbound direction of US Highway 50, approximately .5 miles west of Daviess Road. Daniel Dekeyser, a resident of La Month, Missouri, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop A.
It is reported that Dekeyser was also involved in a crash immediately before the impact with the Freightliner. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that at 6:44 a.m in the same location, Dekeyser was pushing his disabled 1999 Mazada 626 across the roadway of westbound U.S. 50, when Dekeyser and his vehicle were struck by 63 year old David Henness of Paola Kansas. Henness was driving a 2009 Kenworth T660 in an eastbound direction on US 50 when he struck Dekeyser and his vehicle. After the impact, Dekeyser was thrown into the driving lane of US Highway 50 where he was struck by the Frightliner.
Determining Fault in Multi-Vehicle Crashes
In crashes where multiple vehicles are involved, fault is often difficult to establish. In a tragic case of this nature that involves a fatality, an accident reconstruction is typically conducted. An accident reconstruction by the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Major Crash Investigation Unit provides detailed reporting of serious crashes involving fatalities, commercial motor vehicles and crashes resulting in felony criminal charges. The crash team utilizes Robotic Total Station technology which helps paint and extremely detailed picture of how the crash occurred.
In addition to the Major Crash Investigation Unit, insurance companies for the party’s involved will also send investigators to the scene of the crash in an attempt to make an independent determination of how the crash occurred. It is important for those involved in the crash, and the families of those wrongfully killed, to be aware that the insurance companies are often interested only in obtaining information which is beneficial to their interests. The parties involved in the crash, as well as the families of those killed, are entitled to retain their own accident reconstruction experts in order to investigate the scene and ensure all evidence is fairly compiled.
It is also important to remember that large tractor-trailer truck accidents provide even more data than a typical car accident. Large commercial trucks like the 2007 Freightliner have onboard devices known as ‘electronic control modules’. These devices provide information about how fast the truck was going at the time of the crash, braking distances, and other vital driver data which can help determine how the crash occurred. These devices must be downloaded by an expert with the proper equipment.
If the fault of those involved cannot be agreed upon after all the evidence is gathered, a jury may be required to hear all of the evidence and make a liability determination. A jury would be responsible for listening to all of the experts findings, witness testimony, and other relevant evidence before making their determination. After hearing all of the evidence, a jury may determine that several parties were to blame for the crash. If this occurred, the jury would be required to assign a certain % of fault to each party. Simply because you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, does not mean you are unable to recover for your loss. For this reason it is extremely important that you have an accident lawyer fighting to make sure the insurance companies do not unfairly assign fault to the wrong party.
More importantly, in a situation where one party is killed in the crash, it is even more important that the evidence is promptly gathered to ensure the surviving party’s testimony is truthful. If a loved one is lost in an accident, the family members of the deceased may be entitled to reimbursement for medical expenses, burial expenses, lost wages of the deceased, and other compensation associated with the loss of their loved one through a wrongful death claim. While it is certainly the last thing a family wants to deal with following a tragic loss, it is extremely important that the case is protected so the family can seek reimbursement for their loss at the proper time.
For more information about what can be expected after a fatal truck crash, feel free to call (314) 409-7060 to speak to a Top 100 Trial Lawyer. There is no charge to call and discuss your case. We are here to serve.