Fireball Collision on Interstate 275
A driver was seriously injured when he smacked head-on into a semi truck hauling apple cider through Central Florida.
The wreck occurred in the overnight hours near the Bearss Avenue exit in Tampa. According to police, a 25-year-old Lutz man was driving northbound in a southbound lane. As he approached a southbound semi-truck, both vehicles swerved to avoid a crash. Yet they still collided almost head-on. The force of the collision propelled the truck onto the concrete median, where it exploded into a fireball. The Lutz man’s vehicle careened onto the shoulder. After emergency responders used the Jaws of Life to extricate the man, they rushed him to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.
The tractor-trailer driver was not seriously hurt.
Legal Responsibility Issues
Wrong-way crashes often seem straightforward. But in fact, they are among the most legally complex car accident claims that Tampa personal injury attorneys handle.
Not all wrong-way crashes are created equally. There’s a difference between a driver who suddenly veers over the centerline for no apparent reason and a driver who is going the wrong way (for all you Planes, Trains, and Automobiles aficionados).
Centerline veer crashes are almost impossible to predict. Erratic driving sometimes offers a clue. But by definition, if a driver operates erratically, other motorists do not know what could happen next.
If a motorist is driving normally but on the wrong side of the road, that’s different. These crashes are relatively easy to anticipate and avoid, at least in most cases.
Frequently, small hills and sharp curves limit visibility. Other times, darkness or other environmental conditions make sudden evasive movements difficult or impossible. And, large truck drivers have a hard time avoiding such crashes, even under ideal conditions. An 80,000-pound tractor trailer does not stop on a dime.
The bottom line is that there is a difference between fault at the scene and liability for damages. The wrong-way driver is usually at fault for these crashes, typically because first responders often issue citations for failure to yield the right of way. But depending on the circumstances, the determination could be different in court.
Third Party Liability in Large Truck Accidents
Fireball collisions frequently cause serious burns and other catastrophic injuries. Third-degree burns usually require extensive and costly treatment at regional burn centers. Additionally, these wounds often get infected, especially if first responders were delayed. That’s often the case, since victims are often trapped inside burning vehicles.
Many times, individual drivers do not have enough insurance coverage to provide fair compensation for all these injuries. Fortunately, the respondeat superior rule typically applies in these situations. Shipping and transportation companies are financially responsible for a truck driver’s negligence if:
- Employee: Most truck drivers are legally independent contractors or owner-operators. But the transportation or shipping company dictates things like route travelled or load hauled. That control makes these drivers employees for negligence purposes.
- Scope of Employment: Once upon a time, Florida law limited the scope of employment to situations like a regular delivery driver making regular deliveries. Today, this element is much broader. Any act which benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment.
Other employer liability theories, which are prominent in assault and other intentional tort claims, include negligent hiring and negligent supervision.
Rely on Experienced Lawyers
Wrong-way crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer, contact The Matassini Law Firm. Home and hospital visits are available.