Because large tractor-trailers transporting a maximum load under federal law can reach forty tons, any crash caused by a careless, distracted, or speeding tractor-trailer operator will typically have a devastating impact on occupants of the other vehicle. When trucking accidents involve pedestrians, the outcome typically will be fatal. Although pedestrians have the right-of-way in many situations, a commercial driver and trucking company will not automatically be liable when a pedestrian is struck down by a big-rig. Our trucking accident attorneys recognize the importance of careful investigation, analysis, and presentation of evidence, which typically includes expert witnesses.
Our trucking accident lawyers note a case from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals that provides a graphic reminder of the importance of effective legal representation of a pedestrian who suffers fatal injuries in a trucking accident. In Ponzera v. O’Neal, the plaintiff was struck by a tractor-trailer on a roadway that was dimly lit at night. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, contending a lack of material facts in dispute that indicated that the truck driver’s conduct was negligent. When considering a motion for summary judgment, the judge will view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. If the judge finds that there is not a dispute of material facts, the court will determine that the party who filed the motion is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Summary judgment was granted by the trial judge against the pedestrian on the issue of whether the truck driver operated the vehicle negligently, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →