More than two years ago, a Nebraska woman was killed when a truck crashed into her vehicle. The incident also left the victim’s passengers, both family members, injured as a result. Now, the truck driver has been found guilty of manslaughter and will spend up to 20 years incarcerated as a result. Of course, no type of punishment can bring back the woman he killed erase the memory of the tragedy from the passengers’ minds.
There were many facts to consider before the judge ruled. First, the truck driver claims he merely looked away from the road for a moment. Next, other drivers on the same stretch of highway testified that they felt the truck operator was moving erratically when they saw his vehicle weaving earlier that day, before the crash occurred. Additionally, the truck driver was found to have meth in his urine, although that evidence was not taken into account by the courts.
The sentencing of the truck driver with a felony of this kind ensures that he will be taken off the roads in the future. Nevertheless, it may only be the beginning of his legal difficulties. Simply because he has been convicted does not negate the possibility that he could find himself a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit, which is processed through the civil courts.
In cases similar to this one in Nebraska, where a truck driver was found guilty of the crime of manslaughter, the family members of the victim have pursued wrongful death claims against the convicted individual. When, as appears to have been the case here, the wrongdoer was working at the time of the accident, the employer has been added as a defendant. Those that have won their suits, or have settled out of court, are able to use any monies they receive to pay for out-of-pocket expenses and related damages authorized by applicable law.
Source: Lincoln Journal Star, “Judge finds dump truck driver guilty of manslaughter for I-80 crash“, Lori Pilger, Dec. 5, 2014