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Truck accident results in favorable verdict for plaintiff

By Kyle Roby, Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

Chances are, we’ve all been stopped on a road by a person holding a brightly colored flag as roadwork commenced in front of us. It’s so common it’s unremarkable, and expected whenever there is construction on roads (which seems like most of the year in Kentucky).

In a recent case we handled in Edmondson County, a stopped truck didn’t have a spotter or flagger directing traffic around a cement truck blocking the roadway, and it nearly resulted in the death of our client. The general contractor did not have temporary traffic control devises in place and the concrete truck company did not train its drivers on what to do when the required devices are not present.

tractor-trailer-visibility-300x256Our client in this case was an elderly driver who didn’t have enough time to perceive and react to the truck stopped. The cement truck was backing out of the parking lot at the top of a hill and stopped his cement truck about four feet into the roadway. The elderly driver was life-flighted to a hospital and now resides in a nursing home, where he will likely be the rest of his life as a result of this accident.

The general contractor and sub-contractor settled before trial and the case proceeded against the concrete truck driver and the concrete truck company. The settlement and the amount awarded by the jury will assist in covering the cost of his medical bills – but his quality of life will never be the same. No amount of money awarded by any jury could compensate for his loss of independence, mobility and good health.

Large trucks are strictly regulated by the law. Regulations and laws enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as Kentucky laws regulate how types of roads large vehicles are utilize, how much time truck drivers can stay behind the wheel, how much trucks can weigh, and many other aspects of operating a large vehicle. This is because these vehicles are very dangerous when operated improperly, as we’ve seen time and again.

Making trucks more visible

The law is clear in this matter: if you have a vehicle stopped, obstructing part of a roadway, you must have a person stationed outside the vehicle with a bright-colored flag directing traffic around the stopped vehicle. The stopped cement truck in this case did not give any such warning, and as a result, the truck was a significant obstacle for drivers.

At night, truck visibility is an even bigger problem. You’ve probably seen flares or perhaps bright orange, reflective triangles placed behind tractor-trailers when they’re stopped on the shoulder of a road. These are essential tools for truck drivers, and it’s required for operators of such vehicles to keep something like that on hand in case you ever need to stop on the side of a road.

The point is to make your vehicle visible to save you from being hit, but also to save others from injury. The more visible you are, the better it is for all traveling that roadway.

Truck regulations and requirements

There are many such regulations that stipulate how tractor-trailers, buses and other similar large vehicles operate on our roads. We know these regulations, rules and laws well. If you or someone you know is ever injured in an accident involving a large truck, bus or tractor-trailer, we may be able to help you. Please contact me, attorney Kyle Roby, at (270) 781-6500 or kroby@elpolaw.com.