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ARTICLE ID 36241

Truck/Motorcycle collision - Alleged negligent left turn - Spinal cord injury - Partial, temporary paralysis - Continued neurological deficits.

Allegheny County

The plaintiff, a male in his late 60’s, alleged that the driver of the defendant’s trash truck made a negligently left turn and struck his motorcycle as the plaintiff passed the truck on the left side. The defendant maintained that the trash truck was displaying a left turn signal and that the collision was caused when the plaintiff negligently attempted to pass the truck on the left side.

The plaintiff testified that he was riding his motorcycle on a two lane roadway in the early morning hours when he came upon the defendant’s trash truck in front of him. The plaintiff denied that the trash truck was displaying a left turn signal. A car which was traveling between the plaintiff’s motorcycle and the trash truck turned to the right and the plaintiff attempted to pass the truck on the left side. As the plaintiff was attempting to pass, the trash truck made a left turn and a collision ensued.

The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the defendant truck driver could have avoided the collision and should have observed the plaintiff’s motorcycle in his rear view mirror.

The plaintiff’s neurologist testified that the plaintiff sustained a spinal cord injury in the accident which paralyzed his legs for a period of time, but then resolved. The plaintiff p 7 3 was admitted to a rehabilitation hospital for three to four months. He complained of continuing tingling and numbness in his arms and legs stemming from the accident. The plaintiff’s neurologist opined that the plaintiff suffered permanent residual nerve injuries as a result of the collision. The plaintiff was retired at the time of the accident.

The defendant’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the plaintiff could have avoided the accident by moving into the right lane. The defense also offered evidence that the defendant’s truck sustained damage to the back dual wheels as a result of the collision. The defendant argued that the location of the damage established that the trash truck was almost through its left turn when the plaintiff’s motorcycle struck it in the rear. The driver of the vehicle which was traveling between the plaintiff’s motorcycle and the defendant’s trash truck testified that she observed the left turn signal on the trash truck prior to the accident.

The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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