On October 23, A Florida judge fined a Virginia sod truck driver $160 for not adequately updating his travel log on the date of a fatal truck crash. In March of this year, the driver’s truck collided with a school bus in an accident that left a 9-year-old student dead.

In truck accidents or tractor trailer accidents, there are countless ways in which a driver’s negligence or a company’s skirting of the rules can lead to a wreck. However, sometimes a driver or company demonstrates a form of negligence that is not a direct contributor to the accident that follows.

In these types of instances, a confusing legal situation can result. In the Florida case, a judge ruled that while the Virginia man didn’t properly maintain the log required by the state, he was nonetheless not guilty of brake adjustment citations.

In the crash itself, authorities say the school bus driver failed to yield when making a left turn. The sod truck hit the bus, which spun around while the truck turned over. The truck had been loaded with sod, while the bus was transporting over 30 students at the time of the accident.

Earlier this fall, officials fined the bus driver $1,000 and suspended his driver’s license for half a year. Both the highway patrol and the state’s attorney’s office concluded that even though the sod truck’s brakes were not in ideal condition, they did not cause either the crash or the fatality that followed.

The parents of the victim, however, have filed suit against both the truck driver and the trucking company, alleging that the truck was poorly maintained and thus caused the collision that killed their son.

In Virginia, judges in truck accident cases must be sure that any negligence is directly related to a subsequent tragedy. Often, victims of these frightening encounters benefit from a truck accident reconstruction, which clearly outlines the cause and effect elements of their case.

Source: TCPalm, “Sod truck driver in fatal March school bus crash to pay fine not related to case, judge rules Tuesday.” Elliott Jones, Oct. 23, 2012.