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Articles Tagged with tractor-trailer wrecks

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The Kentucky Court of Appeals has found that Virginia law applied in an uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage dispute arising out of a Kentucky tractor-trailer crash. In an unpublished opinion, a Virginia truck driver sued the insurance carrier for another motorist who struck his big rig head-on. The tractor-trailer wreck occurred on Interstate 65 in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in 2009. At the time of the collision, the other motorist was allegedly intoxicated and traveling in the wrong direction on the freeway. Following the accident, the truck driver settled with the at-fault driver’s liability insurer for the full policy limits of $25,000.

After that, the semi-truck driver’s motor vehicle insurer waived its subrogation rights against the other driver.  The trucker then sought $25,000 in UIM benefits from his own auto insurer. The truck driver’s UIM insurer denied his claim because the at-fault driver was not an underinsured motorist according to the definition included in his insurance policy. In addition, the company claimed that Virginia law allowed it to offset the $25,000 payment the truck driver received from the other driver’s insurer against his potential UIM benefits. Because of this, the trucker’s insurer claimed that he was not entitled to receive additional payment as a result of his UIM coverage.

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In Wright v. Carroll, a woman who was seriously injured in a tractor-trailer crash filed a lawsuit in Elliott County Circuit Court against the driver of the big rig that struck her automobile. In her complaint, the woman accused the semi-truck driver of negligently maintaining the vehicle. She also alleged that the wreck occurred because the truck driver operated the vehicle in a negligent manner when he lost control of the 18-wheeler and entered her driving lane after navigating a blind curve in the road. In the initial trial, the jury sided with the tractor trailer operator, but that verdict was overturned by the Kentucky  Court of Appeals due to improper jury instructions.

According to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the jurors should not have been instructed on the sudden emergency doctrine, since the tractor-trailer collision did not constitute an emergency that the driver could not have anticipated. As a result, the personal injury case was remanded for a new trial. Following a second trial, jurors again entered a verdict in favor of the truck driver. The trial court denied the woman’s motion for a directed verdict, and she appealed the jury’s decision. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the trial court should have granted the woman’s motion and ordered the lower court to hold an additional trial only on the issue of damages. The tractor-trailer driver then sought review by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

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