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Fireball Crash in St. Petersburg Seriously Injures Five People


A chain reaction crash on the Howard Frankland Bridge involved multiple vehicles, including a tractor trailer.

The complex wreck began when one driver stopped to help a Cadillac SUV which had run out of gas. A few moments later, an approaching eighteen-wheeler cut off a passenger car in traffic. That vehicle swerved to avoid a collision, yet in doing so, it smashed into the back of one of the parked vehicles. A fireball quickly erupted, which sent five people to area hospitals.

The semi-truck driver did not stop, and authorities are looking for this motorist.

Chain Reaction Wrecks in Florida

Many Hillsborough County vehicle collisions involve multiple tortfeasors (negligent drivers). In many respects, multiple responsibility is a good thing. More tortfeasors mean more insurance companies, and that means additional sources of recovery for victims. This additional recovery source is especially important in catastrophic collisions like the one described above.

Serious burns are some of the most expensive kind of personal injury, from a medical bill and lost wages standpoint. Since burns usually involve skin grafts and specialty burn centers, the medical bills often exceed $1 million in severe cases. If there are any complications, these expenses climb rapidly.

Additionally, most burn victims spend at least two months in the hospital. Since they might also undergo months of extensive physical therapy, it could be a year or more before they return to work full time.

There is a downside to multiple tortfeasors as well. Florida is a pure several liability state. So, each tortfeasor is only responsible for a set proportion of damages. Therefore, if a Tampa personal injury attorney does not identify all responsible parties, full compensation may not be available.

The foreseeability issue often comes into play here. Assume Alejandro sends Juan a text message. That message distracts Juan, and he collides with another vehicle. Alejandro is probably not legally responsible, even though he sent the text that caused the crash. The wreck was probably not foreseeable from his point of view.

Hit-and-Run Crashes in Hillsborough County

When tortfeasors leave the scene of a crash, like the tractor-trailer driver in the above story, it is difficult to hold them responsible in criminal court, unless they turn themselves in and confess. In other situations, prosecutors must place the defendant behind the wheel at or near the time of the crash, and prove this point beyond any reasonable doubt. That’s a tall order.

But in civil court, the burden of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That makes it easier for a Tampa personal injury attorney to establish liability for damages, using evidence like:

  • Video Footage: If a security camera caught part of the tortfeasor’s license plate number, that may be enough to establish liability.
  • Additional Witness Statements: For various reasons, many witnesses do not loiter at the scene and tell their stories to police officers. Experienced attorneys know how to track down these individuals.
  • Body Shops: Similarly, when tortfeasors seek to repair damaged vehicles, they probably will not take them to well-known body shops. Instead, they may turn to shady body shops, and attorneys know how to locate these places.

To expedite this process, many attorneys partner with private investigators or other such professionals.

Contact Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers

Car crash victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.




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