Passenger Dies When Wrecked Car Slides Into Drainage Area
A 44-year-old Tampa woman is dead after the vehicle she was riding in smacked into another car and careened off the road.
The wreck happened near the intersection of Diana Street and 56th Street in Tampa. A northbound driver turned directly into the path of a southbound motorist as he tried to make a left turn against traffic. The extreme force of the collision propelled the car through a guardrail and into a drainage area on the side of the road.
The victim, who was a passenger in the northbound car, was not wearing a seatbelt.
Legal Issues in Left Turn Wrecks
These collisions are most common in motorcycle crash claims. But they occur in vehicle-on-vehicle crashes as well. Typically, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is waiting to make an unprotected left turn against traffic. The tortfeasor either does not see an oncoming vehicle or misjudges the time available to safely make the turn.
Either way, a collision results. And, since the tortfeasor usually accelerates quickly in unprotected left turns, the injuries are usually quite serious. Some of these injuries include:
- Head Injuries: Frequently, the sudden, violent motion of a vehicle collision is sufficient to cause a head injury. This motion causes the brain to slam repeatedly against the insides of the skull. Doctors can reduce head injury symptoms, but the wounds themselves are permanent.
- Exsanguination. Excessive blood loss, usually because of internal wounds, is often the official cause of death in car crash cases. The aforementioned motion causes these organs to grind and bump against each other. So, they often bleed profusely. In fact, many victims are on the edge of hypovolemic shock by the time emergency responders arrive.
- Broken Bones: Accidental fall broken bone injuries are typically not that bad. Car crash broken bone injuries are a lot different. Typically, doctors must use metal pins or screws to set the bones. Then, the victims must go through months of physical therapy to regain lost function.
These injuries are very expensive to treat. So, a Tampa personal injury attorney works hard to obtain compensation for medical bills and other economic losses. Compensation for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, is usually available as well.
Legally, left-turn wrecks are often complex, because of the last clear chance doctrine. In the above story, the northbound driver was probably at fault for the crash, since he failed to yield the right of way. But in court, the northbound driver might be legally responsible for the wreck. The duty of reasonable care includes a responsibility to avoid crashes. So, if a driver fails to avoid a crash, that driver is legally responsible, even if the other driver broke a safety law.
Some relevant facts in last clear chance claims include a failure to change lanes prior to the crash and the amount of time, if any, the driver had to react.
The Seatbelt Defense
Some victims think they are ineligible for compensation if they weren’t wearing a seatbelt. In Florida, these claims are complex, but they certainly are not impossible to win.
In the Sunshine State, seatbelt non-use is only admissible if the insurance company proves the victim was voluntarily not wearing a seatbelt and that failure caused or contributed to the victim’s injuries.
People are voluntarily not wearing seatbelts if the device was working perfectly. Many seatbelts are subject to safety recalls because of various defects. Moreover, the insurance company must call a doctor to the stand who gives the proper medical testimony. These doctors are smart people, but they often do not stand up well to rigorous cross-examination.
Work with Tenacious 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.