A motorcyclist was killed when a semitrailer pulled into traffic from a closed lane.
On Saturday, December 3, 2016, a 28-year-old motorcyclist from Merritt Island was traveling in the eastbound lanes of State Road 520 near Cocoa, Florida, when an 18-wheeler, driven by a man from Cleveland, Ohio, pulled into his lane. The truck had been stopped in a closed lane.
The motorcyclist struck the trailer. Tragically, the motorcyclist did not survive.
What if the Driver Claims He or She Did Not See the Motorcycle?
Even if the driver of a semitrailer says he or she did not see a motorcycle before a crash, that does not mean that the driver is absolved of any legal responsibility. We have won many cases, some multimillion-dollar cases, where a truck driver claimed he or she did not see someone who was injured or killed in a crash.
Was the Driver Distracted as He Moved into Traffic from the Closed Lane?
Most of our cases involve some sort of distraction. In one of our recent cases, a semitrailer driver illegally stopped in the middle of the road while he was talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone. Another semi could not stop in time and slammed into the back of his trailer, killing the driver of the second semi. Attorney Eric Hageman won a wrongful death settlement for the family.
No driver should get distracted, but less so the driver of a truck that could weigh 80,000 pounds. A commercial truck driver has a higher level of duty of care. As a professional driver, he/she is required to be alert and maintain control of his/her rig at all times. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, § 392.3:
No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.