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DeSoto County Car Crash Kills Passenger


Police are investigating an early morning car wreck which killed a 68-year-old woman and seriously injured the driver.

The wreck occurred on State Road 70 near the Southeast Highlands County Road intersection. For unknown reasons, according to police, the driver drifted onto the SR 70 shoulder. The vehicle struck an embankment and went airborne. The impact killed the female passenger and sent the 64-year-old driver to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Investigators have ruled out alcohol impairment, but they are still not sure what caused the crash.

What Causes Loss-of-Control Crashes?

When a 4,000-plus pound vehicle hurdles out of control, there is no telling what it may hit and how hard it may hit these objects. So, loss-of-control collisions often cause very serious injuries. These cases are usually very complex as well, because several things could have caused the collision. All these things normally involve negligence, or a lack of ordinary care.

Excessive speed causes many of these crashes, especially if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is negotiating a curve. Fast-moving vehicles are more sensitive to steering changes than slow-moving ones. So, as they go into curves, many speeding drivers oversteer. Then, they overcorrect in a desperate effort to regain control.

Even if the tortfeasor was travelling below the posted speed limit, the negligence per se doctrine may still establish negligence. In Florida, the posted speed limit is a presumptively reasonable speed. Travelling too fast for the conditions, like a sharp curve, is still speeding.

In Florida, traffic tickets and other non-criminal offenses, like running a stop sign, are a presumption of negligence.

Environmental factors sometimes play a role in loss-of-control crashes. Even new tires do not grip wet or slick roads very well. If the tortfeasor fails to adjust for the conditions, a loss-of-control crash is a real possibility.

These types of crashes often involve negligence per se or traditional negligence. If the police accident report states that speed was a contributing factor, negligence per se is a strong possibility. Otherwise, the victim/plaintiff must establish all five elements of a traditional negligence case. These elements are a legal duty (which in this case is ordinary care), breach of duty, cause in fact, proximate cause (foreseeability), and damages.

In still other situations, the tortfeasor had a medical condition which caused a sudden loss of consciousness. Some common conditions include:

  • Diabetes,
  • Epilepsy, and
  • Heart Disease.

The burden of proof in a negligence case is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, if the tortfeasor had such a condition, it is more likely than not that the tortfeasor lost consciousness while driving.

Passenger Injury Claims in Port St. Lucie

Typically, the victim in a Florida car crash case is the other driver. But many other times, a passenger sustains a serious injury. These claims must often overcome the assumption of the risk defense. This doctrine excuses liability if the victim:

  • Voluntarily assumed
  • A known risk.

So, for this defense to apply, the victim must see evidence of actual risk in the moments before the car crash. For example, an intoxicated driver presents a theoretical risk. But an intoxicated motorist who drives erratically presents a known risk.

Reach Out to Tenacious Lawyers

Loss-of-control collisions often involve complex legal and factual issues. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.



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