FedEx delivery truck in fatal collision with cyclist
NBC Los Angeles reports that a 22-year-old female bicyclist was pedaling eastbound on Nutwood Avenue in Fullerton, approaching the intersection with Ladera Vista Drive. The driver of a FedEx delivery truck was traveling northbound on Ladera Vista Drive and did not see the cyclist. When the FedEx driver attempted to make a left turn onto Nutwood, the truck struck the cyclist in the intersection, killing her.
Paramedics pronounced the bicyclist dead at the scene. The intersection was closed for two hours while the Fullerton Police conducted a preliminary investigation of the truck accident. The FedEx truck driver remained at the scene and cooperated with officers.
The preliminary investigation indicates that speed was not a factor in the accident. Although it appears that the cyclist had the right of way, the police investigation continues. A Fullerton police sergeant stated that it was too early to determine the cause of the accident.
Negligence per se and liability of FedEx
Assuming that the bicyclist did have the right of way, the FedEx driver is likely liable under the legal theory of negligence per se in failing to yield the right of way before attempting to make the left turn. Negligence per se arises from a driver’s violation of a law that is designed to protect the safety of the public, such as the California traffic law requiring drivers to yield the right of way. A traffic safety violation can be offered in and of itself to prove negligence by the driver in a civil action for damages.
FedEx, as the driver’s employer, would likely also be held liable for its driver’s negligence so long as the driver was making deliveries or pickups, or otherwise acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the collision.
Wrongful death and survival actions
Surviving family members of an accident victim may be able to bring a wrongful death action against the responsible parties. The relatives who may bring such an action, and the types of damages that may be recovered, are governed by the California statutes. Damages for wrongful death include economic damages, such as loss of financial support provided by the deceased, funeral and burial expenses, and the reasonable value of household services that the deceased would have provided.
Such damages also include noneconomic damages, such as the loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support. In a case where the deceased is survived by a spouse, noneconomic damages also include the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations. Where the deceased is survived by one or more children, noneconomic damages include the loss of the decedent’s training and guidance.
The personal representative of the deceased cyclist’s estate could also bring a separate, survival action for the fatal injuries suffered by the bicyclist. While an award of punitive damages may be sought in such an action, the California statutes specifically prohibit the recovery of damages for “pain, suffering or disfigurement.”
What if I am injured or lose a loved one in a truck accident?
As this tragic incident shows, an accident involving a truck colliding with a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist frequently results in either death or serious injury. If you should be injured or lose a loved one in a truck accident, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney who can obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries or loss.