The case of a mother killed by a dump truck in Washington D.C. on Monday tells of a tragedy that seems to be extremely common. This highlights a few factors that are unique to truck accident cases. The 39-year-old mother of three Jennifer Lawson was the victim of a dump truck that hit her as she was placing her child into a car seat. The truck hit her and her van as reported by the Washington Post. Luckily, her child was not hurt at all. Investigations that are on going will be vital in determining the likelihood of a civil liability.

Who owns the trucks?

One of the first questions that the investigations will answer is who owns the truck. Identification of the truck owner has to be before filing of any truck accident lawsuit. The dump truck in this case belongs to a privately owned company. Investigators will also carry out full commercial-vehicle inspection. If the truck belonged to any government entity, the victim’s relatives would probably have to file a notice of claim first before they can file a lawsuit.

Potential employer liability

The dump truck driver was working for someone else and in this case, his employer could possibly be liable for the accident. This is only if the driver was acting within the scope of his employment, that is, if the driver was following orders from the boss when the accident happened.

On the other hand, if it is discovered that the truck driver was running personal errands unrelated to his job at the time of the accident, the employer could then have a chance to avoid liability. The same is the case if the driver was an independent contractor who did not take directions from his employer on which route to take.

The cause of the accident

What is it that caused the accident? Drivers have the duty to maintain a reasonable degree of care in order to avoid accidents on the road- hurting or killing people. People parked on the roadside also have to meet the ‘reasonable person’ standard as well. There is a twist in the legal process of this case. The mother who is from Virginia may have contributed to the accident. Virginia is one of the contributory negligence states. In other words if it is discovered that the mother was at fault even at 1% then her relatives cannot recover any damages in a possible lawsuit.