This case involves a man in Florida who suffered fatal injuries due to an allegedly dangerous modification made to a semi-truck. On the date of the incident in question, the pedestrian was waiting to cross a busy, multi-lane road on the sidewalk. The defendant driver was proceeding through the crosswalk when the pedestrian was struck in the face by a handle that was protruding from the side of the truck’s trailer. It was later discovered that the handle was an aftermarket part that had been installed on the trailer by the owner operator of the truck after purchase. It was alleged that the design and / or installation of the part was unsafe.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have experience designing/engineering trucks?
- 2. Can any aftermarket truck parts such as the one mentioned above risk the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles on the road?
Expert Witness Response E-011084
I have experience with truck design from my years at Ford Heavy Truck and my research work at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Many truck vocational bodies have miscellaneous handles and protrusions on them that could be injurious to people who run into them – look at the next electric utility truck you see on the road which could very well have all manner of work tools hanging off the back. Among truck safety concerns I have never heard of this matter even being on the list. Even though I have no knowledge of how the cyclist was injured by the handle, I would immediately question if the handle is responsible for the injury. If I was on the case I would try to consult with a biomechanics expert to evaluate exactly how the injury was produced and what role the handle might have played in it. I have served as an expert in truck litigation for a number of years.
Expert Witness Response E-007975
I have 20+ years experience in product development engineering roles for vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. Safety and regulations are always first and foremost in the design process. I have extensive experience with automotive and commercial vehicles, from cars, to buses to trucks. In each position I had responsibility to comprehend the design and all safety protocols and regulations that might be applicable.