Crashes Causing Death and Truck and Bus Accidents

by Samuel Saks on Jan. 11, 2021

Accident & Injury Wrongful Death Accident & Injury  Car Accident Accident & Injury 

Summary: Fatal accidents are tragic and complicated. This article discusses some things to consider under Arizona law.

If an accident involves a fatality, the Arizona Crash Report that is issued will have a fatal supplement.  It will list the name of the victim, the victim’s address and physical description.  It will also list where the victim was removed to and who he was removed by.  This may be identified by the MCMEO, Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office (“MEO”).  The fatal supplement will list the date of death, time of death and whether the victim was deceased at the scene or transported to a hospital.  The fatal supplement will list any safety device failure, improper usage of a safety device, any ejection from the car or ejection path (for example, through side door opening, through windshield, through back window, etc.). 

The supplement will list whether an air bag was available.  It will also list an extrication (“extr”) supplement which details how the victim may have been extricated by ambulance attendant, by police, by fire department, etc.  There is a section on the fatal supplement that will be completed if any driver is tested for alcohol/drugs.  This will detail the alcohol test type, alcohol test results, and drug test results.  The fatal supplement also contains information about the crash configuration and whether it is an underride / override.  An underride crash configuration is when a car travels under a vehicle, lifting it up.  An override configuration is when a vehicle ends up on top of another car.  This section also lists whether the override / underride had a compartment instruction. 

The fatal supplement will also list whether there was a fire occurrence; in other words, whether a fire occurred in the vehicle during the crash.  Finally the fatal supplement will list the time EMS was called, the time EMS arrived, and the arrival time at the hospital.  The fatal supplement also has a section for comments by the officer.  The crash report in an accident involving major injuries or death (“major events”) may also contain an incident command system log, listing the incident commander and listing all of the officers who responded to the scene.

Truck or Bus Accidents

If the accident involved a truck or a bus, the Crash Report will contain a truck / bus supplement.  This form will list the qualifying information, which describes the truck involved in the crash, state whether at the time of the crash the truck or bus was operating on a traffic way open to the public or in transport or whether the truck or bus involved in the accident was parked on or off the traffic way. 

The qualifying information section also includes information on whether a commercial driver license (“CDL”) was issued and if so, what class of license.  The truck / bus supplement will also list vehicle information about the truck including the vehicle configuration (for example, truck/trailer, tractor/semi trailer, truck/tractor without bobtail or saddle mount, etc.).  It will list the cargo body type (for example, van / enclosed box, cargo tank, flatbed, etc.).  It will list the GVWR / GCWR, which stands for gross vehicle weight rating and gross combined weight rating.  Finally it will list the carrier information, which is information about the trucking company, whether the trucking company that owned the truck involved in the accident was an interstate carrier, intrastate carrier, or “not in commerce-government.” 

Finally, the truck / bus supplement will list the USDOT identification number of the truck that crashed.  Commercial trucking is regulated by the federal government, and specifically the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”).  The DOT has a division called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that oversees commercial trucking.  You can look up information about the truck and trucking company involved in the accident at http://www.safersys.org/

Presented by attorney Sam Saks, Esq., sam@guidant.law.  Sam is the founder of Legal Aid of Arizona and a co-founder and partner at the law firm of Guidant Law, PLC.  He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving insurance coverage, negligence, and substantial damages.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney/client relationship. 

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