Florida Personal Injury Law – Proving the Tough Vehicle Crash Liability Case

disney1.jpgOur law firm and Domnick & Shevin PL, represent a Disney bus driver who was severely injured in a March 2010 crash with a Mears Transportation Group motor coach near the vehicle entrance to Epcot. He was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center after being pried from the driver’s seat of the bus.

The Mears motor coach was stopped in the right lane of Epcot Center Drive, a few hundred feet short of the Epcot vehicle entrance gate. It was stopped, the driver claims, so she could exit the vehicle to inspect for a noise coming from the area of the left front tire. The vehicle was not disabled.

Not perceiving that that the motor coach was stopped, our client plowed his Disney bus into the rear of the motor coach.

Under Florida law, the presumption is that the trailing vehicle in a rear-end accident is at-fault. The presumption is rebutable, meaning that evidence of fault against the lead vehicle can overcome the presumption.

Florida also applies the comparative fault doctrine to personal injury cases. Under this doctrine, blame is apportioned in accordance with fault. For example, a person 25% at fault may recover up to 75% of his or her damages from other responsible parties. This is more equitable than the contributory fault doctrine, formerly followed in Florida, which denied a recovery to anyone with any responsibility for causing the accident, even as little as 1%.

To help make our case on the issue of liability, we are using three types of experts: an engineer accident reconstructionist, a transportation specialist, and a human factors expert.

The accident reconstructionist will provide information to the jurors on matters such as distances and travel speed, helping them better understand the dynamics of the accident.

The transportation specialist will explain the meaning and purpose of various state and federal road safety laws, along with industry standards, including those recognized by Mears. In our case, the Mears driver violated her own company’s policy with regard to the use of warning triangles.

The human factors expert will explain to the jury why our client did not perceive the risk. His testimony will rely on human psychology in conjunction with many of the elements introduced by the other experts.

The natural reaction in some liability cases is to jump to conclusions with regard to the issue of fault. Because of the rear-end aspect, that could easily have happened in our case. Our initial wonder at why the motor coach was stopped in the road rather than off to the side, at the gate entrance, or in a parking lot less than 1/2 mile further on, spurred us into taking on the challenge of proving fault against the Mears’ driver. Our client is glad we did.

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Contact us today toll free at 866-785-GALE or by email for a free consultation.

Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.

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