Family vacations really are some of the most special times for any family. Vacations are a time to make memories that last a lifetime and they provide the best stories to pass down for generations. A family we represented was on the way to do just that. It was a father in mother with their two girls, 4 and 6 years old. They were driving through Anderson County on the way to visit family in Atlanta. It was dark and the road was clear, so everything was coming together for an easy, distraction-free drive to Atlanta, until a potentially wonderful memory turned into a painful reality.
A trailer that had been pulled by a vehicle somehow became detached and was left in the road, and since it was dark, there was no way the father could have seen it in time to stop, so they hit the trailer head on and were straggled across two lanes. Just then a tractor trailer comes barreling toward the scene and crashes into the stalled van, sending it hurtling down the highway and eventually over the concrete divider. Tragedy struck immediately as the tractor trailer accident caused the mother to be expelled from the vehicle and die upon impact, while the father was left mortally wounded.
Finally, an officer arrived to the scene of the tractor trailer accident to find the 6-year-old unbuckled and sitting in her wounded father’s arms, clinging to him. She was pleading for his life, but bad turned to worse when her father died shortly thereafter. In an instant, their parents were ripped from their lives right in front of their eyes, and they were left orphaned and alone at such a young age. The two girls were not tremendously physically hurt and walked away basically unscathed by a miracle. Yet inside they were in a dark time of grieving and an intense pain, one that no one else could ever fully understand or articulate.
Thankfully, Guest & Brady was able to get involved in representing the children and pursued claims on behalf estates for them. We also secured relatives to care for them and helped determine their new custodial parents to be their aunt and uncle in a private court. Not only that, but we also filed claims against the tractor trailer company, and by filing a lawsuit, we were able to recover $1.4 million for the family. We set up special needs trusts in order to protect the assets of the children, and determined they would be allowed to collect the funds at age 25. This allowed them to qualify for government benefits and to have money secured for big things like education, housing, and other key needs.
There’s really no way to look on the bright side of such a tragic tractor trailer accident, but we’re thankful that we were able to take care of the logistics and proceedings so the family could have the time and space they needed to grieve. Because of our work, these children have a good home and a bright future, not having to worry that they won’t be provided for.