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Jury rules for victim's mother in fatal truck accident lawsuit

A 29-year-old was killed when she was run over by an 18-wheel-truck. The store parking lot accident occurred in Columbia, South Carolina on January 3, 2011. A Richland County jury recently ruled in her mother's favor following a trial for her civil lawsuit claiming wrongful death, negligence, recklessness and willfulness by the truck driver and his employer.

The Tuskegee, Alabama truck driver admitted that he ran the victim over when she walked in front of the vehicle after he provided a ride to her earlier in the morning. He was not charged in the accident. According to authorities, however, the driver left the accident scene without seeking or providing aid. Police identified him by using surveillance videos.

Experts also testified that the victim lived through the golden hour where prompt aid could have possibly saved her life. The driver should have also kept a proper lookout before hitting the pedestrian, have known that he struck her and that he was required to immediately provide assistance according to other expert witnesses. The plaintiff also alleged that the driver did not comply with state law by stopping and calling for assistance immediately after the accident and that he did not follow his company's safety policies by providing a ride to an unauthorized passenger without permission.

The jury awarded $325,000 to the victim's mother. Her attorney stated that the award was likely limited because the victim was unemployed at the time of the crash and she did not have custody of her two children.

Pedestrian safety is a serious problem. A pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in auto accidents in 2010 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. This resulted in 4,280 pedestrian fatalities and an estimated 70,000 injuries for that year according to the NHTSA. Trucks and their size compound this risk and peril.

Pedestrians hit by a car or truck and their families should seek prompt advice to assure their rights are protected, to address the factors underlying the accident, the negligence of drivers and property owners and whether other conduct exacerbated the victim's injuries and the amount of damages. Time periods limit the time a lawsuit may be filed.

Source: WMBF, "Family gets $325K in lawsuit after woman killed by 18-wheeler," July 18, 2013

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