Plant City Wreck Kills One Teen, Injures Two
An Armwood High School student is dead after a speeding teen driver lost control of his SUV and slammed into a tree.
The wreck occurred on Ralston Road. According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a 16-year-old driver hit a speed bump and then careened off the road and into a tree. The force of the collision killed an 18-year-old passenger almost instantly. The driver and another teen passenger were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The young person behind the wheel only had a learner’s permit.
In a statement, Sheriff Chad Chronister said “We lost a young person who had a whole life ahead of them because of one bad decision that could have been avoided.”
First Party Liability
Small obstacles like speed bumps and road debris are a major problem for speeding drivers. After striking the object, their vehicles often move in an unintended direction. Then, the driver overcorrects in an attempt to regain control. But the opposite happens, and the driver completely loses control of the vehicle.
Furthermore, because speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects, which in the above story was a vehicle and a tree, excessive velocity multiplies the seriousness of the crash. At a low speed, hitting a tree would probably only cause property damage. But at a high speed, such an incident becomes a serious injury collision.
Legally, excessive speed could involve the ordinary negligence doctrine or the negligence per se shortcut.
The posted speed limit is a presumptively reasonable speed under ideal conditions. If a jury determines that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was operating too fast for the conditions, the tortfeasor could be liable for damages.
If the tortfeasor was travelling above the speed limit, the tortfeasor could be liable for damages as a matter of law. Since the speed limit law establishes the standard of care, tortfeasors are presumptively liable for damages if:
- They violate non-penal safety laws, and
- Such violations substantially caused injury.
To firmly establish liability in negligence per se cases, a Tampa personal injury lawyer must introduce additional evidence as well.
Third Party Liability
In most instances, people under eighteen cannot own motor vehicles or other property. So, a 16-year-old driver is always operating someone else’s car. As a result, the negligent entrustment rule almost always comes into play in these situations.
Vehicle owners are financially responsible for car crash damages if they knowingly allow incompetent individuals to drive their cars and those individuals cause crashes. Evidence of incompetency includes:
- No drivers’ license,
- Safety-suspended drivers’ license,
- Driving in violation of license restrictions (g. no night driving), and
- A poor driving record.
Individuals without drivers’ licenses, such as the tortfeasor in the above story, are usually incompetent to legally drive as a matter of law. The other items on this list constitute circumstantial evidence.
Vicarious liability theories like negligent entrustment are very important in wrongful death and other catastrophic injury claims. Frequently, individual tortfeasors do not have enough insurance coverage to provide fair compensation. It is therefore sage advice to explore all possible insurance coverage like the owner if the car, not just the driver.
Reach Out to Experienced Lawyers
Car crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney, contact the Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.