William Haythorn, 54, was killed in West Palm Beach, Florida motorcycle accident last week. The crash happened on Military Trail near Community Drive. According to news reports, Vanessa Verdieu, 23, is responsible for causing the accident that resulted on Mr. Haythorn’s death.
According to news reports, Verdieu failed to yield to William Haythorn’s motorcycle as she exited the Coco Plum Plaza and tried to cross Military Trail. Haythorn is credited with trying to avoid the crash, but his attempts were unsuccessful.
As an injury lawyer, I suspect that this was a preventable crash.
In fact, I believe William Haythorn’s family is entitled to substantial compensation for this terrible accident. Frankly, it will all come down to how extensive or nominal Vanessa Verdieu’s insurance and personal assets are.
As a fellow cyclist, I am sick and tired of these people who drive on our roads without any consideration for people on motorcycles or bicycles. I’m not suggesting that Vanessa Verdieu is necessarily one of those people, but it seems like there are so many people killed in preventable crashes, simply because one driver was either not paying attention or refused to yield to another motorist.
Think about it: How many times have you been driving when some maniac refuses to let you pass, even when you had the clear right of way? How many people keep driving through intersections, even though the light has change from green to red?
From the perspective of an injury lawyer, there are two parts to this motorcycle accident that are most relevant when building a case. The first are the injuries.
In Haythorn’s case, the injury is obvious because he was killed. Accordingly, there is no need to spend money on medical doctors or other such experts like an injury lawyer would in a case where disability or other such losses are at issue. In fact, when insurance companies deal with fatality cases, they are usually quick to settle to policy limits, assuming liability is easily proven.
That leads me to the second part of this case that is important: Liability.
In a legal context, liability concerns who is responsible for causing the accident.
Thus, a successful injury lawyer representing William Haythorn’s family will need to build a case around Vanessa Verdieu’s failure to yield to Haythorn’s on-coming motorcycle.
The best proof of Verdieu’s liability in this case will likely from the traffic fatality investigation conducted by police investigators. Their reports, diagrams, and other documentation will include detailed measurements of the accident scene, photographs, drawings that depict direction of travel, point of impact, and points of rest for the respective vehicles and persons.
The fact that Vanessa Verdieu was not arrested tells me that she was likely not DUI nor was she doing anything that was criminal in nature. Luckily for both parties sake, Verdieu did not flee the scene.
As terrible as this accident is, my experience tells me that it occurred because Ms. Verdieu was either not paying attention, was distracted, or acted with poor judgment.
If her insurance company is not willing to settle, William Haythorn’s injury lawyers will have many tools at their disposal. Aside from the conclusions drawn by police investigators, I would not be surprised to learn Vanessa Verdieu was either talking on her cellular phone, sending a text message, checking email, or surfing the internet while driving.
As cellular phones expand in their abilities, the extent of how the distract us increases too. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to cell phone use and driving.
As an injury lawyer, I can tell you there are countless accidents are caused across our country simply because drivers were distracted by cell phone use.
However, even if Vanessa Verdieu was not distracted by her cell phone, the physical evidence present at the scene of the accident will likely prove she was liable. Evidence such as tires tread marks, gouging in the roadway, the resting position of the respective vehicles, eye witness testimony, and any available video surveillance recordings should provide injury attorneys with all the evidence they need to prove guilt.
While I am not a motorcycle owner or rider, I am an avid cyclist. I own a Trek road-bike and I ride nearly 40-80 miles a weekend, depending on the weather. As someone who rides in designated bike lanes along our roadways, I am very conscious of the vehicles around me.
People drive as though they are the only ones on the road and it angers me greatly. When I drive my car, I always make it a point to drive around and yield to cyclists, pedestrians, police officers doing traffic stops, as well as motorcycles.
Vanessa Verdieu’s young age may have also contributed to the accident. I wonder how long she has been a licensed driver for and how long she has been driving in the area of the accident.
My condolences go out to the Haythorn family. This accident could have been prevented and it is a shame that Mr. Haythorn had to lose his life over something like this. At least he died doing something I am sure he enjoyed… riding his Harley.