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Wrongful death lawsuits continue after van crash

There are many causes of commercial vehicle accidents, such as impaired or negligent drivers and defective equipment. Two years after a fatal van accident in Indiana, litigants are pursuing numerous claims and arguing that the cause of the accident was an unsafe vehicle or a drunk driver.

On September 24, 2015, 24 Washington residents were passengers on a van driving to work at AmeriQual in Evansville. On Interstate 69 near Mackey, a tire on the van blew as its driver was passing another car. The driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed, killing a 60-year-old female passenger and another 29-year-old passenger who was pregnant. The victim's baby was able to be saved. Other passengers were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment of their injuries.

The family of the surviving infant filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the baby and her brother for the loss of their mother. However, there are possibly 22 other lawsuits pending in federal and state courts throughout Indiana for compensation for their injuries and lost time from work. The two-year period for filing lawsuits expired on September 24.

The causes of the accident allegedly go beyond a blown tire. One plaintiff's attorney said that the owner of the van improperly modified it with improvised seating to fit more passengers. Toxicology reports also show that the 30-year-old driver of the vehicle was driving under the influence of alcohol. He was prosecuted and sentenced to 14 years of incarceration for his role in this accident.

Attorneys claim that insurance companies are trying to escape coverage. Defendants argued that the insurance companies were not also named as defendants in the lawsuits. Defendants have included AmeriQuai, a staffing company, a tire company, the van driver and its owner. Lawyers and judges have attempted to consolidate or settle some of these claims.

Commercial vehicle accident cases may be complicated. An attorney can help victims or their families seek compensation for their losses.

Source: Washington Times Herald, "Two year on, still waiting for answers," Kristi Sanders, Sept. 22, 2017

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