5/25/2009A head on collision on Route 130 near Charleston claimed the lives of 4 when there was a post-collision fire. The accident happened when a southbound pick up truck crossed the center line and hit another pick up truck head on. The northbound pick up truck was pulling a fifth wheel recreational trailer. The trailer was carrying a propane tank which came loose during the crash and then ignited, spreading rapidly to the fuel tank of the northbound pick up truck and engulfing the vehicles in flames. The three occupants of the northbound pick up truck were not able to escape and died in the fire.
To most, the cause of this fatal accident was the head-on collision, and this certainly initiated the chain of events which resulted in the deaths of the three occupants of the northbound vehicle. However, a more important role in causing the deaths of these people must be assigned to the post-accident fire. There was nothing about this accident which had the hallmarks of an accident which would have killed all involved until there was a post-accident fire.
One basic principle in motor vehicle design is that vehicles should be crash-worthy. Crashworthiness is an design principle based on the notion that crashes are foreseaable events and vehicles must be designed to allow occupants of the vehicle to survive the crash. The same principle must be followed by manufacturers of other vehicles on the public highway, including recreational campers.
An important point that must be analyzed closely is how and why the propoane tank came loose and caught fire in the way it did. If the propane tank was not located in a safe place and designed to stay secure in an accident, that is a flaw in the design of the camper and the manufacturer must bear some responsibility for the deaths of these people.
These families would do well to secure the services of an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer who can secure the remains of the vehicles and bring in a team of experts to determine how and why this otherwise fairly normal accident resulted in a post-accident fire with four deaths. The answer will likely turn on the design choices made by the camper manufacturer.
Category: Dangerous and Defective Product Suits
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