One person was killed in a car accident early this morning in west Broward County, Florida along Alligator Alley. The accident happened near mile marker 31 on Interstate 75, just a few miles west of US 27. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the car accident occurred when a pickup truck rear ended an SUV as both vehicles were traveling in west bound lanes. (Photo Credit: Sun Sentinel/Joe Cavaretta)
Upon being rear ended, the SUV lost control and careened into a canal that runs parallel to the roadway. While both the driver and the passenger were able to escape the submerged vehicle, one person was unable to swim and died on scene.
This unfortunate car accident presents a textbook example of motor vehicle negligence where one party rear ended another and serious damage was caused as a direct result. As an injury lawyer, my role is to analyze the facts of the case, apply the law, and determine if any parties have a viable claim.
In this case, it is clear that the people in the SUV are the victims. When one vehicle rear ends another, that vehicle is typically at fault. When driving on our roadways, motorists have a duty to follow the vehicle in front of them from a safe distance. A safe distance is one that would allow a driver to stop short in case of an emergency without causing a car accident.
However, it is always possible that the driver in the front vehicle did something reckless to cause the accident, such as swerve between lanes or make some other reckless maneuver.
Ultimately, this case will be decided based on the statements made by the witnesses and the physical evidence found at the scene of the accident. Such physical evidence may include gouging in the roadway, tire tread marks, the position of the vehicles upon final rest, and data from vehicle computer systems.
Based on the information presently made public, it is my belief that the driver of the pickup truck will be held responsible.
The next aspect that I would analyze as an in injury lawyer concerns the damages suffered by the victims. Since one person in the SUV was killed, it is clear that this case presents the worst type of injury possible.
It is important to emphasize it makes no difference that the victim died because he could not swim. He/she would have never found themselves in that canal at 2:00 in the morning, but for the negligent actions of the pickup truck driver. The person from the SUV who lost his/her life did so because the driver of the pickup truck caused the accident, not because he/she was unable to swim.
Aside from this person's death, the driver of the pickup truck will likely also be held accountable for any injuries sustained by the person in the SUV who survived, as well as all the property damage he caused to the SUV itself.
Hopefully, for the sake of the victims, the driver of the pickup has adequate insurance to pay a substantial settlement.
While it is easy for people to criticize lawyers for lawsuits and litigation, the truth of the matter is that car accidents that result in death or serious bodily injury, like this one, create serious financial problems for victims and their families.
I am sure the person who was killed had a family, may even have children, or others to support. When spouses and children lose the person who provides financial support can be utterly devastating... not to mention the worst part of all - their loved one is no longer alive!
Given the extreme loss suffered in this case and the fact that car accident litigation can be very complex, it is very important for the families of the victims to hire an experienced team of injury lawyers. Hiring the right injury lawyer is important because cases like these require expertise when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, settlement negotiation, and trial work, especially in regards to the type of physical evidence used by experts when performing accident reconstruction.
Putting all the legalese aside, I am sorry for the loss sustained by these victims, especially for the person who was killed. My condolences go out to his/her family.