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Fatal Fort Pierce Car Crash

CarCrash

A serious rollover car wreck killed a 15-year-old girl and seriously injured two other teenagers.

The Florida Highway Patrol says that the crash occurred near the intersection of 39th Street and Mariah Circle. One teenage driver apparently ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed, turned onto 39th Street, and smashed into another vehicle. The second car tumbled over and ended up in a nearby ditch.

The aforementioned 15-year-old girl was in the rolled-over vehicle.

Car Crash Injuries

At 14.5 victims per 100,000 residents, Florida has one of the highest per capita car crash death rates in the country. In fact, most Southern states have high death rates, largely because the low population density means that there are more vehicles on the road and victims are further away from medical care. Some of the common injuries in these crashes include:

  • Broken Bones: Even in relatively low-speed collisions, victims often sustain seriously broken bones that require aggressive and painful surgery to correct. Afterwards, they often must undergo long-term physical therapy in order to regain mobility and range of motion.
  • Blood Loss: Because of the serious trauma injuries, most victims lose so much blood that by the time first responders arrive, they are already on the edge of hypovolemic shock.
  • Internal Injuries: As emergency responders and ER physicians expend time and resources dealing with trauma injuries, leaking internal organs sometimes receive second priority, which means that victims continue to lose blood even after their wounds are partially stabilized.

If the victim sustained a serious injury in the car crash, damages include compensation for tangible losses, such as medical bills, and intangible losses, such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.

First Party Liability

If a tortfeasor (negligent driver) runs a stop sign, changes lanes illegally, speeds, or violates any of the other “rule of the road,” the negligence per se shortcut often applies.  Victim/plaintiffs can use this timesaving rule if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated a safety law, and if that violation substantially caused the damages.

In some cases, negligence per se means that liability attaches as a matter of law, while in other cases, negligence per se is an almost irrebuttable presumption of negligence.

If this rule is unavailable, victims can still establish liability through a traditional negligence case. If the tortfeasor violated a legal duty, and that violation caused damages, the tortfeasor is liable. Victim plaintiffs must establish each element of a negligence case by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

Third Party Liability

Persons under 18 cannot own a vehicle or any other property, so when a teenage causes a car crash, negligent entrustment usually applies. This theory is more victim-friendly in Florida than in some other states, because owners who loan their vehicles to unqualified drivers are directly responsible for the damages the unqualified drivers cause.

Liability attaches if the owner loans a vehicle to someone whose “youth” or “inexperience” substantially increases the risk of serious injury. Unlicensed drivers are usually incompetent as a matter of law. In other situations, victim/plaintiffs can use circumstantial evidence to prove incompetency. For example, many drivers can operate their vehicles safely during the day and on dry pavement, but should not operate them at night or in the rain.

Rely On Experienced Attorneys

The negligent driver may not be the only person responsible for the victim’s injuries in a car crash. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.

Resources:

cbs12.com/news/local/1-teen-killed-2-injured-in-st-lucie-county-rollover-crash

iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview

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