Woman Killed in Flying Tire Accident
A Georgia woman was killed when two tires flew off a tractor-trailer and crashed into her windshield. Now, her family is suing the truck driver who was driving the truck and the company that he worked for. Additionally, the driver of the truck, Yurien Chavez Bello who is from Miami, Florida faces criminal charges for second-degree vehicular homicide. Three others were injured in the crash.
The accident occurred on I-75. The driver of the truck and US Xpress Transport were both named as defendants in the civil case which has been filed in federal court.
Chavez was driving north on the I-75 when his tractor-trailer lost two of its wheels. The truck lost one of the wheels and it bounced over the median into oncoming traffic when it struck the windshield of 36-year-old Jennifer Thomas’s Acura sedan, killing her instantly. Her son, mother, and father were also in the vehicle. The extent of their injuries is unknown, but they all managed to survive the crash.
Duty of Care for Truck Companies
Truck companies and their drivers are required to perform inspections on their trucks before they leave for delivery. When they don’t, the results can be tragic as was the case in this instance. Additionally, the truck drivers themselves are required by federal law to perform inspections every 24 hours to avoid accidents such as these. There’s no doubt that someone is responsible when an unsafely mounted tire leaves a vehicle. The only question left is who?
In this case, the truck driver and the trucking company can both be held liable so long as the plaintiff can prove that the problem should have been caught by either the driver or the company after performing mandatory routine inspections on their vehicle. The trucking company’s insurance company has also been named in the lawsuit. US Xpress Transport is vicariously liable for the actions of their employee but has also been accused of negligent hiring, negligent training, and failure to properly inspect, maintain, or repair their vehicles.
While the civil case will have to wait until the criminal case is over before it can proceed, getting a successful conviction against the driver in criminal court can go a long way toward helping out the plaintiff’s case in this matter. Since criminal cases have a higher standard of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt) than civil cases do (by a preponderance of the evidence or more likely than not), the judgment from the criminal case can be entered against the driver as evidence of negligence in his civil case. It can also be used as proof that the company that retained his services improperly trained him. And of course, the company takes on vicarious liability for its drivers.
Even if the verdict comes back not guilty, the plaintiffs will still have a strong case against the defendants.
Talk to a Miami Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident by an equipment failure, you can sue the trucking company for failing to maintain their truck. Talk to a Miami personal injury attorney at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. today for a free consultation.