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West Virginia family fights for justice after 2008 fatal crash

The years-long legal struggle for a family in Taylor County continues. A woman filed a lawsuit on behalf of her late husband's estate after he was killed in a motorcycle accident close to Pruntytown. The lawsuit was filed in 2010, but the fatal accident occurred in 2008.

According to court documents, as the deceased man and his son drove their bikes on U.S. Route 50, a dump truck crossed into their lane. The truck hit the elder motorcyclist, who died of his injuries.

As is the case in most wrongful death lawsuits involving multiple insurers, complications arise regarding the allocation of liability. In this case, the father of the dump truck driver is the owner of the company to which the truck was registered. The owner also owns and operates a number of other businesses, all of which were named as defendants in the lawsuit, as were the businesses' insurance companies.

An issue with regard to the federal Motor Carrier Act of 1980 sent the case to federal court, but on May 10 a U.S. district judge remanded the case back to a state court in Taylor County. The judge decided that an endorsement in one of the defendant's commercial vehicle insurance policy may be a "federal element," but the endorsement itself does not mean the case should be decided in a federal court.

Such matters are understandably complicated for people who aren't in the legal profession. To ensure that the full amount of compensation is awarded in due time, West Virginia residents would do well to consult with an attorney with experience in holding insurance companies accountable.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Lawsuit over fatal motorcycle accident returned to Taylor County," John O'Brien, May 13, 2013

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