A young, active, athletic medical student was at a bad place at the worst possible moment one spring morning in Downtown Atlanta. The young woman, a 26-year-old graduate of an Atlanta University, working on the necessary requisite courses to become a physician’s assistant was making her way through a construction zone on her way to Georgia State University, when her bicycle was crushed beneath the right wheel of dump truck hauling gravel. The accident took place when she stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Marietta and Farleigh Streets in downtown Atlanta
This young woman suffered what is called a “degloving injury” of the right leg. This term may sound innocuous enough. It makes one think of simply removing ones gloves. What it really means is that her very flesh was ripped away from her bones from her hip to her foot including skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
The student was an athletic woman who had been a bicyclist since the age of 15. She rode hundreds of miles each year on her bike. She also taught soccer and participated in swimming and intra-mural basketball. Her injuries seemed debilitating.
The Determination to Recover
Although it was initially feared she would lose her leg, the grafting procedure from her left leg was successful. While she suffered some permanent scarring and injury to her right leg, the plaintiff made a substantial recovery. To her credit, she has regained full use of her right leg and was actually able to participate in the Peachtree Bicycle Road Race the year following the horrific accident.
Her Civil Lawsuit
This young lady filed a civil suit in a Georgia Superior Court against the owner of the dump truck claiming medical and related expenses totaling approximately $ 135,000.
A truck owned by the defendant corporation, had been traveling in the same direction as the plaintiff. It also came to a stop at the intersection. After permitting a pedestrian to pass, the dump truck proceeded to make the right-hand-turn while the right front wheel of the dump truck drove directly over the rear of the plaintiff’s bicycle, pulling her bicycle underneath the truck as it made its turn.
On the issue of liability, the plaintiff argued that the defendant’s truck driver negligently failed to exercise proper care when making her turn. The plaintiff contended that even if she were located in a blind spot as the defendant claimed, when the defendant commenced the turn, the driver still had an obligation to ensure pedestrian and bicyclist safety prior to proceeding.
The plaintiff brought in a professional engineer and a professional truck driver to testify. Both of these experts opined that the mirrors on the defendants’ truck were probably not adjusted in accordance with standards set by the American Trucking Association in order to alleviate “blind spots.” The experts also testified that even if the plaintiff had arrived at the intersection after the dump truck, the driver should have been able to see her approaching with the various mirrors available, even as they were positioned at the time of the accident. All experts admitted that the pattern of injury and damage to the bicycle reflected that the right front tire of the dump truck had crossed it diagonally from the rear.
The Compensation from the Injury
Even though both the bicyclist and the truck driver in this case were cited by the investigating police officer, and in spite of the fact that eye witnesses were unable to clarify or agree upon the precise timing of the accident, this case was settled prior to trial with a settlement in the amount of $850,000.
Sometimes the facts in an accident can seem muddled and unclear. It can be difficult to sort out with any precision how such a grizzly accident can happen. This uncertainty is the best reason to seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before you sign away your rights through the settlement of your claim.
If you were injured because of a negligent semi-truck driver contact our attorneys here at The Millar Law Firm. We help victims get the compensation they deserve.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above article is a factually-accurate case history of an actual previously litigated or settled Georgia case. The case was reported on in local media and/or legal reporting services and it was not handled by The Millar Law Firm. However, we think our current and prospective clients may find this information interesting and informative as the case is factually similar to cases our office routinely handles. Please be advised that The Millar Law Firm makes no guarantees your case will have a similar outcome, as past results and results of our firm or of other lawyers and law firms are not indicative of future performance.