Recently, a tractor-trailer slammed into 11 cars that were stopped on a Mississippi coastal highway and killed a 49-year-old father and his 18-year-old daughter as well as two Louisiana men, ages 23 and 21. Four others were injured. A man was driving a Toyota Tundra that was pulling a trailer carrying computer equipment and lost control of the vehicle. The driver overcorrected, and the equipment spilled all over the interstate. Traffic stalled, and an 18-wheeler crashed into the stopped vehicles, affecting nine other vehicles. The scene was described as "overwhelming" and spanned about a quarter-mile of the eastbound lanes on the highway.
The debris and glass were strewn across the interstate. The crews cleared the road. The sheriff redirected traffic, and multiple emergency responders reported to the accident. The firefighters had to remove the bodies of the deceased and other accident victims using a Jaws of Life. The accident remains under investigation, and a reconstruction specialist will have to assess the accident to determine the cause of all the injuries. When tractor-trailers are involved in an accident, the resulting injuries are often devastating due to the size and weight of these vehicles.
Establishing fault in a multi-vehicle accident can be complex and challenging. Although the driver who spilled items on the road is probably at fault, other drivers including the tractor-trailer driver may bear some responsibility. Those injured in the accident can sue the responsible party if they can prove negligence. To prove negligence, they must show the defendant's duty, a breach of duty, causation, and damages. Mississippi is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that the plaintiff's own negligence does not bar his or her recovery, but damages will be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff's negligence.