33-year old Kristin Jackson was killed and Justin Jackson, 39, was injured after a serious four-vehicle accident near Briscoe, AR in Prairie County on December 11, 2012. Police said that the Jacksons were driving in a Ford Escort on I-40, headed west at about 12:30 p.m., when they came upon slowed traffic for a construction zone and stopped behind a semi-truck.
Scene of the Accident
After they had stopped, their SUV was hit from behind by Michael Serrat’s semi-truck, which had apparently failed to stop for the traffic. After the first collision, Sherrat’s semi-truck was hit by Valerie Powers’ semi-truck, which caused the Jackson’s Ford Escort to be trapped between the first two big rigs. Paramedics were called to the scene where they declared Kristin dead and transported Justin to a local hospital in unknown condition. The truck drivers were uninjured in the accident and police did not say if any charges were being brought.
When I read about this accident in the news, I was thinking about a recent case that we handled. In it, a man was killed when his car was hit by an 18-wheeler that failed to yield to oncoming traffic, causing a chain-reaction collision that resulted in multiple injuries and the one fatality. Although it seemed perfectly clear that the semi-truck driver was at fault in the accident, the insurance company attempted to use the police report as evidence that our client was driving recklessly and therefore contributed to the accident. However, we were able to conduct our own investigation of the accident scene and determined that the semi-truck driver did give sufficient braking time and was traveling at unsafe speeds. We also discovered that the trucking company had a history of hiring drivers who were less than qualified to be handling such large commercial vehicles.
In this accident that happened near Briscoe, it seems that the fault lies with the 2nd and 3rd semi-truck driver, who failed to stop in time. However, my experience in handling these cases has taught me that, given the chance, the trucking companies and their insurance companies will almost always try to shift the blame to another party to avoid being held liable for the accident. Furthermore, even if the police report indicates that the truck driver was not at fault, their report can always be contested in court and refuted with a reliable, unbiased third-party investigation.
Whatever the outcome of this tragic accident, I hope that the families of the deceased and injured victims are able to find closure and I hope that they will be able to hold the appropriate parties responsible for their loss.