According to The News-Press, the 30-year-old victim, a mother and foster parent, stopped on the side of the highway to help another motorist who had lost control in a rainstorm and struck a guardrail. She let the stranded motorist sit in her vehicle as she went to retrieve a blanket from her trunk. It was then that another driver swerved and struck her, pinning her against a vehicle and the guardrail, ultimately requiring her to undergo a leg amputation.
The citation of the driver does not necessarily have a direct impact on any future claim for damages, as the criminal and civil litigation will be separate procedures. However, it could potentially be used by plaintiff attorneys as evidence of driver negligence.
Negligence is a standard whereby the court measures whether an individual failed to take proper care when he or she had a duty to use reasonable care and the result was injury or damage to another. Examples of negligence while driving would include:
- Texting/ talking on the phone;
- Being under the influence of drugs and/ or alcohol;
- Falling asleep behind the wheel;
- Disobeying traffic safety laws, including speed limits;
- Driving aggressively (i.e., weaving in and out of traffic, following too closely, failure to maintain lane, etc.).
As far as crashes that occur off-roadway or on the shoulder, many involve situations where drivers either weren’t paying attention or lost control of their vehicle temporarily. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015, there:
- 10,800 fatal crashes off-roadway;
- 477 fatal crashes on the shoulder;
- 1,236 crashes on the median.
That is of the total 32,166 fatal crashes counted that year.
Of those off-road crashes that resulted in injury, there were 318,000.
Highways are already perilous places owing to the fact that traffic is moving so rapidly. The speed limit along I-75 is 70 mph, though it’s not uncommon for motorists to drive much faster than that. On top of that, our highway infrastructure is aging and there is often regular construction to repair roads, which in and of itself can result in detours, uneven lanes and road debris.
If you ever do find yourself in a crash or broken down on the highway, here are some things you need to bear in mind:
- Move to safety. It is often a bad idea too get out of the vehicle to make a repair or check out damage on a busy highway. If it’s possible to move the vehicle to a safe, out-of-the-way spot.
- Call for help. It’s generally best to stay in your vehicle and call for help there. Don’t stand outside your vehicle in the flow of traffic.
- Be ready. Carry in your vehicle flares, flags or reflective triangles so you can mark your location, even in daylight hours. Turn your hazards on so other people can see you as they approach before it’s to late.
If you are injured in a highway car accident in Fort Myers, contact our attorneys to learn more about how we can help.
Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.
Driver in I-75 crash that lead to amputation is cited, May 1, 2017, By Michael Braun, The News-Press
More Blog Entries:
Florida DUI Ignition Interlock Bill Gets State House Committee Approval, April 26, 2017, Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyer Blog