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Western Pennsylvania tractor-trailer crash kills mother, daughter

Although car accidents take the lives of thousands of people every year, most of us don't think about the risk of serious injury or death we take every time we get into a car. Actively fearing an accident so often is not only a nerve-wracking way to go through life, but an inconvenient one, if it prevents us from traveling anywhere. For most people, it's only a passing occasional thought that might prompt us to buckle up and drive a little more carefully.

Still, auto accidents do happen, and many times they come with little to no warning. A fatal crash involving a semitrailer happened over the weekend in western Pennsylvania, in fact. The accident happened on Interstate 70 in South Strabane on Saturday. A tractor-trailer was traveling westbound when its driver lost control of the truck and crossed the median. Almost as soon as it crossed over and began heading into eastbound traffic, the truck tipped over on its side and crushed a car. The car's occupants, a 57-year-old woman and her 21-year-old daughter, were killed. Four other people were also injured, including two children, when their vehicle ran into the overturned truck just after the initial crash.

The truck driver, who was from outside the state, wasn't hurt, but he's now facing legal trouble. He was arrested after the crash and has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.

Meanwhile, the family of the mother and daughter, who were also from out of state, is left at a tremendous loss. They certainly couldn't have anticipated that just two days after Thanksgiving, they would lose two loved ones in one day. Now they must go through the excruciating process of planning two funeral services -- and paying for them.

Financial experts often say that the worst time to make major money decisions is under emotional duress, yet that is often the position that fatal accident victims' families find themselves in. These decisions can be made easier when there is some hope of future compensation. In this case, the victims' family members could decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, the trucking company he works for, or both. This is another major financial decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. To find out what such a case would entail and what the potential payoffs are, the family members of these victims would be wise to consult a personal injury attorney who can help them make a decision based not on emotions, but on the facts of the case.

Source: TribLive, "Trucker charged in I-70 crash that killed 2 people," Tim Puko and Adam Smeltz, Nov. 24, 2012

• Our firm handles car accidents resulting in injury or death. To learn more about our practice, visit our Harrisburg car accidents page.

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