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Even road shoulders aren't safe from motor vehicle accidents

Numerous Florida residents use the shoulders of the state's highways and turnpikes to pull out of traffic. Whether a vehicle breaks down or one of its occupants requires the stop, people often assume that the shoulder is a safe place to be since it does not lie directly in the lane of travel. Unfortunately, many motor vehicle accidents occur in this area, and lives are lost.

A pickup up truck pulling a trailer that was headed southbound on the Florida Turnpike pulled off onto the shoulder sometime before 8:50 a.m. on a recent Thursday. The 68-year-old man got out of the truck while his 64-year-old wife remained in it. He made it to the trailer before an out-of-control 18-wheeler careened off the turnpike and struck him and then a chain link fence off the roadway before coming to a rest. He died there at the scene due to the force of the impact.

From the preliminary investigation, the Florida Highway Patrol theorizes that the 41-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer suffered some sort of medical event that led to the crash. At the time of the report, that medical event was not identified. The truck driver made it to the hospital before dying as well.

Those details could become important to the victim's widow. Any wrongful death claim filed against the estate of the truck driver and his employer will need to show that another person's negligence led to the death of her husband. Establishing that fact could in damages similar to those awarded in other motor vehicle accidents involving death.

Source: Miami Herald, "He exited his stopped truck on the Turnpike. Moments later, his wife saw herself become a widow.", David J. Neal, April 6, 2017

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