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Hit-And-Run Suspect In Custody Following Deadly Crash


A 45-year-old man turned himself into authorities in conjunction with a fatal hit-and-run which involved a motorcycle.

The crash occurred on northbound Interstate 95 near Palm City. According to various accounts, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) collided with a motorcycle, killing the 60-year-old rider almost instantly. Authorities initially identified the tortfeasor as a person of interest when he did not report to work earlier this month, and as investigators closed in, the man surrendered. He is being held on multiple counts at the Martin County Jail.

Florida Highway Patrol officers recovered the vehicle allegedly involved in the crash, and are looking at it as well.

Motorcycle Crashes

Riders are thirty-five times more likely to be killed in collisions than four-wheel vehicle occupants. They have no restraint systems or enclosures for protection during the collisions, and are nearly always violently thrown off their bikes. This combination often leads to serious or fatal injuries, including:

  • Blood Loss: By the time first responders arrive, motorcycle crash victims are often very close to organ failure, if they have not reached that point already.
  • Head Injuries: Even if the rider is wearing a helmet, these injuries are still very common, because the violent jolt alone is usually enough to cause permanent wounds.
  • Broken Bones: The serious crushed bones that riders sustain in these cases normally require aggressive and painful surgery along with months of physical rehabilitation.

Many motorcycle-vehicle crashes are visibility related. Indeed, many bikers who have gone down may have heard the tortfeasor make excuses like “I never even saw you.” Many riders use tricks to improve their visibility, but alas, there is little or no evidence that these tricks work.

Hit and Run Crashes

The actual figure varies significantly, but around 50 percent of hit-and-run drivers are caught and prosecuted in criminal court. Either way, victims have legal options to recover damages.

The percentage is probably higher in civil court, for a couple of reasons. First, there is a higher burden of proof in criminal cases, so whereas a prosecutor must usually have a witness who actually saw the tortfeasor hit the victim, a victim/plaintiff probably only needs to identify the vehicle’s owner. Second, many witnesses who may be reluctant to talk to the police will tell a private investigator what they know or saw.

If the tortfeasor is not identified, most victims can file claims against their own insurance companies, especially in Florida and other no-fault states. The compensation available usually includes money for economic damages, such as medical bills, as well as emotional distress and other noneconomic damages. If the case does not settle, it usually goes to arbitration instead of trial, since most insurance agreements contain arbitration clauses.

If the tortfeasor is identified, many juries award additional punitive damages, especially if the tortfeasor was intoxicated, the victim was killed, or there are other aggravating factors which jurors want to punish. To obtain punitive damages, the victim/plaintiff must essentially prove,by clear and convincing evidence, that the tortfeasor was extremely reckless or grossly negligent.

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




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