When a tractor-trailer hits a young man on a bicycle and runs over him, severe injuries are to be expected. The driver of the tractor-trailer truck claimed that he was unaware of hitting the young man and continued on his way. Another truck driver witnessed the events and sought help for the young man.
On a beautiful May morning a few years ago, an 18-year-old man was riding his bicycle from his high school to his home. He was riding on the left side of a one-way street. As he approached an entry ramp of an Interstate highway, he looked, and saw at least two tractor-trailers approaching the entry ramp. He then stopped and put his foot down on the elevated sidewalk to wait until the trucks had passed.
The second trucker was a short distance behind the first truck. He reported the events he witnessed this way: The trailer of the truck crossed a small section of the sidewalk beside the ramp. When the back of the trailer “clipped” the sidewalk, it hit the young man from behind. This threw the young man into the street. He was then run over by the tandem rear tires of the trailer.
The tractor-trailer driver (defendant) said that he saw the young man (plaintiff) approaching the end of the elevated shoulder. He reported that he made the turn onto the ramp and said he never saw the young man again. He also stated that he did not know anything had happened. When questioned by the State Police, the defendant denied any awareness that he had hit the plaintiff. The State Trooper decided against filing charges against the defendant.
The witness trucker noted that the defendant did not stop after hitting the plaintiff. He continued onto the Interstate. The witness immediately stopped and tried to help the plaintiff, who was lying in the street in obvious severe pain. He then called 911 for help. He said he tried to reach the defendant on his CB radio, but failed to get a response.
The plaintiff was airlifted to the nearest trauma center. He was admitted to the intensive care unit. He then underwent several surgical procedures for his multiple orthopedic injuries and for internal crush injuries. These procedures addressed fractures to the lower vertebrae of the spine and injuries to the urological system.
One issue in this case was determining which Virginia laws determine negligence under these circumstances. The Virginia Code specifies that motor vehicle drivers must allow a three-foot cushion around bicyclists who are traveling in a lane of travel. There is no code that applies to a pedestrian (or bicyclist) who is positioned safely on a sidewalk. Negligence in this case was defined by common law. During deposition, the defendant was questioned about the provision in the Virginia commercial driving license manual that describes how tractor-trailer drivers should turn corners and how to anticipate “off tracking” of the rear end of the trailer.
In the intervening time between the event and mediation, the Plaintiff had recovered well. He was able to walk without assistive devices. His work activity would be limited to light or sedentary activity. This ended his goal of entering the military. A vocational counselor provided a written report including his opinion that the plaintiff would not be accepted into the military due to his physical condition. The counselor also reported that the plaintiffs lost earning capacity should be valued at $400,000.
The limit of the defendant’s insurance was disputed but not resolved because the plaintiff wanted to settle the case rather than litigating the issue. The insurance coverage was taken to be $1,000,000. The case settled in mediation for $1.1 million, with the $100,000 beyond the limits of the policy paid by the small trucking company from its assets.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to recover financial damages for your hurts and harms. If you need legal representation, call Altizer Law, P.C. Our trusted team has more than 30 years of experience helping people recover the maximum settlement or verdict in truck accidents. Bettina Altizer and her team fight for each person’s needs aggressively and tenaciously.