Fireball Collision Kills Three People
Investigators believe that excessive speed was the primary factor in a Pasco County wreck which caused a vehicle to burst into flames.
The accident happened in Hudson on Denton Drive. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a driver was operating “at a high rate of speed” and lost control of his vehicle. After it ran off the road, struck a guardrail, and overturned several times, the vehicle burst into flames. The driver and two passengers were declared dead at the scene.
The two passengers were not wearing seat belts.
Speed and Car Crashes
About a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in Florida are related to high speed. Excessive velocity increases the risk of a wreck. Speed also increases the force in a collision.
Velocity multiplies stopping distance, which is reaction time plus braking time. The faster a vehicle is moving, the harder it is to stop. TV commercials imply that moving cars can stop on a dime. But that’s not true.
At 30mph, most vehicles travel about six car lengths from the moment a driver sees a hazard to the moment the driver safely stops the car. At 60mph, stopping distance multiplies to eighteen car lengths. Certain factors, mostly environmental conditions and vehicle weight, might increase stopping distance even more.
Speed also multiplies the force in a collision. There’s an old story which claims a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building picks up so much speed that it’s fatal to a pedestrian on the street. That story is mostly false, but it contains a grain of truth.
Furthermore, most vehicles contain small, loose objects, like backpacks and cell phones. Speed effectively transforms these objects into high-speed missiles which, in many cases, hurtle directly at a victim’s head.
The Seat Belt Defense
In many states, seat belt non-use is completely irrelevant in car wreck claims. These issues often bog down into minutiae. Car seats are a good example. Most infants and young children ride in car seats or booster seats. However, most parents incorrectly install most car seats and booster seats.
The so-called seat belt defense is admissible in Florida. However, this insurance company defense is difficult to prove in court.
Insurance company lawyers must prove that the failure to use a seat belt, as opposed to the tortfeasor’s (at-fault driver’s) negligence, substantially caused the victim’s injuries. Therefore, lawyers must do much more than cite safety statistics and wag their fingers at victims.
A medical expert, who is subject to a Tampa personal injury attorney’s cross-examination, must testify as to the necessary facts.
The insurance company has the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion. It must prove the defense is legally applicable. Then, it must convince jurors that the tortfeasor’s negligence had little or nothing to do with the victim’s injuries. In other words, the victim would have sustained the same injuries if there had been no wreck. In the above case, since three people died and one of them was wearing a seat belt, that would be very hard to prove.
Count on an Experienced Lawyer
Speeding drivers usually cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact Mark H. Wright, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.