Car accidents happen all too often on Florida roads.
So far this year, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there have been 232,218 total crashes with 96,332 crashes causing injuries and 1,634 causing fatalities.
One of those fatal crashes that happened in Tampa on August 10 resulted in three deaths – two adults and one child – and many questions as to what caused the crash.
Details of the Tampa Crash
According to the Tampa Police Department, a 29-year-old woman from Brandon was driving eastbound on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway when she lost control of her Kia and collided with a Hyundai. The crash then sent the Hyundai through the median of the expressway into the westbound lanes where both a Jeep and an Infiniti SUV struck it before being engulfed in flames.
The crash closed the expressway for 10 hours.
Amber Perera, the driver of the Kia, left the scene of the crash without stopping to give aid. She was later picked up and held at the Hillsborough County jail without bail on three counts of DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury, and leaving the scene of a crash involving death and destruction of evidence.
Although Perera is being held on suspicion of driving under the influence, her family insists the crash wasn’t caused by drugs or alcohol but by a seizure. Her arrest report doesn’t mention a seizure, but Perera did admit to using Lexapro and Ativan. Both prescription medications are commonly used to treat anxiety, and Ativan is also used to control seizures.
Here is where the story gets stranger: when Perera was arrested 2.5 miles away from the crash site, she was slurring her words and, during a field sobriety test, showed signs of being impaired. She took a blood test at the hospital but, somehow, she was able to obtain the blood vials and hide them in her underwear – hence the destruction of evidence charge.
A second blood sample was then taken and investigators are waiting for the results.
Based on the details of this tragic story, who or what can be blamed for causing the accident?
Negligence and Car Accident Liability
If the family of the victims who died or the individuals who were injured in the crash want to hold someone responsible for the car accident, they will need to prove that another party acted negligently and that the negligence caused the deaths or injuries.
After learning about the circumstances of this particular car accident, we might be quick to say that Perera, as the driver of the Kia that initially caused the accident, is liable for the injuries and deaths that occurred due to the crash.
How was Perera negligent, though?
As of right now, it is unknown if Perera was driving recklessly, but if she drove her vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, then she could be liable for the accident.
If her blood test comes back confirming she was under the influence of alcohol, then her negligence in getting behind the wheel can also hold her responsible for the accident.
However, what about the prescription drugs she admitted to taking? If she didn’t have alcohol in her system and only had prescription drugs, then the drugs and their side effects and warnings will have to be examined to determine if she should or should not have been operating a motor vehicle.
What about the road itself? The expressway didn’t have any guardrails on that particular section of the road. A number of witnesses questioned whether having guardrails there would have prevented the Hyundai from crossing over the median, thus saving people’s lives.
A spokesperson for the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority says that guardrails can also cause vehicles to bounce off the rail and “ricochet back into traffic like a pinball, which can also be dangerous.” In the last four years, there has only been one other crash where a car crossed the expressway’s median.
The investigation into this accident is still ongoing, and, as more details emerge, it might be easier to determine the specific cause of the crash and who might be held liable for damages to the victims and their families.
If you were injured in a car accident that occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, reach out to an experienced Florida car accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to listen to the details of your case and determine the best way to proceed to get you the compensation you deserve.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
Nowadays, many more trucks are entering our roadways, sharing the same space we use in our everyday life. Product demand has significantly increased, and so does the congestion of commercial trucking. Unfortunately, with the increased numbers of trucks entering service they bring with them an ever-increasing number of accidents and resulting injuries. A central question [..]
Imagine sleeping soundly in bed and then a loud crashing crane comes through your roof. It was a scene that happened this week in North Miami Beach, where a crane that was being used to repair a seawall slid off a barge and struck the roof of a condominium building. [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" size="large" [..]
Car accidents can happen anywhere. Especially where you least expect it. Parking lots, driveways, parking garages, and drive-thrus are well-known for accident scenes. Even your own living room. On Wednesday, August 21st, an accident involving two cars ended up crashing into a Miami Gardens home. One of the drivers was air lifted to a [..]
Dade and Broward county roads are about to become a bit more confusing and request drivers to be more attentive to the road and the scheduled construction plans on the 826 Palmetto Expressway and I-75 throughout August 2019, while making room for a new Express Lane on the 826 Palmetto Expressway. As auto accident attorneys [..]
July 4th tends to evoke backyard barbecues, poolside cocktails, and fireworks at dusk. We usually think of spending this holiday with family, and staying close to home. On the contrary, AAA pegs the fourth as one of their busiest days. Did you know the average distance traveled on July 4th is 617 miles? What’s more, [..]
When most of us think about Fourth of July safety, we think about fireworks. Although improper use of fireworks can cause serious injuries, there’s a less obvious risk: food poisoning. Most Fourth of July celebrations involve outdoor gatherings, with perishable food that’s often brought in by a number of people, some of whom may not [..]
Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous. Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries. In many cases, these tragic [..]
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
Uber and Lyft have really made getting around town a lot easier. The apps are simple to use, the cars are relatively inexpensive, and getting a ride only takes a few minutes. However, as wonderful as Uber and Lyft are for convenience when you need a quick lift, it is important to remember that [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
We know that our state’s driving woes are partially due to the heavy volume of out-of-state visitors. Often, vacationers opt out of long road trips and drive a rental car instead. Unfortunately, getting into an accident or altercation involving a rental car can be confusing – whether you’re the one driving it or not. [..]