The New York Personal Injury Blog

Dump Truck Hit and Run: Who is Liable?

Roxanna Sorina-Buta, 21, of Jackson Heights, Queens, was walking east on 14th St. Witnesses say that she had the light when she crossed Broadway, reports the New York Daily News.

The unidentified driver of a dump truck was headed west on 14th before he turned right on Broadway. Tragically, the driver didn't seem to notice Sorina-Buta, who was crushed under the vehicle's rear wheels. She did not survive.

The driver fled south on Broadway and somehow evaded police in a massive dump truck. The driver has still not been identified, though police are reviewing the surveillance tapes of local businesses in hopes of identifying the truck.

Should they succeed in identifying the truck or driver, there is a strong possibility of a lawsuit.

At that intersection, there is not only a sign warning vehicles turning right to yield to pedestrians, but turning right on red in New York City is also prohibited, absent a sign permitting it. Per Google Street view, no such signs are posted.

Also, comparative negligence would probably not come into play here. Sorina-Buta was crossing legally and would have been nearly all the way across the street before the accident.

As for the truck driver, there would definitely be negligence per se, or by law, if he did run a red light. Proof of a violation of the law, plus proof that the violation did cause the accident should be sufficient to find the truck driver liable.

In addition, if he was an employee of a company, instead of the owner of the truck, the company could also be liable through vicarious liability or respondeat superior.

Under these theories, employers are liable for their employee's actions if the employee was operating in the scope of employment at the time of the accident.

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