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Construction Vehicle Kills Worker In Construction Zone

ConstrSigns

A northbound cement truck struck a construction worker in Indian River County, causing fatal injuries.

According to witnesses and the Florida Highway Patrol, the wreck occurred on Interstate 95 near the Fellsmere exit. A 46-year-old worker was apparently crossing the exit ramp to move a construction sign when the truck hit him. First responders rushed the stricken worker to a nearby hospital with critical injuries; he was subsequently declared dead. Investigators spent several hours at the scene trying to determine a cause.

This incident is the second fatal I-95 construction zone accident in as many months. In December 2016, two people died after a driver apparently lost control of a speeding car just west of Vero Beach on I-95.

First Party Liability in Car Wrecks

Excessive speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal automobile collisions in Florida, and although the issue appears to be cut and dry, speed-related collisions often involve complicated legal factors.

Victim/plaintiffs have the burden of proof to establish negligence in civil court, and a traditional five-part negligence case is one way to make this showing.

  • Duty: Noncommercial drivers have a duty of reasonable care to avoid accidents; commercial operators are common carriers who have an even higher duty of care to safely get their cargo from one place to another without unnecessary delays, and causing a fatal collision certainly qualifies as such.
  • Breach: Speed increases stopping distance and multiplies the force in collisions, so excessive velocity means an unnecessarily higher risk of accidents and additional injuries.
  • Cause in Fact: There must be a direct link between the breach and the damages (g. because the truck was speeding, the driver couldn’t stop).
  • Proximate Cause: The damages must be a foreseeable result of the breach. For example, it is foreseeable that a speeding car might collide with another car and push the victim into oncoming traffic, thereby causing injury.
  • Damages: Although most victims are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and other intangible losses, they must also establish that they suffered a tangible injury, like property loss or personal injury.

Furthermore, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was operating above the posted speed limit, the negligence per se (negligence “as such”) shortcut may apply. According to this rule, if the tortfeasor violated a safety statute and that violation caused the damages, the tortfeasor is presumptively negligent.

Vicarious Liability

The tortfeasor may not be the only person responsible for damages, because various third-party liability theories, such as the respondeat superior (“let the master answer”) doctrine, often apply. Employers are legally responsible for the negligent acts of their employees if:

  • The tortfeasor was an employee who was
  • Working within the course and scope of employment at the moment of the car accident.

For negligence purposes, almost all workers are “employees,” even if they were unpaid volunteers or other non-traditional employees. Moreover, these employers are inside the course and scope of employment if they performed any service that benefitted the employer in any way.

Count On Experienced Attorneys

For prompt assistance with a car crash claim, contact an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyer from Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.

Resources:

tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-county/2017/01/19/thursday-morning-crash-kills-person–95-indian-river-county/96764908/

smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/excessive-speed-is-a-factor-in-one-third-of-all-fatal-crashes.html

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