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Runaway Car Goes Airborne; Kills One And Injures One

A speeding car between Florida’s Turnpike and Highway One killed one person and put another one in the hospital.

The wreck occurred near the intersection of SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard and SW Best Avenue. According to authorities, Roy Gentilquore was speeding eastbound on SW Port St. Lucie in a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt when he rear-ended Deshayna Shakes, who was in a 2015 Toyota Corolla. After impact, the Cobalt veered slightly to the right prior to going airborne. The vehicle rolled over several times before eventually coming to rest close to a nearby parking lot.

Both drivers were rushed to a nearby hospital with various injuries; Mr. Gentilquore was subsequently pronounced dead.

Liability in a Car Crash

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, speed is a contributing factor in about a third of fatal collisions, making it one of the most common causes of car crashes.

Generally speaking, drivers have a legal duty to obey traffic laws, focus on driving while behind the wheel, and avoid things that detract from their ability to safely operate motor vehicles. So, speeding, alcohol intoxication, distracted driving, and fatigued driving are all breaches of the duty of reasonable care.

In a negligence case, the plaintiff must also prove that the breach caused the crash. Cause-in-fact is often defined as “but-for” causation: the crash would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s speeding or running a red light. The plaintiff must also establish proximate cause, or foreseeability.

Finally, there must be concrete damages. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, so victims who are injured in serious crashes are entitled to both economic damages, like lost wages, and noneconomic damages, like emotional distress. Generally speaking, “serious” injuries include broken bones, facial scars, and physical impairment.

The plaintiff must prove each element by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not.

Evidence in a Car Crash

Witness statements are an important component of car crash evidence, but there are often gaps in some cases. For example, many witnesses give statements like “I heard a crash and then I saw…” Every little bit helps, but these statements may have limited value in court, because the witnesses did not actually see the crash. In other cases, there may be no witnesses at all, other than the parties involved.

Physical evidence, like skid marks and property damage, can be significant as well, but this evidence tends to disappear quickly.

In these cases, an attorney can use the information stored in an event data recorder. Depending on the model and type, the EDR captures and records:

  • Speed,
  • Brake application,
  • Steering angle,
  • Certain mechanical readings, and
  • Other driving-related data.

An attorney often sends a spoliation letter to the insurance company, which creates a legal obligation to preserve evidence for trial, including the EDR.

Partner with Experienced Attorneys

Successful negligence cases are based on both the laws and the facts. For a free consultation with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.

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