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It was a nice Friday evening in June when members of the Jarhead Motorcycle Club met up for an end of the week cruise. These motorcyclists, a community of military veterans and their spouses, had no idea that their social outing would soon turn into a fatal tragedy rattling their New England community.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, a 23-year-old truck driver for Westfield Transport, Inc., was on that same New Hampshire road that night when he crashed a Dodge 2500 pickup truck and trailer, owned by Westfield, into the group of motorcyclists. Seven members of the Jarhead MC, including a marine, died in the accident.

As New England families mourned the senseless loss of their loved ones, investigators put the pieces of the accident together. What they found was alarming.

Zhukovskyy should not have been driving that night.

Unfortunately, this accident was entirely avoidable. Zhukovskyy should not have been driving that night. He tested positive for drugs and was incapable of safely operating a vehicle. To make matters worse, the truck that he was driving was found to have 24 different safety violations – including defective brakes.

Zhukovskyy was on his third day of work for Westfield, a company that had already been cited for dozens of violations in the last few years including two truck drivers in possession of narcotics.

Westfield hired Zhukovskyy despite his history of violations.

Zhukovskyy had a long history of trouble with the law. Just a few weeks before the accident he was involved in another accident in Texas where he flipped a truck in Baytown, TX. Earlier in the year, he was arrested in Baytown for being intoxicated in a local Denny’s restaurant. Drug paraphernalia, including a crack pipe was found on him.

At the time of both these incidents, Zhukovskyy worked for the trucking company, FBI Express, based out of West Springfield,  MA. He was fired from FBI after the crash, but his record of drugs, alcohol, and traffic violations goes even farther back. He should have never been hired as a professional driver for this company, or Westfield.

Trucking companies should pay for their lack of due diligence.

Zhukovskyy left a trail of violations behind him, yet companies continued to hire him. Not only did Westfield hire a man with a history of drug use, they hired him to drive a truck with defective brakes. And now seven people died and three more suffered injuries from a tragedy that should have never happened.

Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Trucking companies don’t take the time to thoroughly check the backgrounds of the people they hire, nor do they properly maintain the vehicles their employees operate. The combination of these two practices is a recipe for disaster.

Preventable tragedies like this happen too often – and the trucking companies get away with it. They are insured. And the insurance companies that cover them know how to avoid costly lawsuits by convincing the victims to settle.

Don’t settle before talking to a lawyer.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident with a company truck, don’t settle with the insurance company on your own. They may try to convince you that you’re getting a reasonable offer or that you have no chance of winning, but this simply isn’t true.

Your case could be worth much more than they tell you. If you don’t talk to a lawyer, you could miss out on getting the money your family needs and deserves.

Let an experienced injury attorney like Jason DeSouza help you navigate your case. He has fought and won many battles against these insurance companies and he will fight for you at no cost unless he wins. Contact him today at 833-JASON-WINS.

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