Near-Fatal Scooter-Tanker Wreck in Tampa
A large tanker truck sideswiped a tiny e-scooter while the scooter rider was apparently driving in the bike lane.
Emergency responders state that 33-year-old John Edgerton was not wearing a helmet as he rode his scooter in the bike lane. Near the intersection of 20th Street and Gordon Street, the scooter collided with a tanker truck that was apparently trying to pass the scooter. First responders state that Edgerton left the bicycle lane and entered a regular traffic lane. He was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Lime, the scooter rental company, disputed the official version and insisted that Edgerton was still in the bicycle lane at the time of the crash.
First Party Liability in Hillsborough County
Although emergency responders blamed the scooter rider for this crash, that conclusion is far from certain. Since the rider went to the hospital in critical condition, the police accident report only contained one side of the story. So, no matter what the police report says, if you were hurt in a crash, you should contact a Tampa personal injury lawyer and protect your rights.
In disputed liability matters, it’s important to obtain additional evidence on top of the police report. This evidence may include:
- SMS Report: The federal government maintains the Safety Management System database. The SMS report includes vital crash-related information, like a driver’s collision history, prior moving violations, substance abuse issues, and collision history.
- EDR: All tanker trucks have Event Data Recorders. Much like black box flight recorders in commercial jets, EDRs record information like steering angle and vehicle speed. Electronic evidence like the EDR is very useful in court, because it is almost 100 percent reliable.
- Surveillance Video: Like other electronic evidence, video footage is very compelling in court as well. Many times, a camera that was nowhere near the actual crash scene captured the critical moment on tape.
Evidence like this helps build a negligence claim. These claims are easier to establish against commercial drivers. Truck drivers, Uber drivers, and other commercial operators have a higher duty of care in Florida.
The victim/plaintiff must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Even if the victim was not wearing a helmet, the victim may still be entitled to substantial compensation. The lack of a helmet means nothing unless the insurance company proves that the victim sustained serious head injuries and a helmet would have substantially reduced or eliminated these injuries. Reading safety statistics to the jury is not enough.
Third Party Liability in Florida
When large vehicles collide with small vehicles, the victims usually sustain catastrophic injuries. Many times, individual tortfeasors (negligent drivers) do not have enough insurance coverage to pay fair compensation.
Fortunately, Florida has very broad third-party liability rules. Doctrines like respondeat superior give victims an additional source of compensation. Respondeat superior has two basic elements:
- Employee: If the employer controlled the tortfeasor, in terms of things like work hours or driving location, the tortfeasor was an employee for negligence purposes.
- Scope of Employment: Similarly, any act that benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment. Such acts could include driving an empty truck around town, since the employer benefits from the free advertising.
Compensation in vehicle collision claims usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Rely on Experienced Lawyers
Motorcycle and scooter riders often sustain serious injuries in vehicle collisions. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.