Traffic Flagger Injured by Hit-and-Run Big Rig on US-19 near Weston, WV
Weston, WV — December 6, 2022, a traffic flagger was seriously injured by a hit-and-run truck driver on U.S. Route 19 in Lewis County.
Authorities say the incident happened Tuesday along US-19 as the victim was flagging traffic around a vehicle being loaded onto a flatbed truck. Preliminary investigation suggests 29-year-old Catlin Bish approached the scene in a northbound commercial truck and hit the flagger, knocking him over a nearby guardrail.
The flagger was seriously injured in the collision and was transported to an area hospital.
After the impact Bish left the scene and traveled several more miles before pulling into a truck stop. The flatbed truck's owner found him there, at which point Bish allegedly surrendered and said he "wasn't going to run anymore." Authorities charged him with hit-and-run causing serious injury.
The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Big Rig Hit-and-Run on Route 19 near Weston
Following incidents like this many people see that the truck driver was charged and assume his employer will automatically be liable for the damage done. However, that's not rally how the law works. Criminal charges don't automatically imply civil liability, which companies will definitely use to their advantage as they look for ways to excuse themselves from responsibility.
People typically expect trucking companies and their insurance providers to step up and do the right thing after a serious crash--particularly if their drivers admit to criminal wrongdoing like fleeing a crash. Instead, they're often surprised to see the lengths those companies will go to if it means they could avoid liability.
For example, in another case I litigated a drunk truck driver hit and injured someone. Rather than help the victim, though, the company behind that driver hired a criminal attorney to help him beat the DWI charge. The company reasoned that if he was innocent of driving drunk then they couldn't be responsible for him causing DWI crash injuries. It was a nasty bit of work, but we had a strong enough case to keep them from seeing that argument through.
That's the sort of action which must be taken following any serious truck wreck. Charges may help a victim's case, but they're just one part of a much larger picture. The only way to ensure trucking companies take responsibility for a crash like this is to gather facts which show clearly and convincingly who caused the wreck and how. Many people who thought they had "slam dunk" cases have learned the hazards of not taking the needed steps.