Maria, Maximo, Oralia Cremar, Norberto Sanchez Killed in Laredo, TX, Accident
Laredo, TX -- February 7, 2017, Maria, Maximo, and Oralia Cremar, along with Norberto Sanchez, were all killed after an 18-wheeler accident on the highway.
Officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety were called to the eastern end of Laredo to Highway 359 at around 7:00 a.m.
Reports have said that Maria, 93, Maximo, 74, Oralia, 66, and Sanchez, 46, were all in a pickup in the eastbound lanes of the highway. They slowed in order to make a right turn into a private driveway. As they did so, an eastbound tractor-trailer rear-ended their pickup, pushing it across the median and into westbound lanes.
In westbound lanes, the pickup was struck on its passenger side by an oncoming vehicle. As a result, all four victims died at the scene. The tractor-trailer driver also sustained injuries.
Authorities have not said if any charges or citations are being considered. They say fog may have contributed to the accident.
Investigations are currently ongoing.
Map of the Area
An 18-wheeler rear-ends a pickup and four people are dead. Most people are going to see this and think it's as open and shut as you can get. The truth is that 18-wheeler accidents are almost never that simple, because there is always some piece of evidence for a trucking company attorney to build a defense around.
A lot of the reports I've seen have said that fog could have contributed to the crash. This is a perfect target for a trucking company's defense lawyer. The easy route to take is simply to say that the truck driver couldn't see the pickup due to the fog. It's true that all drivers have a responsibility to adjust their driving for the conditions of the road, but all the trucking company needs to do is plant that seed of doubt and make it grow. The more they can reduce their liability the better.
Another direction the defense could take has to do with the second collision that happened in the opposite lanes of traffic. In civil law, juries are supposed to determine the proximate cause of the damages sustained in the accident. In other words, what caused the deaths of the victims: the 18-wheeler rear-ending the pickup or the oncoming car hitting them afterward?
It shouldn't surprise anyone that the trucking company likely is going to point the finger at the oncoming vehicle. They can do this by saying the other car had plenty of time to avoid the accident, but failed to. They could say that other car was speeding. They might contend, "Sure, our driver hit the pickup, but they would have survived if only the oncoming car reacted properly."
Why do trucking companies fight so hard when it appears obvious to everyone that their driver is at fault? The answer is that trucking companies can "win" these cases without winning them. They "win" by using flimsy devices to shift blame away from their driver. Every little bit of blame that is shifted from their client to someone else is money that they've saved. While they don't realistically expect to shift enough blame to end up not owing anything, the large amount of insurance that trucks are required to carry means that even shifting 10% or 20% of the blame to someone else saves a large sum of money.
I don't want to give the impression that trucking companies and their insurers are unstoppable. What stops them dead in their tracks is an experienced adversary who has seen these tactics before an knows how to combat them. While it may infuriate the victims' loved ones to hear such crazy allegations, it is important to remember that trucking companies want victims angry. They want them to act irrationally. They want to take advantage of an emotionally charged atmosphere to save as much money as they can. Knowing what to expect and remaining calm in the face of certain absurdity not only helps victims in their time of grief, but it allows them to steel their resolve in their quest to hold a wrong-doer accountable.
--Grossman Law Offices