St. Lucie County Intersection Wreck Kills Two People
This fatal accident occurred almost exactly a year after a similar wreck in the same location killed three people.
According to Florida Highway Patrol officers, the wreck occurred near the St. Lucie County fairgrounds. A pickup driver failed to stop at a stop sign as he turned left from Okeechobee Road onto West Midway. As a result, and oncoming tractor-trailer hit the pickup. The force of the impact pushed both vehicles onto the median. The pickup driver and passenger were declared dead at the scene.
In February 2018, a wrong-way driver on Okeechobee Road killed three people, including two teenage girls.
Liability in Vehicle Collision Claims
The driver who got the ticket is not always legally responsible for damages, and the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is not always the only legally responsible party.
Fault determinations are usually incomplete. Emergency responders arrive to secure the scene and attend to injured victims. The police accident report is normally an afterthought. Moreover, these reports are based on cursory investigations. Normally, first responders do not collect all evidence or talk to all witnesses.
Additionally, there is a difference between fault for the accident and legal responsibility for damages, particularly in intersection collision cases. The last clear chance doctrine often applies in these situations. If a driver has a reasonable chance to avoid a collision but does not do so, that driver is legally responsible for the crash.
Stop sign wrecks are a good example. If one driver ignores a stop sign and goes through the intersection at full speed, there’s very little the other driver can do about it. But if the motorist slows down but does not completely stop, the other driver could have possibly prevented the crash.
So, even if the police officer says that you were at fault for the crash, always speak to a Port St. Lucie car accident attorney. You may still be entitled to substantial compensation, because that fault determination is not conclusive.
The same thing applies if the other driver had no insurance. The tortfeasor may not be able to pay compensation, but there are alternatives.
If a semi-truck operator, Uber driver, or other commercial operator causes a crash, the employer is typically responsible for damages. The respondeat superior doctrine applies if:
- The tortfeasor was an employee
- Who was acting within the course and scope of employment.
Florida law defines both these elements in broad, victim-friendly ways. For example, Uber drivers are usually employees for negligence purposes, even if they are independent contractors for tax purposes.
Damages in a Car Crash Claim
Car crashes are accidental in the sense that they were unintentional. Everyone causes accidents, and we must all accept the consequences of those accidents. A car crash claim is no different.
These consequences include things like destroyed property, medical bills, and lost wages. An attorney does more than get replacement money for these losses. A lawyer helps you get your car fixed or replaced and also see a doctor, even if you do not have any money. Additionally, an attorney monitors communication between your doctor and your boss, so you do not lose any of your rights.
Car crash victims must deal with more than just economic damages. They must endure noneconomic damages as well, such as:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment in life,
- Emotional distress, and
- Loss of consortium (companionship and contribution to household affairs).
Florida still has a no-fault insurance law which limits damages in some cases. However, if your car was not drivable after the crash, you are probably entitled to noneconomic damages.
Team Up with an Aggressive Lawyer
Many car accident victims have no idea how much compensation they might receive. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.