Serious Injury Crash Near Sarasota Affects 3-Year-Old Boy
Charges are possible, and a North Port woman and her 3-year-old child are in a Tampa hospital, following a serious collision.
According to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, a driver was eastbound on State Road 70 near L7 Ranch Road when she briefly drifted across the centerline. An oncoming westbound car containing two people hit the women head-on. Al four people were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.
Authorities are still investigating the wreck.
Fault vs. Liability in Florida
Regardless of who gets a ticket or the other facts at the scene, it is always important to have a Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney evaluate your case.
At the scene of a traffic collision, police officers often give one driver, and only one driver, a citation. This informal policy makes it easier for the insurance company to assign fault. Since Florida has a no-fault insurance law, as outlined below, this determination is even more important.
But there is a difference between a fault determination at the scene and legal liability for damages. Essentially, fault is only a preliminary determination. Much more study of both the facts and the law is necessary to determine legal responsibility.
As for the facts, even the most experienced first responder is not an accident reconstructionist. Additionally, the fault determination may be based on limited evidence.
Legal doctrines also come into play, such as the last clear chance rule. This doctrine states that the driver with the last clear chance to avoid the crash is the one who is legally responsible for damages.
Wrong-way collisions often involve this doctrine. If Driver A sees Driver B approaching on the wrong side of the road, Driver A cannot do nothing and let the crash happen. If Driver A has a chance to avoid the crash, perhaps by braking or changing lanes, Driver A is legally responsible for the crash, even though Driver B was on the wrong side of the road.
So, based on the limited information available, it is impossible to determine which driver was legally responsible for the above crash.
Damages Available in Florida
The Sunshine State is one of the few jurisdictions with a no-fault insurance law. According to some, no-fault laws reduce auto insurance premiums by limiting damages in some cases. There is little evidence in support of this contention, but many people adhere to it anyway.
In Florida, if a driver is in a “fender bender” accident which causes only property damage, the driver can file a PIP claim with the driver’s own insurance company and obtain compensation for economic losses. However, if the victim suffered a serious injury, the victim may be entitled to additional damages. Florida law defines a serious injury as:
- Significant loss of an important bodily function,
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring,
- Death, or
- Permanent injury.
Most tort claims fall under that last bullet. A permanent injury could be something like loss of range of motion due to a shoulder injury.
The additional damages include compensation for noneconomic losses. These losses include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (companionship and contribution to household affairs).
Connect with a Dedicated Lawyer
Negligent Florida drivers often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyer, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.