• April 28, 2022

Woman Killed in Truck Accident on South DuPont Highway in Harrington, DE

Harrington, DE -- April 27, 2022, an 18-year-old Millsboro woman was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer on South DuPont Highway in Harrington.

Authorities say the incident happened around 10:30 a.m. along DuPont Highway. Preliminary investigation suggests a northbound 18-wheeler entered the left-turn lane but passed through it and entered the southbound lane, where a Volkswagen Jetta crashed into its right-rear tandem wheels.

The VW's front passenger suffered fatal injuries in the collision. The car's driver was airlifted to an area hospital but the extent of his injuries is unknown. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on 18-Wheeler Accident on DuPont Highway in Harrington

After reading the details in news reports some people may feel there's little more to say. A truck crossed into oncoming traffic and got in the victims' way, triggering the crash; what else is there to know before deciding the commercial driver is at fault?

That may seem reasonable at a glance, but no commercial truck accident is really that simple. That's not to be cynical or to upset anyone--just to set expectations. I've done this work for decades and I can still count on one hand the companies I've encountered that simply accepted the blame and made things right without a fuss. Instead, the majority of companies bitterly contest responsibility and look for ways to deflect fault elsewhere if they can. Bad roads, mysterious brake failures, or even the victims themselves all become scapegoats for the defense.

Woman Killed in Truck Accident on South DuPont Highway in Harrington, DE

A crash in Texas not long ago shows how far out of left field some trucking defenses can be and why it's so important to find the objective facts to refute them. I didn't litigate this particular case, but I can think of few clearer warnings about the need for a careful and thorough investigation. In that situation an 18-wheeler veered onto a highway's shoulder and hit a man changing a flat tire. The victim's family rightly felt the truck driver was negligent, and their attorney thought the facts were clear enough that he didn't have to prepare for the company's insurer to fight back in court.

The defense team caught them completely off-guard by claiming the truck lost control due to a faulty wheel manufactured by a foreign company. Because the attorney hadn't gotten a forensic analysis of the truck done to refute that, somehow the absurd argument convinced the jury. They put 100% of the blame on the wheel's manufacturer, letting the trucking company off essentially scot-free. After that the victim's family was left with little more than an empty chair to pursue as they sought answers and accountability.

That crash and the one in Delaware obviously aren't identical, but one thing that's almost certain after virtually every commercial wreck is that victims must expect pushback from trucking companies and their insurers. With a thorough investigation a case can be built based on clear, convincing evidence. That case then helps victims and families overcome the obstacles put in their way by the defense. Will the necessary steps be taken here to ensure all the facts are found so the victims and their families have what they need to seek help and justice?

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