Left-Turn Crash Kills New Port Richey Woman
A driver turned directly into the path of an oncoming motorist, killing one person and sending two others to area hospitals.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 29-year-old Hana Bandealy was northbound on Nebraska near the 121st Avenue intersection when 47-year-old Aracely Garcia made a left turn directly in front of Bandealy. Malek Gajani, who was a passenger in that car, was declared dead at the scene. Two other vehicle occupants were treated at area hospitals.
No one in Garcia’s vehicle was seriously injured.
Collecting Evidence in Tampa Car Crash Claims
Since the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof, a Tampa personal injury attorney must collect evidence in car crash claims. At a minimum, this evidence usually includes the police accident report and the victim’s own testimony.
But these items are usually not enough. A minimal amount of evidence can often mean a minimal amount of compensation. Additionally, these basic items are often incomplete, inaccurate, or unavailable.
Most attorneys can obtain police accident reports with a phone call or a few mouse clicks. But even the most experienced first responder is not an accident reconstructionist, so the report may be inaccurate. It may also be biased, especially in wrongful death cases like the one described above. If the victim is unavailable to provide a statement, the police report probably contains only one side of the story.
This same issue may apply as to the victim’s testimony. Fortunately, it is not always necessary for victims to take the stand.
A number of alternatives are available, such as a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder. Much like a commercial jet’s black box flight data recorder, an EDR measures and records information like:
- Brake application,
- Steering angle,
- Engine RPM, and
- Vehicle speed.
Electronic information is usually bulletproof in court, and many jurors give this kind of evidence considerable weight. But there are some downsides to the EDR.
Victim testimony and police reports are very accessible, but that’s usually not true for EDR information. A Tampa personal injury lawyer must have the right tools to download the needed information.
Other car crash evidence includes expert testimony from an accident reconstruction engineer, medical bills, and additional witness statements.
Insurance Company Defenses in Left-Turn Crash Claims
Contributory negligence is a very common defense in left-turn crash claims. Quite often, both drivers were partially at fault. In these cases, insurance company lawyers try to shift blame for the accident from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim. If that happens, the jury must divide fault on a percentage basis.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the wreck, the victim is still entitled to a proportionate share of damages.
Additionally, many left-turn crashes involve the last clear chance defense. This legal loophole excuses liability if the victim had a reasonable chance to avoid the collision, perhaps by changing lanes, and did not do so.
Significantly, the victim must have the last clear chance and not just any possible chance. Traffic or environmental conditions may make emergency maneuvers impossible. Additionally, in many situations, the victim simply does not have enough time to react.
Partner with Aggressive Lawyers
Left-turn crashes are among the most serious kinds of vehicle collisions. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in car crash cases.