Teenager Killed In Spring Hill Crash
A 16-year-old boy is dead after an apparent loss-of-control vehicle wreck outside Tampa.
The boy was going to his church to play basketball when a 17-year-old boy crashed his car on Highway 19. The latter was seriously injured in the crash, but he is expected to survive. Friends and teachers alike remembered the 16-year-old boy as a happy and easygoing individual. He worked at a local fast food restaurant. His future plans included graduating from school, getting a job, and getting a nice car.
Family members set up a crowdfunding page to cover the boy’s funeral expenses, and donations quickly exceeded the goal.
Speed in Tampa Car Crashes
Because it affects both the risk of a collision and the force in that collision, excessive velocity is a factor in about a third of the fatal accidents in Florida. Speed also often raises the specter of third party liability, as outlined below.
Speed exponentially increases stopping distance. At 30mph, a car travels about six car lengths between the time the driver sees a hazard and safely stops the car. At 60mph, that same vehicle travels about eighteen car lengths in that same time period. Other factors, such as vehicle weight and road conditions, lengthen stopping distance.
Oftentimes, excessive velocity also leads to loss of control collisions. If a driver speeds around a corner, the driver sometimes oversteers. Then, the driver overcorrects, causing loss of control. These types of crashes are especially common among inexperienced drivers.
Moreover, speed increases the force in a collision, per Newton’s Second Law. In practical terms, a cell phone becomes a high-speed missile. As a result, a non-injury collision at a low speed often becomes a fatal accident at a high speed.
Vehicle Owner Liability in Florida
Whenever the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is a teenager, the negligent entrustment doctrine usually comes into play. Since minors cannot own property, they must borrow someone else’s car. If the owner knows that the driver is incompetent, and that driver later causes a car crash, the owner may be liable for damages.
Persons with invalid drivers’ licenses, or no licenses at all, are usually incompetent as a matter of law. Other evidence of incompetency is available as well, such as:
- Knowledge of a bad driving record,
- Known inexperience behind the wheel of that particular car,
- Driving in poor conditions, such as darkness, and
- Violation of license restrictions, such as driving without glasses.
In some cases, the negligent entrustment rule does not apply, or is difficult to apply, if the tortfeasor was driving a family car in Florida.
The Importance of Discovery in a Tampa Car Crash Case
Many times, the evidence from the scene is insufficient to support a claim. That’s especially true for claims like negligent entrustment. To flesh out the knowledge requirement, an attorney must conduct discovery. Typically, this part of the process includes both:
- Oral discovery, like depositions, and
- Written discovery, like document requests.
Once discovery is substantially complete, a Tampa attorney usually has a good idea if the ere is enough evidence to support a certain claim. Discovery is a time-consuming process. But the investment is normally worthwhile. Since the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof, only a very strong claim will lead to fair compensation.
Connect With Aggressive Lawyers
Speed kills. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. After-hours visits are available.