By: Karen Piso Nadeau, Esquire
According to WCVB 5 News, a 20 year-old man was flown to a Boston area hospital Thursday night August 29th, after being struck by a pizza delivery vehicle in Middleton, MA and is in critical condition. According to witnesses, the pizza delivery vehicle lost control and hit a fire hydrant before slamming into the landscaper. The pizza delivery driver admitted he lost control reaching for his cell phone.
We all know that distracted driving is dangerous and can injure and kill people. In addition to cell phone use, there are other distractions that interfere with paying attention while driving. Some of those more common distractions are eating, drinking, reviewing navigation or maps, personal grooming (hair and makeup), looking at objects or people, talking to a passenger and, as may be the case of this pizza delivery driver, reaching for an object while driving.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes involving distracted driving. According to the CDC, there are three main types of distractions:
Visual: Taking your eyes of the road;
Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel; and
Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving.
As to the pizza delivery driver, he claims he was reaching for his cell phone. This was obviously a distraction. In reality, he may have actually been on his cell phone or texting. His cell phone records will assist in making this determination. He may have been speeding. He may have a prior driving history of causing accidents. If so, were any accidents on the job? Were they with this same employer whom he was making the pizza delivery for that day? If so, what the employer did before hiring this pizza delivery driver to determine his fitness to drive will need to be scrutinized. Did the employer obtain his driving record and explore if the driver had prior incidents before hiring him? What did the employer do to train this driver? What instructions were given as to driver safety? What were the employer’s expectations as to the number of pizza deliveries to be made?
These issues and questions will be investigated in making a determination as to who should be held accountable for this landscaper’s injuries which will likely include huge medical bills and lost earnings from work as well as pain and suffering. Based on news reports to date, it appears that the pizza delivery driver is negligent and responsible for this terrible accident. He may only have limited motor vehicle insurance coverage that will be inadequate to compensate the victim. His employer may be held responsible for the pizza delivery driver’s dangerous driving on a theory of vicarious liability. This should allow for additional insurance coverage through the employer’s own insurance policy where there is usually much more insurance coverage. Ultimately, both the pizza delivery driver and his employer may be held responsible for what happened to this landscaper when he was mowing a lawn on a beautiful late August day. Another terrible accident this summer that could have been avoided.
The lawyers at Nadeau Harkavy LLC help victims like this landscaper and their families recover damages for their losses in serious injury and wrongful death cases arising from motor vehicle accidents. If you have any questions about your legal rights relating to a motor vehicle accident, wrongful death or other accident, feel free to contact us for a free consult today at 617-674-7640.