The state has moved to take safety measures along the Interstate in the Kanawha Valley, including the West Virginia Turnpike, after the occurrence of several tractor trailer accidents. Most recently, near the Edens Fork exit along Interstate 77, a driver lost control of his truck when the lumber he was carrying began to spill out. The truck began turning, and when the driver tried to straighten it, he lost control. A very similar accident happened three weeks prior at the same location.
West Virginia Division of Highway officials will check to determine the structural cause of the accidents — whether the area needs road signs or cable barriers or some other solution. Most of the accidents have occurred in rainy conditions, and officials speculate whether a high-friction road coating, which could give drivers better grip on the road, would help drivers in inclement weather conditions.
Already, the West Virginia Park Authorities has enacted measures to make a part of the turnpike near the Cabin Creek exit safer, after four tractor trailer accidents in the past two months. Signs have been posted, and area police have agreed to patrol the area in an effort to slow down traffic. A new flashing sign has also been added to the Sharon and Pain Creek exits to warn drivers of an imminent steep curve.
If you are involved in an accident with one of the drivers described above, you would be justified in hiring a West Virginia traffic accident attorney and filing a negligence lawsuit. You would argue that the driver had a duty of care to other drivers to operate safely according to the rules of the road. The driver breached this duty and as a result of the breach, you were injured. The resulting damage could be anything from whiplash to a broken back. If you filed this suit, however, you need to be prepared for the other driver to provide defenses. One defense that the driver is certain to bring up is that the curve of the roadway was responsible for him spinning out of control and causing you injury, rather than poor driving. If the other driver provided sufficient evidence, a jury might find him credible and find that he was not guilty of negligence. Of course, even if the roadway design were partially responsible, the driver could still have driven too fast, or acted in other ways that were careless. He or she would still be partially responsible for your injury. Under West Virginia law, the only time you would not be able to collect — other than if the jury found there was no negligence — would be if you were 50% or more at fault for the accident.
If you found evidence of a serious roadway design flaw — especially if there was evidence state officials knew of the flaw, but chose not to act — you might also be able to successfully sue the agencies involved in the design and construction. As with the driver, you would claim that they acted negligently by not following reasonable standards, or by failing to correct the roadway design flaw once it was known.