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Family of Driver Killed in Semi Accident Believes 911 Mistake Was Partly Responsible

By December 16, 2010July 18th, 2019Trucking Accidents

An unusual trucking accident here in St. Louis caught my eye recently as a Missouri tractor-trailer accident attorney. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Dec. 11, Michael Whitmore, 46, died last week when he was hit by a semi truck. Whitmore was on foot, pushing his disabled car off the Chain of Rocks bridge on Interstate 270 near Riverview Drive. There was no shoulder and it was still dark at 4:45 that morning, so Whitmore and several others called 911 to help. However, the dispatcher apparently mistook the location for Interstate 70 rather than 270, delaying the response by about six minutes. Whitmore’s family and his girlfriend said they understood that this was a mistake, but believed an earlier response could have lit the area enough to prevent a crash.
Whitmore was apparently going to work at a trucking company on Dec. 8 when his car broke down. Because there was no shoulder, his car was stuck in the westbound lanes of the Chain of Rocks bridge, with its emergency lights on but dim. His girlfriend, Monica Lewis, said she thought he moved it because he knew it could cause an accident just sitting there. An approaching truck driver saw Whitmore and his car in time to swerve away from the car, but hit Whitmore himself. The truck then hit the median and burst into flames, badly burning Whitmore. Witnesses at the scene said the trucker was distraught at having hit someone and had to be pulled from the burning truck. After initially claiming the 911 callers gave the wrong information, the police acknowledged that the mistake was theirs, but said correct information would not have prevented the crash.
As a St. Louis semi truck accident lawyer, I think Whitmore’s loved ones would be well advised to test that for themselves. This is an unusual case, in that it doesn’t sound like the truck driver bears much fault. However, if the family can show that the dispatcher’s mistake could have made a difference, they may have a lawsuit against the police department. It’s perfectly possible to sue a government agency for negligence. However, because police agencies and government agencies both have special legal protections, this is not as simple as suing an individual or private company. Typically, you must go through an administrative process before you can sue, and the deadline to start this process is often very short. That’s why experts suggest that you have an attorney’s help from the beginning.

If you’ve been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident, you should talk to Carey, Danis & Lowe as soon as possible. Our southern Illinois tanker truck accident attorneys have extensive experience representing victims of accidents involving large commercial trucks. That experience can be vital in trucking accident cases, because these are typically more legally and medically complex than car accidents. Because trucks are so much larger, they can inflict very serious injuries that leave their victims permanently disabled and with limited earning capacity. In a lawsuit, victims of this kind of accident can claim all of the costs caused by those problems, including the cost of medical treatment and al of the income they lose because they cannot work. They can also claim compensation for pain, permanent disability and loss of a loved one.
Carey, Danis & Lowe offers free consultations, so you can tell us about your case and hear more about your rights at no further risk. To set up a meeting, call us today at 1-877-678-3400 or send us a message online.