Lee Saenz Killed Merkel, TX, 18-wheeler Accident
Merkel, TX -- February 8, 2017, Lee Saenz was killed following an accident where his motorcycle and an 18-wheeler crashed.
The Merkel Police Department responded to the fatal crash scene. It occurred around 11:00 a.m. on I-20, just east of Merkel.
Preliminary reports have not been specific on exactly how the accident occurred. They have stated that 62-year-old Saenz was driving a motorcycle traveling eastbound on the interstate. Their paths and that of an eastbound 18-wheeler somehow crossed, and the two vehicles collided.
The motorcycle went underneath the trailer, where Saenz sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
Authorities have yet to determine the exact factors contributing to the crash. They say that speeding, alcohol, and drugs do not appear to be involved at this time.
Investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
At this point in time, authorities haven't released many details on exactly how this collision happened. All we know it that the two vehicles made contact and the motorcyclist went underneath the trailer. A lack of evidence can make determining liability very complex, but civil law works in such a way that even with little evidence, a jury can still decide who is at fault.
This is possible because the burden of proof in civil cases is the preponderance of the evidence. This legal term is far more simple than it sounds. Everyone is familiar with the image of Lady Justice balancing scales. Those two scales represent the two arguments made by each side in any case. If the evidence on one side has just a tiny bit more substance, the scales tip in their favor. In civil trials, having slightly more evidence that the other side is enough to win.
Let's say we have two drivers contending the other one was at fault for a particular accident. There is no evidence except each person's word of what happened. Say Driver A is a family man, a doctor, pays his taxes, does charity work, etc. And let's say Driver B is an ex-felon with tattoos on his face and he curses like a sailor. Based only on each person's account of what happened and what the jury knows about each driver, they could determine that Driver B was at fault simply because Driver A seems more likely to be telling the truth.
Now, this is an extreme example, but it illustrates how entering a case with few details can lead people to make assumptions. So let's apply that logic to this accident. All we know from news reports is that an 18-wheeler and a motorcyclist crashed. They were both going the same direction, and the motorcycle went underneath the trailer. It would be safe to assume that the motorcycle did not crash into the back of the semi nor vice versa, so we can say it was probably a side-swipe accident.
Going off only those details, which of these options sounds more likely: the motorcyclist didn't see an 18-wheeler next to him or the truck driver didn't see a motorcyclist next to him? I don't know about you, but I've never been on the road and failed to notice a 40 ton vehicle driving next to me. I imagine a typical motorcyclist has to be more aware of what is going around them than people who drive cars. Of course, that's just what I can infer based upon scant information.
In order to determine exactly what really happened, there needs to be a thorough investigation. With all of the details at hand, there doesn't need to be a situation where jurors are forced to fill in the blanks with their own assumptions. Accidents like these are a reminder that while the ultimate goal for every accident victim is justice, the first step on that path is getting answers.
--Grossman Law Offices