Family of Portland cyclist killed by semi-truck settles for $700,000

by Jay Pate

28-year-old Kathryn Leah Rickson was riding her bicycle in downtown Portland, Oregon when she was truck by semi-truck at an intersection. A witness said Rickson had been next to the semi just before the collision and the truck turned into her. Rickson was taken to the hospital where she died.

Rickson’s family has recently settled for $700,000 with the Delaware trucking company Golden State Foods Corp.. The incident occurred at Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Madison Street in Portland on May 16, 2012. Rickson was wearing a helmet as she rode in the bike lane with flashing white and red lights.

The family sought nearly $1.8 million in damages against the trucking company, claiming the driver and his assistant were negligent in the wreck. The lawsuit also alleged that the company didn’t adequately train its drivers and didn’t properly equip its trucks with blind-spot mirrors.

In the year 2011, at least 677 people lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes. It is estimated there were about 48,000 bicyclist injuries that year. According to the National Safety Council, the total cost of bicyclist injury and death is over $4 billion per year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains data regarding the age, gender, and location of bicycle crash victims. In 2011, the average age of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles was 43 years old, 69 percent of bicyclist fatalities occurred in urban areas, and 30 percent of bicyclist fatalities occurred between 4:00 p.m. and 7:59 p.m.

Large semi-trucks are a particular danger for cyclists. A frequent cause of truck/bicycle accidents is an improper right hand turn by the truck. Semi-truck drivers have large blind spots. Professional drivers are taught in truck driver school how to correctly swing on right turns. An accident can happen if the truck doesn’t swing out far enough or if the truck swings too far out.

Truck drivers sometimes find themselves in situations where they must make a sharp right hand turn, particularly in urban areas. In such situations, the truck driver must be careful to make sure it’s clear on his right side before proceeding. It is important for those of us sharing the road with big trucks to remember that if you cannot see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you. However, a professional truck driver has a responsibility to not enter a space he cannot see, i.e., his blind spot. It is estimated that at least one-third of all crashes with large semi-trucks take place in the truck’s blind spots.

Need help with a claim against a trucking company?

While trucking company lawsuits serve many valuable purposes, they aren’t for the faint of heart. There are unique laws and regulations that are designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies.

Trucking lawsuits can also be time-consuming and challenging. Many trucking companies and their insurers are well-funded and are willing to fight tooth and nail to avoid liability for their negligence. To even the playing field, victims need experienced, aggressive attorneys who will protect them in their time of need and force the trucking companies and their insurers to take responsibility for their actions.

HO&P has the resources and experiences to see your case through

Trucking lawsuits can be expensive. To properly prepare a case, an attorney may need to hire expert witnesses in the fields of trucking, trucking regulations, accident reconstruction and life care planning.

Given the complexities of this area of the law, the high costs associated with bringing such cases and the enormous damages often at stake, the last thing a victim of a trucking accident should do is entrust their 18-wheeler case to a lawyer with little or no experience with trucking accident litigation.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, our attorneys have tried dozens of cases involving accidents with 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. Our attorneys have helped achieve a $36 million verdict for the family of a teenager injured in a bus crash in East Texas. They have negotiated a $15 million settlement of a case involving an 18-wheeler accident that killed several members of the same family. And they achieved verdicts or settlements of $7.25 million, $5.2 million, $5 million, and $1.8 million in other 18-wheeler cases, just to name a few.

If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost someone in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering. Contact us today by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 or by following the link to our website contact form to receive a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.