Should A Pedestrian Working on the Sidewalk Have To Worry About Being Hit by a Tractor Trailer?
Does your work lead you into dangerous positions?
This case involves a 68-year-old surveyor who was doing his job on a February morning in an area near the intersection of Bankhead Highway and Bright Star Road in Douglasville, Fulton County, Georgia. An 18-wheel tanker truck was making a right turn from Bankhead onto Bright Star when the rear wheels of the trailer came over the curb and into the grass where the surveyor was working. The surveyor was hit and injured by the trailer.
The surveyor filed suit in Fulton County State Court against the truck’s insurance carrier as the sole defendant. Additionally, he filed a separate suit in Hall County State Court naming the owner and the driver of the truck as defendants. Before the matter came before the court, the parties agreed that the outcome of the Fulton County case would resolve the Hall County suit as well.
The plaintiff claimed that the truck made an improper turn and failed to use the road design, which was sufficiently large to allow for wide turns.
Plaintiff claimed he suffered shoulder, arm, back, elbow, hip, pelvis, leg, chest, and neck injuries as a direct result of this accident. He claimed arthroscopic shoulder surgery and lumbar surgery became necessary when conservative treatment failed to alleviate his pain. He further stated that he lost his job as a surveyor due to the injuries and that he was forced into a more sedentary lifestyle.
At trial both the plaintiff and an eyewitness testified that the truck driver did not sound his horn. According to the plaintiff’s testimony, he did not see the truck and did not acknowledge the presence of the turning truck. Plaintiff argued that he was standing in the appropriate place in order to perform the duties of his job and he did not expect to be injured by a turning truck.
The plaintiff asked the Fulton County State Court Judge Susan D. Edlein and the empaneled jury to award him damages of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.
The defendants disputed liability, causation, and damages. They argued that the driver of the truck was driving very slowly and that he purposely sounded his horn to warn plaintiff. The driver argued that plaintiff appeared to acknowledge him, but moved without warning toward the turning trailer.
Both the plaintiff and eyewitnesses denied that the truck driver sounded his horn.
Defendants claimed that the plaintiff was responsible for his own injuries. Defendants also argued that plaintiff had pre-existing spinal spurs, which were unrelated to this accident, and that this low-speed accident did not cause any permanent injuries.
The plaintiff alleged that he suffered aggravation of his pre-existing spinal spurs, plus injuries to the shoulder, arm, back, elbow, hip, pelvis, leg, chest and neck. He underwent relatively minor arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, which was successful. Nevertheless, the plaintiff continued to experience hip and lower back pain. It was determined that the hip injury aggravated plaintiff’s spinal problem, resulting in inflammation, continued narrowing of the spinal canal and pinching of the spinal cord.
Three years after the accident, the plaintiff underwent lumbar surgery to remove the spurs, which resolved his pain. The plaintiff surveyor lost his job because of poor job performance due to his injuries and was required by his injuries to lead a more sedentary lifestyle.
The jury in this Fulton County case found in favor of the plaintiff after only 2 hours of deliberation, awarding him $1,200,000. They obviously believed that someone going about his regular work in proximity to a roadway should not have to fear a negligent driver or a huge truck.
Big vehicles don’t always have the right to any physical space it comes to occupy. Roads and highways are designed to keep all users safe. As long as everybody pays attention to the rules, they work as they are meant to.
If you are injured by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation. Allow the attorneys at Millar and Mixon to review your case before you settle with an insurance adjustor. It’s worth the time to be sure.