A motorcyclist died as a result of an accident with a Saddle Creek semi-truck on Drane Field Road in Lakeland, Florida on December 11, 2016. The accident occurred in the 4000 block of Drane Field Road at approximately 11:30 a.m. In the photograph, it appears that the semi-truck is slightly over the center line of the roadway with the debris from the motorcycle directly in front of it. The driver of the 2012 Harley Davidson motorcycle was Jason Douglas Faircloth, from Lakeland, Florida. Saddle Creek’s driver was Dennis Coppins.
My Own Virtual Investigation
After going to Google Maps, the truck appears to be heading westbound on Drane Field and was making a left hand turn onto Air Park Road, where there are light industrial businesses. Therefore, my best guess based on the information available is that the Saddle Creek truck turned left in front of the motorcycle. Further, based on the location of debris from the motorcycle, an abnormally high rate of speed should be ruled out. Perhaps the semi-truck driver simply failed to recognize the motorcyclist coming down the roadway.
Wrongful Death in Florida
Based on what we currently know, I think it is fair to say that the motorcyclist’s death is a wrongful death and Saddle Creek is going to be legally liable under Florida law. The motorcyclist involved in likely to have a survivor to bring a Florida wrongful death action, such as a surviving spouse, minor child, or parents. The damages to each different type of survivor varies under the law. A left turn without adequate time and space to complete the manuever without adversely affecting other vehicles coming from the opposite direction is negligence under Florida law. Further, Saddle Creek is a large trucking company that owns or leases its own trucks rather than relying on owner operators.
A Full Investigation into the Driver is Needed
Saddle Creek trucking is a federal motor carrier that is subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act. They have on obligation to do a thorough investigation into each employee driver’s background to ensure that they are in fact qualified to drive a truck. While Saddle Creek is a large trucking company, they may have cut corners in their hiring process. If a personal injury attorney is able to find evidence that the driver was not properly qualified to drive the truck, including completing various tests and qualification factors, then such factors may increase the value of the case as a jury may find the conduct of the trucking company unacceptable. An attorney should also look at the trip history of this particular truck to see whether the hours requirements were complied with. Failure to enforce hours limitations of drivers can result in punitive damages.
Call a Lakeland Truck Accident Attorney to Investigate on Your Behalf
If you or someone you know has been involved in a Lakeland truck accident, please contact a Lakeland truck accident attorney for a free case review. It is important that the investigation into a personal injury case begin as soon as possible. For instance, if the driver was texting and driving, then some carriers only keep text messages for a few days to a week before discarding the data. It is important to look for these type of explanations after an accident.
LPD investigating traffic fatality at 4000 Drane Field Road. Roadway closed for 3 hours while the officers investigate. pic.twitter.com/w3r26eUp6b
— Sgt. Gary B Gross (@GaryBGross) December 11, 2016