A tragic death occurred in Southboro, MA in August of 2011 when Xiaoyun Jiang, a 75-year-old grandmother of two from Westford, was killed in complications resulting from a test drive. A dump truck was being used to pull a flatbed truck trailer loaded up with a backhoe down busy I-495 when it slipped. The truck trailer jackknifed, and the backhoe lost balance, falling onto the minivan in which Jiang was a passenger. She died of asphyxiation due to being crushed by the construction equipment.
Her family is filing a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming that the operator of the backhoe, National Grid, knew the risks of that vehicle combination. Lawyers state that the truck never should have been on that highway and claim that National Grid knew that it was subject to loss of control problems. In doing so, they endangered the lives of the public and caused the death of Xiaoyun Jiang.
Xiaoyun Jiang is survived by her daughter Sharon Wang and two grandchildren, all of whom were in the car when the construction equipment toppled onto it. Wang and her children were injured in the accident and rushed to the UMass Medical Center in Worcester, MA, while Jiang was pronounced dead at the scene.
For his part, Frank Ye, Wang’s husband, co-claimant in the lawsuit and administrator of Jiang’s estate, called the tragedy “completely preventable” and castigated National Grid’s “reckless conduct.” The Western MA-based construction company endangered his family, emergency personnel and all other drivers on I-495 that day, Ye claimed.
The family is hoping to settle with the company at fault out of court, but thus far they have received no indication from National Grid on their legal strategy. This would appear to be National Grid’s best course of action, as it would be very easy for a lawyer to lay the fault for Jiang’s death squarely on National Grid’s poor judgment.
The family has sought the services of Bradley M. Henry, a noted personal injury lawyer in the Southboro area. His research concludes that the driver of the truck was asked by superiors to conduct a “test drive” of the equipment combination. Henry categorizes this behavior as “gross negligence,” stating that to do so on a “busy Friday afternoon” on I-495, characterized by many as “one of the most congested roadways” in the state of Massachusetts, represents at the very least, terrible judgment.
While wrongful death laws range based on geographic location, these unfortunate circumstances would be grounds for a lawsuit in many other areas of the United States. A West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer would most likely advise this family to take the same steps had the accident occurred in their area.
National Grid spokeswoman Deborah Drew stated that she couldn’t comment on the matter because it was currently pending litigation.