Everyone knows that driving defensively will decrease the chances of being involved in a car accident. But sometimes even following all the rules of the road and keeping an eye out for aggressive drivers or potential road hazards isn’t enough to avoid a crash. That’s especially true on interstate highways and other high-traffic roads. Even if a driver is able to avoid sudden danger, other drivers may not be as alert or able to anticipate an accident, and too often the result is a collision that is beyond the cautious driver’s control.

A horrifying fatal accident that occurred this week is an example of what can happen when road hazards suddenly appear. One of two men driving service trucks for a petroleum company was killed Thursday in a collision with trucks that were traveling in front and behind him. The crash was triggered by a road obstruction; a bed mattress had fallen off another vehicle traveling on Interstate 83 in York, Pennsylvania. Not long after the mattress landed on the highway, the petroleum trucks approached. Both drivers saw the mattress and slowed down to avoid it or at least lessen the impact.

But a semitrailer that was driving behind the second truck didn’t see the mattress and didn’t react quickly enough to the other truck drivers’ braking. The semitrailer rear-ended the second petroleum truck, sending it crashing into the truck in front of it. That collision caused the truck to ignite and go up in flames. The driver wasn’t able to escape the truck and died at the scene. The other two truck drivers were both injured and sent to a hospital, one with serious injuries.

Determining fault in this accident will take some time and a thorough examination of all the factors involved. The driver of the vehicle that dropped the mattress was responsible for failing to secure his load, but should the driver of the tractor-trailer share some of the blame for failing to stop in time? These are the questions that a judge and jury must answer if the injured drivers or the family of the fatal victim choose to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, which would offer compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial costs, lost wages and other damages.

Source: PennLive, “Mattress in roadway led to fatal crash on Interstate 83 in York County, state police say,” Jeremy Arias, Feb. 22, 2013

  • Our firm handles a wide range of traffic accidents affecting Pennsylvania residents. To learn more about our practice, visit our Harrisburg car accident page.