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UPDATE: Jack E. Ratliff, 45, Jack Ratliff, 13, Killed In Semi-Truck Accident On Highway 97 By Solus Drive In Siskiyou County


Jun 22, 2019

Jack Ratliff Siskiyou County: Jack E. Ratliff, 45, Jack Ratliff, 13, From Weed Killed In Semi-Truck Accident On Highway 97 By Solus Drive In Siskiyou County

SISKIYOU COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (June 22, 2019) – A father and son from Weed identified as Jack E. Ratliff, 45, and Jack Ratliff, 13, have both tragically died after a semi-truck accident on Highway 97 rear-ended their car.

California Highway Patrol are saying that Jack E. Ratliff and his son Jack Ratliff were in a Jeep Cherokee when they were rear-ended by a semi-truck on Thursday morning. The details of how the accident happened are very uncertain at this point. 

The Jeep was traveling south down the highway and the semi-truck was traveling north on Highway 97. For reasons that remain under investigation, the semi-truck rear-ended the Jeep around 10:45 a.m south of Solus Drive.

Firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene in order to help the victims. Despite life-saving efforts Jack E. Ratliff, 45, and Jack Ratliff, 13, both died due to their injuries. 

Common Causes Of Truck Accidents

Nearly 5,000 people are killed every year in truck accidents. Trucks are much heavier than smaller vehicles and therefore also much more difficult to control. Here are just a few of the most common reasons that truck accidents take place:

  • Driver Error: Truck drivers are human like everyone else and they therefore make mistakes. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly 94% of fatal car accidents involve some amount of human error. 
  • Poor Vehicle Maintenance: Commercial trucks have to travel thousands of miles every day. This puts a tremendous amount of wear on all of the component parts, especially the brake pads. If a truck is not properly serviced the results can be fatal. 
  • Inclement Weather: Rain, wind and snow can all make it difficult for a truck driver to be safe. This is why good drivers should operate their vehicles according to the prevailing conditions of the road. 

Driver’s are much more likely to make errors when they are fatigued. The FMCSA has put forth a number of guidelines about how many hours truck drivers can work. But these rules are not always followed. Depending on the facts of any case in particular there may be numerous sources of liability for a truck accident. 

Liability In Truck Accidents 

Truck drivers have a legal responsibility to operate their vehicles in a safe manner and take steps to avoid accidents. According to California Vehicle Code 22350, “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”  There is simply no reason why a truck driver should ever rear-end another vehicle. Rear-end collisions typically take place because:

  • The truck driver was speeding at the time of the accident. Drivers are supposed to obey speed limits and reduce their speed during times of lower visibility or inclement weather. 
  • The truck driver was following the lead vehicle too closely. Even if a truck driver was going the speed limit they should still maintain a safe distance with the vehicle ahead of them. Because trucks can be extremely heavy, they take longer to decelerate than smaller cars. 
  • The truck driver was distracted. Distractions are a serious problem for all drivers. A truck driver may be distracted due to their GPS or cellphone. 

The family of any person that died in a truck accident may have legal recourse from California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Damages in a civil claim may include compensation for funeral expenses, lost wages and medical bills. Unfortunately, truck companies will often try hard to deny liability after an accident. But semi-trucks are equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) that give a great deal of insight into what a truck driver was doing before an accident. A truck accident attorney can examine all of the facts of your case and get to the bottom of what happened free of cost. 

Investigating A Truck Accident

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Jack Ratliff and Jack E Ratliff as they are grieving such an incredible loss. Any person that may have witnessed the accident should reach out to the California Highway Patrol as they continue their investigation. There needs to be some accountability for this accident. 

If you or someone that you love has been involved in a truck accident 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 may have. We are committed to making sure that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you need more information about an 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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