Due to their enormous size and immense weight, any accident involving a semi-truck or 18-wheeler can lead to tragic consequences. Drivers of these large commercial vehicles are held to a higher safety standard because it takes a significant amount of experience, skill and training to safely maneuver these massive vehicles. Sadly, in Tupelo, a semi-truck driver’s failure to exercise due caution led to an unfortunate catastrophe.
On September 6, 2013, Olida Acosta, a 20-year-old mother, and her 2-year-old daughter Vianett Castillo were parked outside a local business called Acceptance Auto Insurance. The mother and daughter were waiting for a family member who was conducting business in the insurance company. Suddenly, a colossal 18-wheeler, without a driver inside, pummeled into the car holding Acosta and her daughter. The force of the 18-wheeler’s collision caused Acosta’s vehicle to be pushed into the auto insurance building, along with the truck. Emergency crews responded instantly but it took them more than an hour to lift the semi-trailer off the vehicle. Acosta and her daughter were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. An employee of Acceptance reported that the truck came within six feet of her desk. She was terrified but uninjured.
Investigators later learned the cause behind the accident—the truck driver stopped the vehicle, exited it, and forgot to put on the parking break, causing the truck to roll away. The driver, who works for a company out of Nebraska, will not face charges for his actions. Local police called the incident a “freak accident” and determined the driver lacked any sort of criminal intent.
This heartbreaking accident is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence nationwide or in Mississippi. Every 16 minutes, a person is killed or injured in a tractor trailer accident in the U.S. This amounts to over 400,000 accidents involving tractor trailers each year. A search of headline news reveals an alarming number of 18-wheeler accidents on Mississippi roadways this year. During this past summer, an Ole Miss football player was killed in a horrendous accident involving a tractor trailer. Park Stevens was driving a truck that somehow collided with the rear end of the tractor trailer in front of him, killing him instantly. Officials are investigating whether the driver of the tractor trailer was at fault.
A month after Steven’s accident, here in Jackson, a vehicle fell off a car carrying truck, causing a car accident. The car carrier attempted to mount a bridge and evidently was too tall, knocking down one of the vehicles it carried. The driver admitted the accident was his fault. Luckily, the driver of the car that crashed into the downed vehicle will make a full recovery.
The victims of tractor trailer accidents such as these, and the families of those deceased, do have actions available to them to recover for their losses and hold the truck driver and/or his employer accountable. Victims of tractor trailer accidents can bring a personal injury suit alleging that the truck driver acted negligently and this negligence caused their injuries. In the event of the victim’s death, as in the case of deceased Olida Acosta and her 2-year-old daughter, the family of the decedent has the right to bring a wrongful death suit, seeking compensation for the loss of their loved one due to the negligent actions of the tractor trailer driver.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a tractor trailer accident, it is imperative that you seek the representation of a skilled trucking accident attorney as soon as possible. Trucking companies and their insurers will act quickly to attempt to limit their liability following an accident. You need a knowledgeable, aggressive attorney on your side fighting for your recovery. The Giddens Law Firm is a team of experienced truck accident attorneys who will relentlessly pursue your claim. Call the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free initial consultation.