Some things are common to all states in this country. Wisconsin drivers can relate to anyone who must pass by cars and trucks that have pulled over on the shoulder of the road. When truck accidents or car crashes involve one of these stopped vehicles, it’s not surprising to learn the driver of the moving one was distracted or sleepy.

One would think a disabled truck, tow cab, Tollway vehicle and state trooper car all parked on the shoulder would be sufficiently visible to oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, this was not the case according to a lawsuit filed by a trooper and his wife. The 38-year-old officer remains in intensive care while recovering from several surgeries needed for injuries he suffered in January. The lawsuit contends a truck driven by the defendant plowed into the line of emergency vehicles that were parked near the semi-truck. The fiery collision killed the Tollway worker, and the trooper was seriously injured.

According to the complaint, each emergency vehicle was properly stopped with emergency lights operating when the truck accident happened. The trooper and his wife are parents of two young children. They demand damages for pain and suffering, disfigurement and disability and economic losses.

It’s alleged the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel. He had been driving for more than 36 hours. His trucking log was falsified and safety rules were disregarded so he could keep driving, according to the police report. He is charged with multiple felonies. Negligence is also charged against his employer for failure to inspect and ensure the driver’s compliance with safety regulations.

The family has filed a claim in excess of $1 million. It is possible that punitive damages might be available as well. Understanding the liability of employers and drivers who don’t operate safely can be helpful in planning for recovery after an accident. Truck companies and drivers are accountable for their business choices.

Chicago Tribune, “Lawsuit filed by trooper hurt in crash that killed worker” Meredith Rodriguez, Feb. 11, 2014