Fireball 18-Wheeler Wreck On I-20

A motorist was killed when she collided with a large truck on Interstate 20.

The truck wreck occurred near Kilgore. According to police and witnesses, 62-year-old Melvin Edwards, of Shreveport, was operating his 18-wheeler eastbound in the outside lane when 77-year-old Amando Vega, of Chicago, Ill., pulled from the improvised shoulder onto the outside lane very close to Mr. Edwards’ truck. Upon impact, Mr. Vega’s car hit the guardrail and then ping-ponged back into the outside lane, where it became wedged between the large truck’s cab and trailer. The entangled vehicles caught fire and eventually came to rest on the improvised shoulder.

Mr. Vega was declared dead at the scene; Mr. Edwards was rushed to a nearby hospital, but he is expected to survive his injuries.

Truck Wreck Injuries

Fully-loaded large trucks weigh at least 80,000 pounds. Mainly due to this immense size, trucks have a stopping distance 40 percent greater than automobiles. So, even experienced drivers are hard-pressed to stop these vehicles suddenly, or even maneuver them in emergencies, to stop truck wrecks.

Under respondeat superior (“let the master answer”) and other third-party liability theories, the shipping company that owns the cargo, hired the driver, and/or owns the truck is normally at least partially responsible for damages in these cases. Furthermore, because of the vehicle size, truck wreck injuries are often catastrophic. Some of the serious injuries include:

  • Brain Injuries: When a large truck and a passenger vehicle collide, witnesses often say that the sound is like an explosion. This tremendous amount of force often slams victims’ heads into dashboards, windshields, doors, or windows, even if they are wearing their seat belts.
  • Burns: Gasoline burns at a different temperature from diesel fuel, which helps explain why truck wreck victims nearly always emerge with serious third- or fourth-degree burns that destroy tissue and always require skin grafts.

Damages in these case normally include compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Wrongful Death

The fatality rate is quite high in truck wrecks; some victims die almost immediately while others linger for days or weeks in hospital rooms. Louisiana has a special wrongful death statute that applies in these cases. In most cases, surviving family members can bring claims on behalf of the deceased victims. These plaintiffs are entitled to both economic losses, such as burial expenses, medical bills, and lost future wages, as well as noneconomic losses, such as the decedent’s pain and suffering and their own grief and loss.

Truck crash victims are often entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with Lee Hoffoss or T-Claude Devall, your experienced Lake Charles personal injury attorneys, contact Hoffoss Devall. Our attorneys are licensed in Texas and Louisiana.