Much Remains to Be Determined in Deadly Santa Clara County Trucking Accident

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When a big rig collided with 10 vehicles on northbound Highway 17 near the Lexington Reservoir in Santa Clara County on Thursday the result was a horrific scene in which one person died and seven others were sent to the hospital. And San Francisco trucking accident attorney Gregory J. Brod would point out that tragedy not only left behind much death, injury and destruction, but also several questions regarding how the multi-vehicle crash could have occurred as well as the matter of liability.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, a big rig was traveling just south of Bear Creek Road when, a witness reported, traffic came almost to a standstill near the reservoir and the truck “rolled over everything in its path.” As a result, a 25-year-old San Jose State graduate from Santa Cruz who was driving one of the vehicles caught in the mash-up died after he was ejected from his car. In addition, seven other people in the remaining nine vehicles were sent to area hospitals with injuries, with one listed in critical condition and the others sustaining minor to moderate injuries. The California Highway Patrol did not arrest or cite the driver of the big rig and has determined that he was not intoxicated at the time of the crash. The CHP said that investigators do not yet know what caused the crash.

Thel National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there has been an increase in the number of traffic fatalities involving trucks in the United States, with such deaths going up by 3.7 percent from 2011 to 2012 alone. And, as the nation has grown increasingly dependant on truck traffic for shipping goods, the number of accidents overall involving trucks has steadily increased.

Whenever there is a trucking accident, the questions of what caused the collision and who is responsible often go beyond the obvious on-the-road participants – unfortunately, in Thursday’s tragedy, the number of people who were directly impacted by the crash was on the high end. Barring any fault placed upon the drivers of passenger vehicles involved in a crash with a truck, if the focus of fault hovers over the truck driver, there are other key parties who may be judged responsible for victims’ injuries aside from the truck driver, including:

  • the owner of the truck;
  • the person or company that leased the truck from the owner;
  • the manufacturer of the vehicle, tires or other truck parts that may have played a role in the cause or severity of the accident; and
  • the shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo in those cases that involve improper loading.


In any motor vehicle accident it is important for those people who have suffered an injury to attend to their injuries but also to secure effective legal representation as soon as possible. In complex accidents such as the tragic pile-up in Santa Clara County on Thursday, the victims’ will need particularly savvy and experienced legal advice to properly make sense of the cause of the accident and to assess liability. If you or a loved one has been hurt or worse in a traffic accident involving a truck, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Brod Law Firm for a free consultation.
-James Ambroff-Tahan contributed to this article.

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