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Wrongful death suit filed after loved one is killed by trailer

Losing a loved one, under any circumstances, is difficult. This is particularly true when the death could have been avoided. A wrongful death case outside the state of West Virginia alleges that a defectively manufactured trailer caused a fatal accident in 2014.

A 54-year-old woman was on her way to give a motivational presentation when a 40-foot trailer pulled out in front of her. Unfortunately, the reflectors on the trailer were so thin that she did not see them, especially since the sun was not shining that morning. Tragically, her vehicle slid right underneath the trailer. She was only traveling roughly 35 mph, but the collision with the big rig stripped the entire roof from her small car.

She was hospitalized in a coma for more than four months. Officially, her death was listed as Oct. 20, 2014. In the wrongful death suit that her family has filed, they allege that the accident was 100 percent preventable. The family asserts that the trailer was defectively designed and that it should have never been allowed on the market by PJ Trailers.

The family asserts that the trailer did not contain any side guards. Although it is true that the National Highway Safety Bureau has been recommending them for decades, these side guards are not a requirement -- only the rear guards. According to one study, side guards could prevent 89 percent of the 530 injuries and deaths that took place in similar accidents between 2006 and 2008. With appropriate proof of negligence, the family may be entitled to a monetary judgment for financial damages. The same legal principles would likely apply to a wrongful death lawsuit in West Virginia based upon evidence of a defective product causing or materially contributing to a fatality.

Source:, "Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Trailer Manufacturer After Deadly Crash", Meagan Flynn, Aug. 27, 2015

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