Busy port cities such as Los Angeles generate lots of vehicle traffic, involving many different kinds of transit modes. As these vehicles go about their chores, dangerous interactions are always a risk. Trucks collide with trains, other trucks and smaller motor vehicles. Ships often collide with other ships, and motor vehicles can collide with trucks, trains and automobiles. One of the least anticipated collisions is a plane striking a truck on the ground. Just such a collision occurred last week at the Port of Los Angeles when a light plane fell from the sky, struck the cab of a big rig and killed the driver.
The unlikely collision
One of the most common activities at the Port of Los Angeles is the transfer of containers from ship to truck and truck to ship. As a consequence, the docks are often crowded with big rig cab and trailers. On Feb. 22, 2021, a light plane lost altitude and crashed into a big rig cab in one of the remote sections of the Port yards.
Witnesses immediately organized rescue parties, but they were unable to save the pilot of the disabled plane. The driver of the big rig was more fortunate. He was pulled from the wreckage and give emergency medical care until the fire department paramedics arrived. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital in serious condition.
The driver of the big rig can hardly be blamed for the injuries and death suffered by the pilot. However, the driver of the big rig may have a persuasive claim for damages against the pilot and owner of the plane. Further investigation will be required to establish whether the plane was properly maintained and whether the pilot was competent to operate it. Another important inquiry is whether the pilot made any errors before the crash occurred.
In any accident where causation may be a question, the results of various investigations can be critical to establishing liability. In this case, the post-crash investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be crucial determinants of liability. Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a similar accident may wish to pursue a claim for damages. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can provide a useful analysis of the evidence and test results, suggest potential legal theories to support a claim for damages, and provide a helpful evaluation of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.