It’s no surprise that the trucking industry is bound to some of the nation’s strictest regulations and standards. Given their size and weight and their need to share the road with smaller passenger vehicles, tractor-trailers bring a unique dynamic to the traffic around them. A simple traffic violation or other misstep can turn deadly in an instant when an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer is involved.
Anyone living and working in the Atlanta area knows how precarious and dangerous our roads often become, especially in peak commuting hours. Like most other parts of the country, Georgia and the Atlanta area specifically have seen their share of the recent uptick in devastating crashes, including deadly tractor-trailer accidents.
Lawyers who handle truck accident lawsuits often see up-close and first-hand the devastation, death, and injuries that occur on roads and highways throughout the country. Any violation or lapse in a driver’s judgment can instantly turn an everyday commute into a deadly situation. This is what happened to Karen Crisp, who lived and worked in the Atlanta metro area.
Beasley Allen’s Atlanta office represented Karen’s family in a wrongful death claim against a trucking company.
On March 31, 2021, Karen was driving home from her job in her 2020 Honda CRV. She was traveling southbound on Fulton Industrial Blvd SW in Atlanta. As she approached the intersection of Westgate Pkwy SW, a tractor-trailer traveling eastbound on Westgate Pkwy SW approached the same intersection.
The driver of that truck, Alex Webster, stopped at the stop sign at the intersection before proceeding into the median. But as he crossed, his 2005 Peterbilt 385 tractor-trailer completely blocked both southbound traffic lanes on Fulton Industrial Blvd. The move was a direct violation of widely known industry standards of care. Karen’s vehicle happened to be in one of those lanes at the time.
An investigation of the tractor-trailer accident gives us a clearer picture of what happened in the final moments of Karen’s life. The Airbag Control Module download from Karen’s vehicle shows steering inputs at two seconds and again at one second before the collision. This means she tried in some manner to avoid crashing into the tractor-trailer that suddenly was splayed out in front of her. Vehicle data also shows that she tried to stop her vehicle by braking two seconds before the crash.
Our investigation of the tractor-trailer accident also found evidence that Alex Webster’s truck was moving at the time of the crash. Karen’s vehicle swerved as she attempted to go around the back of the truck to avoid a collision, but there was not enough time or clearance. The resulting crash caused Karen, who was properly seatbelted, to suffer multiple head and facial injuries and lethal blunt force trauma. She died at the scene.
Although Alex Webster had stopped correctly at the sign before moving toward the median, his failure to yield had the same deadly effect for another motorist as if he had run the sign. Authorities cited him for Failure to Yield at Intersection and Homicide by Vehicle Second Degree.
Beasley Allen attorney Chris Glover in our firm’s Atlanta office represented the plaintiff in this case. Chris was able to settle the plaintiff’s wrongful death claim with the truck driver’s employer, First Choice Freight, LLC, without having to file a lawsuit.
If you or your family have experienced injury or death from a tractor-trailer accident, you will need a truck accident law firm that knows commercial trucking regulations and all the issues affecting trucking safety.
For information or questions about filing a tractor-trailer accident claim, contact Chris at 800-898-2034 or by email at [email protected]