Accidents involving large trucks often result in multiple-vehicle pileups when truck drivers follow too closely behind other vehicles for the speed at which they are traveling. Just such an accident occurred on a coastal Mississippi highway near the Louisiana border, shortly after midnight on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

In this case, the trouble began with one truck and continued with another. According to reports, the flatbed trailer of a 2011 Toyota Tundra pickup truck rolled over on Mississippi’s Interstate 10, spilling the used computer equipment it was carrying across the highway. When a row of vehicles behind that truck stopped to avoid hitting it and the debris, another truck—this one, an 18-wheeler—plowed into the line of stopped vehicles, causing 4 deaths and injuries to 4 others. Among the vehicles involved in the crash were 4 big-rigs and 6 passenger cars, some so badly damaged, according to a Lieutenant with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, that their makes and models could not immediately be determined.

Though the cause of the accident is still under investigation (the police are reported to have stated that weather was not a factor), the drivers of both trucks may be found at fault. When truck drivers negligently cause accident injuries or deaths, the drivers and their employers may be held liable through legal action. Unlike car-accident cases, truck-accident cases require the assistance of truck-accident attorneys with knowledge and experience specific to truck-accident cases. The Trucking Injury Firm’s truck-accident lawyers have gained national recognition for their specialized knowledge and experience with truck-accident cases and their representation of truck-accident clients in states across the country. If you have been injured or one of your family members has been killed in a truck accident of any kind, The Trucking Injury Firm’s team of trucking-injury attorneys can help you obtain the compensation to which you and your family are entitled.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Truck Accident Injuries and Deaths?

The drivers of both the pickup truck and the 18-wheeler involved in the Mississippi accident may be found negligent and, therefore, liable for the injuries and deaths sustained in the accident. Those responsible for loading the trailer of the pickup truck, as well as the employers of both drivers, may also be found liable.

The pickup truck was pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with computer equipment when the trailer overturned. Engineering experts in accident reconstruction as well as experts on the proper loading of flatbed trailers may be called upon to determine if the trailer was improperly or unsafely loaded and if the manner of loading caused the trailer to overturn. If the trailer is found to have been negligently loaded and the negligent loading a cause of the trailer’s overturning, the individuals and/or entity responsible for the trailer’s loading may be held liable for the deaths and injuries caused by the accident. The driver may also be held responsible for injuries and deaths caused by improper loading that was performed by someone other than the driver if the driver is found to have negligently failed to inspect the load before transporting it.

The pickup truck’s driver might also be found liable for causing the trailer to overturn for reasons other than unsafe loading. If, for example, the driver negligently swerved or sharply turned the truck and caused it to turn over, the driver may be found liable for the resultant accident injuries and deaths. In addition, if the driver was employed by another individual or entity, the employer may be held vicariously, or indirectly, liable for the injuries and deaths caused by the employee driver’s negligence.

The negligence of the 18-wheeler driver may also be found to have been a cause of the accident and resulting injuries and deaths. Drivers of heavy trucks need to allow greater distances to stop their vehicles than those required for cars and other smaller vehicles. The 18-wheeler’s crashing into the line of stopped cars suggests that the 18-wheeler’s driver was following the car in front of it too closely for the speed at which the 18-wheeler was traveling. This, alone, may be found to constitute negligence by the driver, resulting in liability on the part of the driver and the driver’s employer.

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce (which may include both the pickup truck and the 18-wheeler) are subject to many other requirements, as well, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Among these are Hours of Service (HOS) regulations intended to prevent accidents caused by fatigued drivers of commercial motor vehicles, Alcohol and Controlled Substance regulations intended to prevent accidents caused by drivers under the influence, and regulations related to the screening, hiring, training, and supervision of truck drivers.

The driver of the 18-wheeler, for instance, and the trucking company by which the driver was dispatched and/or employed will need to be investigated to determine if the driver’s running into the vehicles in front of the truck was caused by HOS violations by the driver and/or the company, by alcohol or controlled substance misuse, or by inattentiveness due to another incidence of driver negligence. If any of these violations or other negligence is determined to have been causal of the collision, the driver may be held directly liable and the driver’s employer indirectly liable for the resulting accident injuries and deaths. The driver’s employer may also be found directly liable for the negligent screening, hiring, training, and/or supervision of the employee driver whose negligence is determined to have been causal of the accident and resulting injuries and deaths.

Obtain Aggressive Assistance from The Trucking Injury Firm

The Trucking Injury Firm’s trucking-accident lawyers have been recognized nationwide for their aggressive pursuit of justice from those who cause truck-accident victims’ injuries and deaths. Contact The Trucking Injury Firm’s team of trucking-injury lawyers for experienced and dedicated assistance with your truck-injury case.