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BAKERSFIELD: Daniel Podunovich, 41, Died In Semi-Truck On Highway 99 By South Union Avenue


Jun 24, 2019

Daniel Podunovich Bakersfield: Daniel Ralph Podunovich, 41, From Dillon Montana Died In Bakersfield Semi-Truck On Highway 99 By South Union Avenue

BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA (June 23, 2019) – a 41-year-old man from Montana identified as Daniel Podunovich was tragically killed after a semi-truck driver rear-ended his vehicle on Highway 99 by South Union Avenue. 

California Highway Patrol are saying that Daniel Ralph Podunovich was in a Kia Optima that was on the shoulder of the road and partially  in a lane of traffic not far from Herring Road. 

The semi-truck driver was driving around 55 mph prior to the accident. He had apparently finished checking his mirrors when he noticed the red lights on the back of the Kia Optima carrying Daniel Podunovich.

California Highway Patrol are saying that the truck driver applied his brakes and began turning the truck to the left in order to avoid a collision. But it was too little too late and the two vehicles collided. 

The force of the impact pushed the Kia all the way to Gore Point and caused the Freightliner truck to jackknife. There is an ongoing investigation into the cause of the crash that killed Daniel Podunovich. 

Preventing Rear-End Collisions

Fatal crashes involving semi-trucks have actually been on the rise in recent years. According to the FMCSA, “There was a 34-percent decrease in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses between 2005 and 2009, followed by an increase of 40 percent between 2009 and 2017. From 2016 to 2017, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by 8 percent.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a number of measures that truck drivers can take to prevent rear-end collisions. 

  • Focus on Driving: A good truck driver should scan the road ahead of them and be weary of other vehicles that may be stalled.
  • Slow Down: Driving the speed limit at night can be dangerous. It’s much safer to slow down a little bit when visibility is seriously reduced.
  • Get Enough Sleep: Fatigue has been cited as the number one factor behind fatal accidents. In fact, a number of studies have suggested that drowsy driving can be nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. 
  • Technology: Forward collision avoidance systems have saved many lives and are already installed on a number of class 8 trucks. 

There is simply no excuse for a rear-end collision. Even if a vehicle is stalled in the middle of the road a good truck driver should be able to identify it and stop in time. Depending on the facts of any case there may be multiple sources of liability in a truck accident. 

Liability In Truck Accidents

 A fully loaded truck can weigh over 30 times more than a sedan. Truck drivers must do everything in their power to try to avoid collisions. This includes traveling the speed limit. In California, trucks cannot travel more than 55 mph on rural interstates, urban interstates or other limited access roads. But that doesn’t mean that a truck driver should always travel at 55 mph when they can. This could be particularly dangerous at night. 

If a truck driver rear-ends another vehicle there is a fairly strong chance that they will be found at fault for the accident. If a vehicle is stalled on the road, a driver should put on their emergency blinkers and get out of the way as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, truck companies will often fight hard to deny liability in accidents involving stopped vehicles. 

The family of a victim that died in a truck accident may have recourse through a wrongful death claim. Family members that may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim could include the victim’s brothers, sisters, mother, father, children and spouse. Damages in a civil claim can include compensation for funeral expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma and loss of love. A wrongful death attorney can evaluate your case free of cost and let you know what your rights are. 

Investigating A Semi-Truck Crash

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Daniel Podunovich. Any person that may have seen the accident should reach out to the CHP as they continue their investigation. This is a tragic accident that should never have taken place. It is our sincere hope that the city of Bakersfield will examine this stretch of road and see if any design improvements could make it safer. 

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed due to the negligence of a truck driver. There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you have. We are committed to making sure that accident victims are treated fairly and that they are aware of their rights. Whether you need more information about a particular accident or just have questions about your rights we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

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