La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.

Personal injury and death damages fall on driver's employer

Pedestrian injuries and deaths in car and truck accidents continue to be a significant problem in Florida and nationwide. Many drivers do not pay sufficient attention to the presence of pedestrians on the roadways and even when they are crossing in a crosswalk, thus causing a tragic toll of personal injury and death. Recently, the Highway Patrol reported the death of a 73-year-old man who was walking his dog when a garbage truck backed into him and ran him over.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported that neighbors tried to resuscitate the victim and then rushed him to a hospital, where he died. The dog was taken to an emergency vet clinic but its condition is unknown. FCC Environmental Services owned the truck. The company stated that it was cooperating with police in their investigation.

The company was contrite but of course did not go so far as to admit liability for the accident. The driver of the truck appears, however, to have been negligent in not observing a pedestrian walking a dog. When backing up, truckers in particular must be highly cautious to know that the coast is clear and that all angles toward the rear of the truck have been observed and double-checked.

Common sense dictates that the speed of a garbage truck backing up should be no more than a crawl, and it should not be so fast that it could crush or run over a pedestrian. There may be other facts that will militate in favor of a finding of negligence by the driver, but all determinations in that respect will have to wait for the final report of the Florida Highway Patrol. The law generally imputes liability for personal injury and death damages onto the employer of a driver whose negligence causes the accident and was committed during the course of his or her work duties. This is the legal concept of agency liability, also called respondeat superior.

Source:, "FHP: Deadly crash is second recent case involving same company", Matt Lupoli, Dec. 21, 2017

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