The above video is actual video shot at the scene of the tragic truck accident that occurred on the morning of May 29, 2013 in Snellville,Georgia.  In this truck accident a tractor trailer crashed into a commercial building located on Scenic Highway killing the truck driver.  According to Gwinnett County Police, the truck driver was Donald Samples (age 66) from Snellville.  The police were unsure why Mr. Samples lost control and plowed into the building since he was pronounced dead at the scene.  There is nothing sadder for the surviving family and friends than the sudden death of a loved one from a auto accident.

According to news sources, Mr. Samples had recently had eye surgery, was released to regular duty.  This fatal truck accident occurred on his first day back on the job. There have been no other reports as to what caused the driver to drive across on-coming traffic and continue into the shopping center.  However, one possible cause could have been a heart attack, stroke, or other medical complication suffered by Donald Samples just prior to the crash.

There are many potential claims that can arise from a truck accident claim.  These claims can include personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, and worker’s compensation claims.  I have applied what facts we have to each possible claim to explain how each one of these claims could exist from this horrible tragedy.

Potential Worker’s Compensation ClaimIn this case, a worker’s compensation claim could exist if the truck driver was working for his employer performing his job duties when this truck crash occurred.  Since the truck driver died, there can even be a worker’s compensation death benefit claim for the truck driver’s surviving and dependent wife and children.  If the truck accident was caused by a sudden medical condition or attack such as a heart attack, stroke, or other medical emergency, then these claims can also create a valid worker’s compensation death benefit claim under certain circumstances.  Where an employee’s death is unexplained, but the employee has been found dead in a place where he might reasonably have been expected to be in the performance of his duties, there is a rebuttable presumption that the death arose out of the deceased employee’s employment.

If the driver was married with dependent children or other dependents that required his support, then they could make a claim for weekly workers’ compensation benefits under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. If the surviving spouse is the only dependent beneficiary, then she could potentially receive weekly benefits for 400 weeks or to age 65, whichever provides the greater benefit. However, the benefits would be capped at total payout of $150,000.00. The cap would be inapplicable if there are one or more individuals in addition to the surviving spouse who are dependents for more than one year after the deceased employee’s death. The family would also be able to recover burial expenses up to $7,500.00.

Potential Personal Injury Claim:  Gwinnett truck accident attorney Richard Griffin knows how tragic a sudden fatality can be from his years of representing people who were seriously injured or killed in auto accidents or worker’s comp accidents.  Since this truck accident didn’t involve another driver, the only possible personal injury claim or wrongful death claim would be for a mechanical failure to the tractor trailer that might have caused the truck driver to lose control.  There has not been any reports of alleged mechanical failure in this case, but if the mechanical failure was caused by defective truck design, then there might be a product liability claim.  If the mechanical failure was due to a negligent repair to the truck made by a company other than his employer (third party), then there may be a wrongful death claim against the repair shop / mechanic.  You can normally only have a personal injury claim against someone other than his employer since worker’s compensation is usually the exclusive remedy for employees injuries or deaths that occur on the job.

Legal Representation:  Our Snellville worker’s compensation and wrongful death attorneys are experienced in handling death benefit worker’s compensation claims and wrongful death claims.  Putting our expertise to work for you is the best way to make sure you fully recover for your worker’s comp death benefit or wrongful death claim.

Free Case Evaluation: If you have lost a loved one due to an on-the-job accident or medical condition or due to the negligence of someone else, then you should call us today at 877-PAIN-LAW (877-724-6529) for a free legal consultation from our PAIN LAW attorneys.

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