Durham, NH — February 9, 2018, Meredith Hamel, Sotheada Ban, Richard Bernier, and four others were injured following an accident where an 18-wheeler ran a red light.
Durham Police officials reported that the accident happened at around 7:00 a.m. at the intersection of Route 4 and Madbury Road.
Preliminary reports were vague about what exactly happened in the accident. They claim that an 18-wheeler ran a red light at the intersection, crashing with a Jeep Wrangler, a Toyota Camry, and a Chevy Traverse.
The drivers of those vehicles, along with 4 passengers from the Chevy, were all taken to hospitals for treatment. 47-year-old Hamel, the driver of the Jeep, sustained critical injuries. The other two drivers, 53-year-old Ban and 51-year-old Bernier, have since been released.
Police say the truck driver will likely face a citation for running the red light. Further details have not yet been reported.
Map of the Area
In all likelihood, people will read these reports, see the truck facing a citation for running the red light, and assume the trucking company will automatically take responsibility for the accident. I’ve litigated hundreds of truck accidents over the years, and I have yet to encounter a trucking company–citations or not–accept full responsibility for an accident without putting up a fight. The simple fact of the matter is trucking companies have a lot to lose in a serious accident, so they have teams of professionals dedicated to minimizing that loss as much as possible. Victims and families unprepared to counter these efforts can easily find themselves cheated out of the justice they deserve.
Even in cases where a driver is charged or cited, that doesn’t guarantee they’ll be held accountable under civil law. A civil lawsuit still requires victims and families to seek out tangible evidence to support their side of the story. That evidence then must be compiled in a professional and convincing manner effective enough to convince a jury of normal citizens to hold the trucking company accountable. Without those efforts, a trucking company defense lawyer–with years of experience fighting these kinds of claims–can easily steer the ship and sway opinions to their favor.
Ultimately the point I’m trying to make here is that no matter how clear the fact pattern seems, there is no such thing as automatic fault. Those affected by an accident must take action to prove what caused the accident. Holding a trucking company accountable has significant challenges, and those seeking to hold one responsible must go to great lengths to make sure their side of the story is told.
–Grossman Law Offices