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National Food Service Provider and Commercial Truck Driver Awarded Jury Verdict in Accident Case

On April 30, 2014, a unanimous jury in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania found in favor of a national, privately-held food service provider and its employed commercial truck driver, both represented by Post & Schell, P.C.

The case involved a multi-vehicle accident that took place in 2009 and resulted in injuries and two fatalities. The plaintiff in the case alleged that the defendant driver provided a negligent “courtesy wave” to the driver of an ambulance, in which the plaintiff was a passenger, to proceed with making a left-hand turn. The driver pulled out and was struck by a separate vehicle, resulting in the death of that vehicle’s passenger and the eventual death of its driver. The plaintiff received serious, permanent injuries to her dominant hand as a result of the accident and sought compensatory damages.

The plaintiff argued that the defendants were at fault, and thereby liable for damages, based on a theory of negligent undertaking of a gratuity to render services as the driver of the entering vehicle allegedly relied on the hand signals of the commercial truck driver. Through expert accident reconstruction testimony which included “hot shock” analysis of the lamp filament on the ambulance, it was determined that the turn signal on the ambulance was not activated prior to the accident. This corroborated the commercial truck driver’s testimony that the hand signal he allegedly gave the driver and passenger in the plaintiff’s vehicle was to turn right and not turn left across several lanes of traffic. The defense also contended that that despite being given the courtesy wave – a common practice among drivers – the entering driver still had the duty to verify that there was no approaching traffic in either direction.

The defendants were represented by Post & Schell Principal Michael A. Boomsma.