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Why Don’t Road Barriers Withstand Maximum Loads?

Today, I read about the fatality of an extended family from Kentucky. On March 26, John Esh, 65 was driving a 15-passenger Dodge van on Interstate 65 when it was struck head-on by a tractor trailer that broke through the steel barrier cables on the median. The tractor trailer, driven by Kenneth Layman, 45, of Alabama, smashed into the van, then a rock wall before catching on fire. In the van with Mr. Esh was an extended family of nine, plus three friends of the family. The only survivors were Esh’s grandsons Josiah, 5, and Johnny, 3, both most likely saved by child safety seats.

Unfortunately, this is not the first hardship and loss the Esh family endured in the past few years. Johnny Esh, Jr. died four years ago in a snowmobile accident while doing mission work in the Ukraine. Last December, a fire destroyed their family home. Luckily, there were no fatalities from the fire. A daughter survived when she jumped off a porch roof onto a trampoline. In both situations, the community rallied together to support the Esh family. They rebuilt the family home within a few months. Now they gathered to build wooden caskets for ten of their faith-family.

Assuming, that this fatality was due to negligence on the part of Mr. Layman, might there also be some negligence on the part of the company that manufactured or installed the steel cable barriers that failed to hold back the semi? Could stronger cable barriers have been made/installed? According to Kentucky State Police, the barriers are the strongest made, but would not have stopped a fully loaded truck because they are not designed to withstand the force of a truck the size and weight of Layman’s. Lawsuit Financial asks: “Why not?” Aren’t our highways frequently traveled by truckers with heavy loads? How do we make our roadways safe from fatalities like this one? Research shows that the use of cable barriers had a significant effect on the reduction of cross-median crashes; while the results may be encouraging, fatal cross-median accidents where vehicles break through steel barriers requires additional attention and improvement.

It is still unknown what events led up to Mr. Layman crossing the median, but investigators are looking at that crash site, the barriers, and Hester, Inc., the trucking company that employed Layman. Apparently, Layman tried to stop, but only after crossing the median. Why did he react so late? As part of the investigation, it was discovered that more than half of the drivers for Hester, Inc. had violations for driving over the maximum hours without rest and failed to properly record their hours worked. Their safety evaluation for drivers is considered “deficient.”

In addition, the section of Interstate 65 where this accident occurred has proven to be riskier than others. Intestate 65 north and south of this fatal crash is ordinarily six lanes wide, but only four lanes where the accident occurred. State Senator, Carroll Gibson, fought to have this stretch of highway expanded, but was denied due to funding. Temporary steel cable barriers were installed in the median in May 2009.

It may take months or even a year before investigators get clear understanding of why this accident happened. What will happen to young Josiah and Johnny? Their church community will, most likely, rally around to help, but what about their financial future? If the family seeks legal counsel, pursuing the multiple avenues of recovery in this case will, most likely, be a lengthy process. The investigation needs to be completed; there are police reports, medical reports, complaints, research, investigations, motions, and more.

What happens in the meantime to reduce any financial stress as a result of the accident? Must the family resolve their case now, too soon, for too little? Nowadays, people have options. One such option is a service known as lawsuit funding. This valuable legal finance service helps bridge the gap from filing a lawsuit to final settlement. Lawsuit Financial is an fine example of one of the premiere companies that provides this needed litigation funding assistance, immediately, to pay important bills, medical expenses and medications, make up for lost wages and resolve household expenses. Our legal funding is contigent upon the outcome of your case. If you lose your case, you repay absolutely nothing. Apply on line or all us toll free at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848). The call is free; the advice is priceless.

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