• April 07, 2022

Driver and Passenger Killed in Truck Overturn Accident on US-119 in Letcher County, KY

Letcher County, KY -- April 6, 2022, a truck driver and passenger were killed in an overturn crash on U.S. Highway 119 in Letcher County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 8:00 a.m. on US-119 near Junction 2035 on Pine Mountain. Preliminary investigation suggests a commercial truck was hauling logs north on the highway when the driver reportedly failed to negotiate a curve. The truck overturned and rolled onto its top.

The truck's driver and passenger, neither of whom were restrained by seat belts, suffered fatal injuries in the crash.

The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Truck Accident on US-119 in Letcher County

Folks tend to jump to conclusions with single-vehicle 18-wheeler accidents, assuming that the driver fell asleep at the wheel or was using their phone when they ran off the road. Even with the limited information available in reports it was noted the driver "failed to negotiate a curve," but that could still have been for a number of other reasons: Mechanical issues in the truck, road hazards or improper design, or driver medical emergencies can't be ruled out without a proper investigation. It's important not to point any fingers prematurely and afford the driver the benefit of the doubt while other possibilities are explored.

Of course, part of any accident is looking at what happens afterward. Depending on what's learned about the US-119 crash the driver's family will probably receive some assistance from their state's workers' compensation program. However, the same might not be true for the truck's passenger and their loved ones. That bears some further consideration.

Driver and Passenger Killed in Truck Overturn Accident on US-119 in Letcher County, KY

Investigators must learn why the passenger was in the truck that day. If they were a fellow employee and were working at the time, their family may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits as well. However, if they were simply along for the ride--a friend, family member, or even just a hitchhiker--and not employed by the driver's company, then the family may have grounds to make a wrongful death claim against that company for the loss of their loved one.

There are some circumstances where workers' comp might not apply even if the passenger was a company employee--for instance, if they weren't officially "on the clock," doing something else in their off-time or napping in the truck's sleeper berth. If they were technically off the clock according to the rules and standards of their employer, their loved ones may still have recourse against the company whose driver allegedly caused the fatal wreck.

Despite appearances, I don't bring all that up just to find someone to sue. I'm saying that commercial truck accidents are rarely simple and there are usually further implications to them. All their particulars must be learned through careful investigation. That typically requires efforts from independent accident reconstructionists who have the experience and equipment to make sure no important details slip through the cracks. Are the authorities in charge of this crash able to offer those resources?

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