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Tampa Car Crash Kills Puppy


A chain-reaction car wreck seriously injured two people and killed a two-month-old family dog.

This crash happened on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. According to investigators, an emotionally-distraught driver smacked into a concrete median. Five other vehicles then crashed into the wreckage. Two people were seriously injured in the pile-up wreck. One vehicle also contained a two-month-old puppy; that puppy did not survive.

Investigators also said that the driver who caused the crash is being evaluated for mental health issues at a local facility.

The Last Clear Chance Defense in Tampa

In rear-end crashes like the one in the above story, Florida insurance companies almost always raise the last clear chance defense. Assume Driver A rear-ends Driver B. It seems that Driver A is clearly responsible for the crash. Indeed, the police officer at the scene may have even given Driver A a reckless driving or other citation.

But not so fast. There is a difference between fault for the accident and liability for damages. Fault is a factual issue; liability is a legal question. That’s one reason car crash victims should never assume they are ineligible for compensation because of what the police report says.

Back to our example. Sometimes, motorists like Driver A have a good chance to avoid crashes like these. Perhaps they could change lanes or slam on their brakes. If that’s the case, liability flips. Driver B is responsible for the crash, and not Driver A.

There is a difference between the last clear chance and any possible chance. It’s not always possible to make evasive maneuvers, especially if the weather is bad, the sky is dark, or the traffic is heavy.

Serious and Catastrophic Pet Injuries in Tampa

Most animal owners have emotional bonds with their animals which far exceed the ties they have to coffee makers or laptop computers. However, as far as Florida law is concerned, these things are all basically the same. The Sunshine State follows the majority rule, which is that pets are property.

Dogs, cats, and other small animals are especially prone to serious injury. Their little bodies simply cannot absorb trauma as well as the human body. So, most Florida courts allow recovery for “reasonable” veterinary and medical expenses. This calculation is usually related to the animal’s fair market value. Sentiment usually does not play a role. However, if the animal’s economic value exceeds its fair market value, Tampa judges generally allow more leeway. For example, if Fido is a show or stage dog, his economic value might be significantly higher than his fair market value.

But there is some good news in all this. Florida is one of the few states that allows claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress. NEID is a back door to fair compensation in pet injury cases. According to the Florida Supreme Court, NEID plaintiffs must establish the following:

  • A physical injury to the plaintiff, and not just to the animal,
  • A relationship between the defendant’s negligence and the victim’s suffering, and
  • A close relationship between the plaintiff and the injured person (or animal).

If the plaintiff sought counselling because of the death of a family pet, the NEID case is even stronger.

Team Up with Experienced Lawyers

The loss of a pet may hurt almost as bad as the loss of a family member. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. After-hours appointments are available.



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The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

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Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorney's advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneys need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa car accident attorneys, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

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