Fatal Wreck Involving Children in Okeechobee
A speeding pickup truck clipped a passenger car, causing the vehicle to overturn. One person was killed and three others were seriously injured.
Few details were available about the wreck which occurred near Mile Marker 117 on Highway 70. The driver of the passenger car was killed almost instantly when the car flipped. Three other people, an adult and two children, were rushed to a nearby hospital.
None of the victims was wearing a seat belt.
How Speed Affects Car Crashes
Excessive velocity is a primary or contributing factor in roughly a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in the Treasure Coast. Primarily, that’s because speed increases the risk of a collision as well as the force in a collision.
Speed multiplies stopping distance. At 30mph, most vehicles travel about six car lengths between the moment a driver sees a hazard and the moment the driver safely stops the vehicle. At 60mph, stopping distance triples to eighteen car lengths.
Certain factors, such as vehicle weight and weather conditions, lengthen stopping distance considerably.
Speed also affects the force in a collision. According to Newton’s Second Law, speed has a multiplying effect in these situations. Fender-bender wrecks become serious injury or fatal collisions.
Both these elements were probably in play in the above story. The speeding truck driver could not adjust his path to avoid the passenger car. And, if the wreck had occurred at a lower speed, the victim’s vehicle probably would not have overturned.
Car wrecks like these usually cause serious injuries. The medical bills alone in these cases could eclipse $100,000. Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys connect victims with doctors in these situations. Typically, these physicians charge nothing upfront for their services.
The Seat Belt Defense in Florida
Every state except New Hampshire has a mandatory seat belt law. In most states, seat belt non-use is inadmissible in civil trials. Florida is one of the exceptions. Insurance companies can argue that seat belt non-use caused or contributed to the victim’s injuries. However, this argument does not always hold up in court.
The insurance company has both the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion in seat belt defense matters. So, it’s not enough to cite safety statistics and shame the victim. Instead, insurance company lawyers must call medical experts to the stand. These experts must convince the judge that seat belt non-use was a substantial factor in the victim’s injuries. Then, the insurance company must convince jurors the same thing.
The car’s age is usually relevant. New vehicles are much safer than the ones made just a few years ago. So, if the victim was driving a used car, the other driver’s negligence, as opposed to the lack of a seat belt, probably caused the victim’s injuries.
The negligent driver’s speed is typically relevant as well. Even the most advanced restraint systems can only absorb so much force. If the amount of force exceeded the seal belt’s specifications, serious injury was inevitable, seat belt or not.
Damages in a Florida vehicle collision case usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Contact an Aggressive Lawyer
Car accident victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. You have a limited amount of time to act.