Johanna Cronin, Maria Gelyon, and Ashley Campbell were injured in Odessa, Florida when a cement truck driven by Jose Felix Fonseca-Reina crashed into them on the Suncoast Parkway. According to news reports, Fonseca-Reina, the driver of the cement truck, admitted to police that the truck accident was caused because his brakes failed. The cement truck is owned and operated by A-Plus Masonry & Concrete Pumping.
Based on the facts reported in the news, I strongly suspect that Johanna Cronin, Maria Gelyon, and Ashley Campbell may all be entitled to very substantial compensation for their injuries.
First and foremost, when a person operates any motor vehicle on our roadways, he/she has a duty to properly maintain the vehicle. Of all parts to maintain, the brakes are one of the most important parts to maintain!
This duty also applies to corporations.
For this reason, I suspect that A-Plus Masonry & Concrete Pumping will be held legally accountable for the injuries sustained by Johanna Cronin, Maria Gelyon, and Ashley Campbell.
I base this suspicion on the following analysis…
According the version of events admitted to by Fonseca-Reina, the brakes on the cement truck failed and as a result, he was unable to stop when he got to he bottom of the exit ramp. As a result, the cement truck continued forward, it cut through all of the westbound lanes, then through a grassy median, and finally came to a rest after crashing into Johanna Cronin, Maria Gelyon, and Ashley Campbell as they sat in their cars in the eastbound lanes.
While nothing can be determined 100% until all the evidence is in, this case seems like a clear example of negligence if I have ever seen one.
You see, to win in court, three things must be present: Proof of negligence, provable injury, and a collectible defendant.
Brake failure is not the victim’s responsibility. It is the truck owner’s. Florida truck safety laws are very extensive and require trucks to be properly maintained.
As such, this case will ultimately hinge not on the question of negligence, but on the nature of the injuries sustained by Johanna Cronin, Maria Gelyon, and Ashley Campbell.
In other words, now that we know a negligent party can be held accountable, the next question concerns injury. In other words, how much is the case worth?
Obviously, the more pervasive truck accident injuries are, the more compensation they are entitled to. However, compensation for injuries needs to be evaluated by looking at the full picture. To make this determination, the following questions must be asked:
- Will Johanna Cronin, Maria Gelyon, and Ashley Campbell suffer long term disability?
- Will they require on-going medical treatment?
- Will they require physical therapy or rehabilitation?
- What is their economic loss?
- Will they be able to earn the same income as they did before the accident?
- What about their level of pain and suffering?
- Have they suffered emotional damages, such as PTSD?
In order to get the maximum amount of compensation for the injured, it will be necessary to fully investigate their losses. Not just their immediate losses, but also their long term losses.
The good news is that the owner of A-Plus Masonry & Concrete Pumping sounds like a decent person. In news reports, owner Rob Brue was quoted as saying, “I’m very distraught about this situation, I know it’s a mechanical failure, but my heart goes out to these families.”
Clearly this is not a case that involves malice or evil intent. It is a tragic accident that I am sure has left everyone involved very shaken up.
That said, I am sure that A+ Concete has insurance. In fact, it is legally required for all commercial trucks to operate in Florida.
Given the clear negligence in this case and the strong likelihood of insurance and corporate assets, I am confidant that the victims will be made whole for their losses and injuries.
This case is a textbook example of a freak accident that results in people getting hurt. That said, I would nonetheless like to inspect the maintenance history of this cement truck. I wonder if the owners properly maintained the brakes or simply ignored them. In the alternative, did they take the truck for proper maintenance that was performed by a shoddy mechanic? If so, the mechanic may be liable too.
Regardless of the cause, three people lie in the hospital with very serious injuries. It is not their fault that they found themselves in the path of a run away cement truck.
Rob Brue and A-Plus Masonry & Concrete Pumping need to make this right. Hopefully they will do the right thing and do what it takes to properly compensate Johanna Cronin, Maria Gelyon, and Ashley Campbell.
More important than anything, I hope that they have a speedy recovery and find their way back to a normal life as soon as possible so that they can put this accident behind them.