Man Struck By Tractor-Trailer After Walking Onto I-75
In early September 2023, an Opa Locka man was walking on the shoulder of I-75, near Ocala, and entered the right lane of the highway. A tractor-trailer traveling south tragically struck him, not having enough time to stop the vehicle once the driver spotted the pedestrian. The truck wound up striking the median guardrail, with its trailer overturning. Unfortunately, the pedestrian was pronounced deceased at the scene. While it is quite rare for tractor-trailer accidents to involve pedestrians, injuries can be catastrophic if similar accidents do occur.
Different Causes & Effects
Pedestrian accidents are relatively infrequent, particularly on large freeways, but when they occur, they are devastating. Statistics from 2022 show that over 10,000 accidents involving pedestrians occurred in that year, with around 790 fatalities – seemingly a small number, but disproportionate in terms of how many crashes occurred overall. As one might imagine, the sheer size of a tractor-trailer can cause catastrophic injuries to a human just simply walking down the street.
There are many different potential causes for accidents, which can be laid at the proverbial door of many different actors. The tractor-trailer driver may be driving distracted, fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The road may be poorly maintained, or the vehicle might be coming apart at the seams. Alternatively, it may very well be that the pedestrian did not exercise proper caution when walking along a road (though, in the Ocala case, it is a truism that a pedestrian should never cross a busy freeway except at appropriate crossings!).
You May Still Recover
If you have been struck by a tractor-trailer as a pedestrian, you almost certainly have severe injuries, meaning that you can bypass Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system. People with minor injuries (generally, those that are not “significant and permanent”) can seek compensation for auto accident injuries through their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. If your injuries are more severe, you have the right to file suit.
You may worry that your actions might have affected your ability to seek compensation – for example, if the Opa Locka man had survived, the tractor-trailer driver’s attorney might have tried to argue that his negligence in walking onto the road was a contributing factor in the accident. All hope is not lost; Florida law allows a person who is ruled less than 50 percent responsible for their own injuries to still recover for their damages. If your percentage of fault is higher, though, you cannot recover at all.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
While it remains to be seen what will happen with the case in Ocala, a person who has been struck by a tractor-trailer on the road should consult an experienced attorney to know how to proceed with their case. A Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can provide knowledgeable and dedicated representation. Call our office today for a free consultation.