Steve Rodriguez Killed in Accident with UPS Truck on FM 813 in Waxahachie, TX
Waxahachie, TX -- A two-vehicle collision involving a UPS truck and a motorcycle claimed the life of 47-year-old Steve Rodriguez Thursday, January 5, 2017.
The incident took place in the area of Waxahachie, TX on FM 813 about 2:55 p.m., according to reports.
Officials say the UPS truck was westbound when it attempted to make a left turn. At some point, an eastbound motorcycle--operated by Mr. Rodriguez--and the UPS truck collided. Police say the driver of the motorcycle was killed at the scene of the incident. The deadly collision left a portion of the roadway closed to enable the investigation.
The official investigation is ongoing.
map of the area
Taking the details of the incident at face value, the media seem to have already made up their minds as to who's at fault in this accident. However, the reality of what occurred is likely far more complex. This case, like so many I have seen over the years, is likely not just a matter of a speeding bike and a truck driver just trying to fulfill their responsibilities.
Thankfully, the outcome of these accidents isn't decided at the moment news outlets release their coverage. Americans--through our judicial system--are entitled due process.
Now, is there a chance that UPS will simply admit guilt and do what's right? My experience tells me there is no chance that this will play out so easily. It's more than likely that the trucking company will mount a defense, playing off the common jury bias against the operator of the motorcycle. I have seen this play out in similar cases involving motorcycles where a jury--because of common stereotypes--quickly defaults to the notion that the motorcyclist was behaving irresponsibly.
Most everyone has seen that motorcyclist blazing down the highway in excess of 100 MPH, weaving in and out of traffic, and pushing their bike to its limits. Well, the average jury is no different in this regard. They are most likely to conjure up an image of a bike sailing down the highway at high speed, and with a complete disregard for their surroundings. This is why it is vital to find the best means to fight this stereotype with regards to the jury. Thanks to the comparative fault system, all that is required of the trucking company would be to show enough blame on the part of the motorcyclist to prevent the damaged party from recovering compensation.
Though difficult, the challenge facing the families of accident victims is not insurmountable. That being said, the complexity of these accidents require victim's families act proactively in gathering all the details. In motorcycle accidents especially, this could mean extracting the engine control module beneath the seat of a sports bike; a device that could go a long way in proving the bike was operating at a safe speed at the time of a crash. With other motorcycles, such as Harley's and Cruiser bikes, gathering the details might require the use of an accident reconstructionist.
In the 60's counterculture classic, "Easy Rider," there is a scene in which the two anti-heroes, Wyatt and Billy, happen upon a group of uncompromisingly hopeful bohemians tending to what they regard as fertile ground for their crops. Because of the arid climate and poor, sandy soil, they have been completely unsuccessful in this endeavor. While optimistic Wyatt shows his blind faith in their ability, Billy--the less idealistic, yet more realistic of the pair--voices his doubt that they will ever grow a single crop. Much like the ill-fated garden the communal idealists rely on for their sustenance, we do ourselves a great disservice in planting seeds in sand and hoping for crops.
A legal case is not just a matter of wishing for an outcome and, at the blink of an eye, your wish is granted. A legal case, like a fruitful garden, requires careful planning, finding optimal conditions, and constant tending and nurturing. Just expecting a trucking company to pay compensation because they appear to be "clearly at fault" is a bit like planting in sand. Even the most "clearly at fault" defendant will get their day in court and trucking companies know how to make the most of it. A good truck accident attorney will know all of these pitfalls and have the means and experience to hold a trucking company liable.
--Grossman Law Offices