A tractor trailer driver in Norwood, Massachusetts accidentally backed over his co-worker on Aug. 7, killing him instantly.
The police in Norwood told the local media that a 911 call came in at 3:30 PM from the driver from Sunbird Transport. The pair had been working all day delivering roofing supplies on Upland Road in Norwood.
It was not clear what the victim was doing behind the truck at the time of the accident. But investigators stated that the driver reversed his flatbed truck without seeing him, and killed the victim instantly.
The police chief noted that it is especially difficult when the driver knew the victim, as in this type of truck accident.
There were no signs that the driver was impaired when he was taken to the hospital after the police encouraged it.
Backover accidents are unfortunately all too common in the commercial trucking industry. OSHA defines a backover incident as when a backing vehicle hits a worker who is walking, standing or kneeling behind the vehicle, leading to injury or death. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 70 workers died in such incidents in 2011.
Backover accidents happen for many reasons. Drivers of large trucks may not be able to see a worker behind the truck. The worker may not hear the backup alarm on the truck because of noise at the job site. Or, the backup warning alarm may not be working. Also, a spotter assisting the backing up of one truck may not be aware of an obstacle behind him.
There are many ways that backup accidents can be prevented. The easiest way is to never back up a commercial vehicle without a spotter behind the truck who verifies that the path is clear of workers and all obstacles. Video cameras also can be used that have an in-vehicle display monitor. There also are proximity detection devices, including radar and sonar, that can warn drivers of any obstacles behind them.
Our Virginia personal injury law firm is very familiar with many types of commercial truck accidents that tragically led to loss of life. These types of truck accidents are especially upsetting because the workers knew each other well and had possibly worked together for years.
Nevertheless, when a preventable accident such as this happens, the grieving family may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party and/or against the company who employed the worker. These settlements can bring millions of dollars of much-needed compensation to help the family through a serious emotional and economic crisis.