Trucking company in fatal motorcyclist crash sued by own insurance company

The insurance company is also suing the estates of the victims.

Fatal motorcycle Crash

An auto insurer has filed suit against both a trucking company and the victims’ estates following a crash that killed seven motorcyclists in rural New Hampshire in June.

On November 15, Pilgrim Insurance Co. filed suit in the US District Court in Boston against trucking company Westfield Transport and the estates of the motorcyclists killed in the crash, according to a report from the Boston Globe.

The lawsuit asks the court to distribute the $1 million liability policy among the victims as Pilgrim Insurance says that it is “unable to determine the appropriate amounts to be paid.” Pilgrim Insurance says that fifteen claims have been submitted by victim’s families and crash survivors.

The suit also asks the court to relieve Pilgrim Insurance of its obligation to defend Westfield Transport against any additional civil litigation. The lawsuit cites Massachusetts state policy that “allows Pilgrim to relinquish its duty to defend if it tenders its full policy limits to this Court.”

On June 21, 2019, seven members of the Marine JarHeads motorcycle club were killed in a crash. The crash happened on Route 2 in the town of Randolph, New Hampshire, when a group of 10 motorcycles were hit by a pickup truck hauling a trailer that crossed over the centerline into the eastbound lane.

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The driver accused of causing the crash, 23 year old Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, was arrested at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on June 24. He has since pled not guilty to seven counts of negligent homicide.

During the post-crash investigation, authorities learned that Zhukovskyy was arrested on May 11, 2019, for OUI in Connecticut and that the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles should have terminated his CDL but failed to do so.

The Massachusetts Attorney General announced an investigation into Westfield Transport in July. In the wake of the crash, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker introduced a new bill to make it tougher to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in the state.

An FMCSA report showed that Zhukovskyy tested positive for an “unspecified”  narcotic or amphetamine drug that made him incapable of driving safely at the time of the crash. The report also says that Zhukovskyy admitted to investigators that he was reaching for a drink the moment that he swerved into the motorcyclists.

Local news outlet the Union Leader reports that the trial against Zhukovskyy could still be a year away.