The Plaintiff, a volunteer official at an amateur racing event, was struck and runover by a tow truck while standing on pit road during the race. . Unfortunately, Plaintiff suffered severe injuries including a leg amputation and alleged brain injury.
CSK was called on to defend race track and maintained from day 1 that, while the circumstances are tragic, our client had no liability. The case was bifurcated on Defendants’ motion and was tried on liability only.
The only employee of the Defendant involved in the incident was the race control coordinator, a person in the control tower responsible for dispatching and directing emergency services vehicles, including tow trucks.
Plaintiff asserted that Defendant’s race control coordinator was grossly negligent in failing to ensure there were no pedestrians behind the tow truck before instructing it to back up on pit road, in the opposite direction of race traffic, and without obtaining approval from the sanctioning body for the race.
Plaintiff further introduced that the sanctioning body for the race had a specific rule that restricted counter-race travel and that this was the well-established standard in the racing community, which CSK’s client chose not to follow. Plaintiff closed by arguing that Defendant’s employee either utterly failed to check for pedestrians or saw the Plaintiff and directed the truck to back up anyway.
The Defense presented that the race control coordinator examined the area of the tow truck, did not observe anyone behind the truck, asked the driver of the truck (who was contracted by the sanctioning body and not CSK’s client) if he was comfortable backing up, and then told him she would look for cars coming on to pit road.
The driver accelerated backwards within seconds, without checking his surroundings and struck the Plaintiff before the race control coordinator could look back.
The Defense also presented that the Plaintiff had no justifiable reason for being on the hot track at the time of the accident, and that the sanctioning body never communicated its rules to the race track despite years of interactions and races being hosted there.
The jury deliberated for 4 hours before returning a complete defense verdict and did not reach the issues of comparative fault of Plaintiff, the truck driver, or the sanctioning body.
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