As an attorney handling serious car accident cases, there is nothing more heart-wrenching than meeting the families of children or young adults who were the victims of wrongful death accidents. We were shocked this week to learn about the fatal dump truck accident in Florida involving 24-year-old Dwayne Haskins, a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). We do not yet know the details of the dump truck accident in Florida involving Mr. Haskins, so we do not know if the dump truck was in any way at fault.
In situations in which there is a liability on the part of a dump truck driver, the personal injury cases are particularly horrifying, usually involving extremely serious injuries or death. Dump trucks naturally pose a great risk by their sheer size, moving at great speeds along highways and on construction sites. Dump trucks are urgently attempting to bring the material they are hauling (tons of stones, rocks, soil, etc.) from one location to another, often involving several roundtrips in one day. These roundtrips can lead to the dump truck driver losing concentration due to the repetitive aspects of the job. Dump truck drivers in Florida are human. They make mistakes. We don’t yet know if there was a mistake (what we would call negligence) on the part of the dump truck driver that collided with and killed Dwayne Haskins. It may be that it was not a wrongful death dump truck accident in Florida, and instead simply was just a terrible accident that was not the fault of the dump truck driver. Whatever the facts of the events surrounding Dwayne Haskins’ fatal dump truck accident, it is a stark reminder of the frailty of life.
Just 3 years ago, Dwayne Haskins was drafted out of college in the first round of the NFL Draft and received millions of dollars immediately as a signing bonus. Quarterbacks like Haskins that are drafted in the first round have the talent and resume to potentially be an all-time great football player. Though he had a few bumps in the road of his early NFL career, Haskins was still young, and presumably still improving. Dwayne Haskins had experienced enormous success as a college football player at Ohio State University. Without personally knowing him, it would be irresponsible to conjecture about Mr. Haskins’ past, his current state of mind, and his future. But, as a former pro wrestler and college football player myself, I can identify with the feeling of invincibility, the “high,” if you will, of achievement in athletic competition. That “feeling” of accomplishment in athletic competition or on the wrestling stage is amazing because it is rooted in what I would define as a true victory, a win preceded by years of hard work. President Teddy Roosevelt wrote fondly about this topic discussing the “man in the arena” and Tom Brady has adopted this term for this latest documentary. But this feeling is also dangerous if it isn’t put properly into context for a young man or woman. It is hard to re-capture the “feeling” in everyday life, except by the use of recreational or addictive pharmaceutical drugs. The invincible feeling is something many athletes and entertainers naturally chase, often to their detriment. We have no way of knowing the circumstances of Mr. Haskins’ fatal truck accident, so we must include the caveat here as we discuss the perils of former athletes that we do not intend to imply Mr. Haskins’ was struggling with these same obstacles.
Whatever the circumstances, in one way Dwayne Haskins was just like every other person who steps outside their front door. Once you step outside your home, we are all faced with the same risk from automobiles and trucks. Whether we are driving, riding a bicycle, or just out for a walk, there is always a risk of a wrongful death accident in Florida. Take time to kiss your loved one today, and make it a point to be more conscientious whether you’re driving or walking near a roadway. Our vehicles are too large and going too fast to not take the risk seriously. Of course, large trucks like dump trucks and semi-trucks further enhance the risk of a serious personal injury accident or wrongful death. God bless Mr. Haskins and his family. We hope that this tragic loss at least will serve to inspire and protect others in the future whatever the circumstances may have been.
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