Tractor-Trailer Accident Leads To Death Of Disabled Woman
Late September 2023 saw the unfortunate death of a woman using a wheelchair or motorized scooter as she was struck in a crosswalk in Fort Lauderdale. While details about the crash are scant, news reports of the woman lying partially under the trailer appeared in multiple outlets. Tractor-trailer accidents involving pedestrians are sadly common, as very often, pedestrians are invisible to drivers. If you have been involved in a similar situation, it is important to know you have the right to seek damages.
Pedestrian Casualties Are High In Florida
Pedestrian accidents happen regularly in Florida, and in years past, they have happened at a decidedly higher clip than they do in other states. The urban planning think tank Smart Growth America publishes a report every year on pedestrian accidents and fatalities, called Dangerous By Design; in its 2022 report, four Florida metropolitan areas were ranked in the top 10 most dangerous for pedestrians (Daytona Beach, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, and Orlando).
There are several reasons why pedestrian casualties are so high, particularly in accidents involving larger vehicles. As one might imagine, the sheer size and weight of a tractor-trailer versus a pedestrian with little to no protection will often result in severe injuries or fatalities, but even before an impact, it can be very difficult for tractor-trailer drivers to see pedestrians. Alcohol or other substances are also a common factor, both for pedestrians and drivers; drivers in particular do sometimes use substances in order to stay awake to meet quotas or make orders.
Worth It To File?
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer as a pedestrian, it is likely that your injuries are quite severe. While you may be able to use your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover your bills, even as a pedestrian – the policy tends to follow the person, rather than the vehicle – it may very well be insufficient to cover all your bills. If your injuries are sufficiently serious, you have the right to file suit against the tractor-trailer driver, and in some situations, their employer.
That said, it can be tempting to not file a lawsuit simply because it can be overwhelming, and the ‘deep pockets’ of many tractor-trailer companies may have you believing that it will be impossible to prevail at trial. In reality, if you have the evidence on your side, it is possible to get the damages you deserve. Florida law holds that every road user has a duty to exercise care toward every other road user – if you can show that the driver did not exercise that level of care, and that no one else played a role in your accident, the court will likely be on your side.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
While the identity of the deceased woman in Ft Lauderdale has not yet been released, her surviving family may have a claim against the driver of the truck. If you have experienced a similar accident, a Tampa tractor-trailer crash attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group may be able to help guide you through the legal process. Contact our office today for a free consultation.