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One Driver Dead as Two Dump Trucks Plunge from Yellow River Bridge

A deadly crash is under investigation after two dump trucks collided and plunged over opposite sides of a bridge crossing the Yellow River on the I-20 Access Road near Covington. The two trucks were from the same company, G &J Trucking, heading to the same work site. The drivers were coworkers and friends, and the driver of the second truck was following closely because he was unfamiliar with the area. The cause of the accident is not known, but the second truck rear-ended the first, and both drivers lost control of their vehicles. The first truck broke through barriers on the right side of the bridge and fell into the river, while the second truck broke through the left side barriers and fell onto the embankment.

Passersby, some of whom had worked as truckers themselves, tried desperately to help the driver of the partially submerged truck, exposing themselves to toxic water tainted with spilled diesel fuel. However, the first driver died at the scene, while the second driver survived with minor injuries. The deceased driver was identified as Valentine Neil Gayle, a veteran driver with 20 years of experience, who had been working to support his family in Jamaica.

As of this writing, no charges have been filed in the case. However, a wrongful death claim can go forward against the trucking company even if no charges are brought against the driver. Wrongful death actions in Georgia allow next of kin to sue for the value of the life of the deceased. Under Georgia law, this means the value of the life to the decedent himself: what he lost by being killed, not what his relatives lost when he died. This includes:

  • Economic losses — What the decedent would have earned if his life had not been cut short
  • Noneconomic losses — Compensation for aspects of life the decedent would have enjoyed had he not died, based on his life expectancy, health and level of activity.

The decedent’s estate can also file a claim for losses involving:

  • Medical expenses related to the injury event
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Conscious pain and suffering of the decedent from the injury event to death

In the case of Mr. Gayle, a passerby who attempted to rescue him said he felt the last twitch of life as he held the man in his arms. The statement would be admissible as evidence that Mr. Gayle was not killed instantaneously and may have suffered for those minutes before he died.

McMenamy Law LLC represents grieving families in wrongful death actions in metro Atlanta or anywhere throughout Georgia. To learn about your rights in such a matter, contact us right away to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated attorney.