Haley Case, 18, of Johnstown Died In Montgomery County Dump Truck Accident By Route 116 and Route 67
FULTON COUNTY, NEW YORK (September 17, 2021) – An 18-year-old woman identified as Haley Case has tragically died in a car accident with a Montgomery County Department of Public Works dump truck by Route 116 and Route 67.
Fulton County police officials are saying that the collision took place on Friday morning. A Montgomery County dump truck was traveling eastbound when it attempted to make a left turn onto Route 116.
That dump truck struck the westbound vehicle driven by Haley Case. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help the victim.
First responders were able to extricate Haley Case from her car. Despite the life-saving measures of first responders she died due to the severity of her injuries.
Fulton County police officials interviewed the driver of the dump truck who remained at the scene. A full investigation and accident reconstruction from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department remains ongoing at this time.
Haley Case was a recent graduate of Johnstown High School. The superintendent for the Johnstown school district released a letter to families of the school to let them know about the accident.
“Haley is forever one of our students and will always be fondly remembered as part of the GJSD family,” the letter read.
Liability In Johnstown Dump Truck Accidents
Dump truck collisions kill or seriously injure thousands of people every year. According to Engineering News-Record, “Dump truck accidents severe enough the vehicle had to be towed away rose 9 percent, hitting 8,206 in 2016, the latest year statistics are available.” The Engineering News-Record blames these accidents in part on multi-industry problems with poor driving habits. In truth, there are a number of factors that could contribute to a dump truck accident including:
- Fatigue: As drivers are pushed to be as efficient as possible, many drivers naturally get fatigued during their long commutes. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that staying awake only 18 hours reduces a person’s driving ability equivalent to driving with a BAC of 0.05%.
- Driver Intoxication: The FMCSA and New York law prohibits commercial drivers from operating their vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. But what many drivers don’t realize is even prescriptions or over-the-counter medications can impair their ability to drive safely.
- Driver Distraction: Dump truck drivers have many things to pay attention to including calls from work and their GPS. Even a momentary lapse in concentration can have fatal consequences.
- Blind Spots: Commercial trucks are not like passenger vehicles. They have large blind spots that can easily obscure the presence of smaller vehicles. Many accidents happen when drivers fail to check those blind spots.
Left turns can be so dangerous that many companies such as UPS go out of their way to eliminate as many as possible. According to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law 1141, drivers are supposed to yield the right of way to any vehicle traveling from the opposite direction and close enough so as to pose a hazard. When a driver collides with or is hit by a vehicle while making a left turn they will typically be liable following the accident.
Consider, for example, the cases of Cadeau v. Gregorio and Griffin v. Pennoyer. In both cases, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York affirmed summary judgement against the driver of the left-turning vehicle. In Cadeau v. Gregorio, the court held that the plaintiff made a prima facie showing that she was not negligent. She did this by demonstrating that the defendant made an abrupt left turn in front of her fractions of a second before the collision.
When a negligent, left-turning driver causes an accident while driving a commercial vehicle, the company or city that they work for could be held liable. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior employers are principally responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. According to Judith M. v. Sisters of Charity Hosp., 93 N.Y.2d 932, 933 (1999) respondeat superior will apply “so long as the tortious conduct is generally foreseeable and a natural incident of the employment.” There are a number of steps that should be taken after any dump truck accident.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- Surveillance footage should be sought. Many intersections across New York are covered by surveillance cameras.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- A commercial truck’s event data recorder (EDR) should be examined. A truck’s EDR can contain valuable information including a truck driver’s speed and whether or not they applied the brakes.
The family of any victim that died in a dump truck accident may be able to seek justice under (N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.1 (2021). The death must have been preceded by a “wrongful act, neglect or default.” A victim’s next of kin including their parents or spouse are typically the ones who would pursue a wrongful death claim. As a general rule of thumb, wrongful death claims must be pursued within two years after the decedent’s death. However, municipal entities must be served with a notice of claim 90 days after an injury. A lawsuit must then be commenced 1 year and 90 days against a city, town or government agency. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Johnstown Dump Truck Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Haley Case. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to police. This collision should not have happened. There needs to be a thorough investigation for the sake of all who have lost so much.
This collision also raises a number of safety concerns. Was the dump truck driver properly trained? Were they distracted prior to the collision? Is there a history of collisions at this intersection? Left turn collisions are nearly always preventable when drivers scan the road ahead of them and wait until it’s safe to make the left turn. It is our sincere hope that Montgomery County officials will implement solutions to prevent additional tragedies like this.