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Determining responsibility in some truck accidents is complex

Semi-truck drivers are required to go through extensive training before going onto public roadways. Yet, Connecticut residents can rent something like a U-Haul truck without any training other than a normal driver's license, which can lead to truck accidents. These larger vehicles require a different driving style than a passenger vehicle, which makes it easier to make serious or deadly mistakes.

A U-Haul truck is at the center of a lawsuit filed by a woman who was injured at a fraternity sanctioned tailgate party at the 2011 Yale Bowl. A fraternity member was driving one of these trucks in order to transport some beer kegs to the tailgate party. Tragically, he somehow lost control of the vehicle. It then plowed into a group of pedestrians.

A 30-year-old Massachusetts woman died from injuries that she suffered in the crash. Two more women suffered injuries. When police arrived, the truck's driver was given a field sobriety test, which he passed. As part of a deal with prosecutors, he ended up pleading guilty to unreasonable speed and improper start, the penalties for which were less than the criminally negligent homicide charge he originally faced.

One of the women who were injured filed a lawsuit against the fraternity and the driver of the truck. As happens in many cases involving truck accidents, the fraternity attempted to avoid a jury trial. However, the Connecticut judge presiding over the case decided that it would be heard before a jury. Once the jury hears evidence from both sides, it will be tasked with determining whether the driver was negligent, and the fraternity is legally liable in the crash before considering the damages requested by the plaintiff.

Source: NBC Connecticut, "Fraternity Called to Trial in Case of Deadly Crash at Yale Bowl Tailgate", Aug. 17, 2015

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