Vehicle-Motorcycle Crash Kills Two
A man and a woman are dead after a motorcycle t-boned a Toyota outside the St. Lucie County Lewis Library.
According to police and witnesses, a woman was turning left into the library parking lot. As she did so, she crossed directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Both drivers were killed almost instantly. Police speculate that one or both drivers may have exceeded the posted speed limit, which is 40mph.
Relatives remarked that the deceased woman enjoyed cross-stitching, crossword puzzles, and reading.
Car Crash Injuries
Since it increases both the risk of a collision and the injuries in a collision, speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal crashes in St. Lucie County.
Speed increases stopping distance. That’s the ground a vehicle covers between the moment a driver sees a hazard and the point the driver safely stops the vehicle. If a vehicle is travelling 30mph, stopping distance is about six car lengths. At 60mph, stopping distance triples to eighteen car lengths. Certain factors, such as vehicle weight and environmental conditions, increase stopping distance even further.
Additionally, speed multiples the force in a collision between two objects. This law of physics especially affects the second crash, which occurs inside the vehicle after a collision. The people and objects inside the car keep moving forward at the same speed until they strike solid objects. So, bodies slam into windshields and small items, like cell phones, become high-speed missiles.
Speed affects motorcycle riders even more. They do not have steel cages and multiple restraint layers protecting them. As a result, the fatality rate among motorcycle riders is almost thirty times higher than the vehicle occupant fatality rate.
Legally, these claims usually involve the negligence per se doctrine. This rule creates a presumption of negligence if:
- The tortfeasor (negligent driver) violates a non-penal safety law, like speeding or making an illegal lane change, and
- The violation substantially caused the victim/plaintiff’s injuries.
This presumption makes it easier to establish a lack of ordinary care by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Possible Insurance Company Defenses
The damages in a high-speed collision are often substantial. They generally include money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Because there is so much at stake, insurance company lawyers often look for legal loopholes to reduce or deny the victim’s compensation.
Contributory negligence is one such loophole. This defense often comes up in intersection collision claims. Comparative fault essentially shifts blame from the tortfeasor to the victim. For example, the insurance company might admit that the tortfeasor was speeding, but assert that the victim’s alcohol impairment substantially caused the crash.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the victim is 99 percent responsible for the crash, the victim still receives a proportional share of damages.
Last clear chance and its legal cousin, sudden emergency, are common in intersection collision claims as well. These loopholes excuse liability altogether in some cases. Therefore, a Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney must fight them very aggressively.
Contact an Aggressive Lawyer
High-speed collisions usually cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie car accident attorney, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.