Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Motorcycle does not see tow truck cable, passenger dies. Who is at fault?

On May 30, 2011, Plaintiff, age 29, died a tragic and untimely death as a result of the negligence of the Defendants in the execution of their acts and towing responsibilities. The Plaintiff sustained injuries when the motor bike on which she was a passenger collided with a tow truck cable that was attached to a vehicle 70 or more feet away. This incident occurred in the Edison (or ITT) Corridor. On this particular day, a pickup and trailer were stuck in the mud and Defendant Towing Company was called to assist. As the Towing Company entered the property, a tow truck employee noticed a motorbike with a passenger making passes in the corridor. The tow truck operators proceeded to let out the cable and attached it to the front of the pickup. This cable was 3/4 inch in diameter and was twisted and oiled covered steel. Everyone agrees there were no markings on the expanse of the cable. The supervising tow truck operator testified he was not aware of the motorbike and had he known and been made aware, he would have taken the time of notify them of the potential hazard. The cable was pulled taut. The driver and The deceased Plaintiff, as his passenger, were heading toward the cable. The driver thought he could make a safe pass avoiding vehicles in the path. What he did not know and did not see was the dark wench cable stretched across the field. The only obstacle the experienced driver, could not negotiate was that which was not anticipated to be there, one he could not readily see. No markers, no cones, no flags, no reflector. The driver said that at a brief moment before he collided with the cable, he saw a tow truck operator waving his hands and then he hit. the driver would not have been able to stop in time to avoid the cable. It was only a matter of seconds. The bike struck the cable and threw them from the bike. The passenger (plaintiff) survived the hit and was talking, complaining of pain. The Plaintiff (passenger) died at the hospital approximately a half hour after the incident. Autopsy revealed that she had sustained multiple blunt injuries, amputation of a digit, impacted injuries to her torso, pulmonary contusions, lacerated liver and spleen, numerous rib fractures and fractures of the lumbar spine, secondary to injuries sustained by impact. The Towing Company failed to ensure site safety. It was not reasonable and prudent to stretch cable over 70-80 feet without demarcation. The Towing Company was negligent in the performance of their duties by failing to alert bystanders of this danger. Defendants created the peril and failed to warn. As a result of their negligence, a person died of injuries sustained as a result of traumatic impact. The award against Defendant Towing Company through binding arbitration ordered by the Court was $900,000.

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