Yesterday afternoon the Palm Beach Post reported on yet another fatal Florida car accident apparently caused by distracted driving. According to the story, sixty three year old Ida Henderson was killed on Monday on Florida’s Turnpike near St. Cloud. The Riviera Beach resident was on the turnpike near mile marker 237 when her SUV was bumped by a Pontiac Firebird driven by West Palm Beach resident, Karen Le Forge. Le Forge’s vehicle struck a guardrail after the collision, and the woman suffered only minor injuries. Ms. Henderson was not so fortunate. Her SUV flipped onto its roof following the accident. Ms. Henderson suffered substantial injuries following the crash, and she died at the scene. Two other passengers involved in the incident were also injured. They were taken to a local hospital, and both are expected to survive.
Investigations into the specific cause of the accident by local officers suggest that distracted driving may be at the root of the problem. The driver of the car that drifted into another lane admitted that she was changing the CD player at the time of the accident. While dealing with the music player, she unknowingly drifted into the next lane and bumped the victim’s SUV. Authorities have not yet released any information on potential criminal charges that may or may not be filed in this case.
Beyond the possible criminal sanctions facing Ms. Le Forge following the incident, it is likely that a civil lawsuit may also result. A Riviera Beach car accident lawyer may explain to the victim’s family that civil lawsuits are often filed following these accidents. The civil law is distinct from any criminal law, as it relates to a legal dispute between private parties. When an individual is killed in an accident, as in this case, the family members of the victims—usually a spouse or children—are able to file suit against those whose misconduct led to the tragedy. Lawsuits can be filed that seek redress for the harm caused to the victim herself and a separate claim for the losses suffered by the surviving family members as a result of losing their loved one. The suits seeking recovery for the survivor’s losses are known as wrongful death lawsuits.
In all cases, if a lawsuit is commenced, the parties involved will usually deal with the insurance companies that represent the defendant. To win in any suit that goes to trial, the victims will need to show that the defendant driver did not act in a reasonable manner while driving on the road. That failure to act reasonably must have specifically caused the accident and subsequent physical harm to the victim. Most Florida accident attorneys know that distracted driving cases such as this one present classic legal questions of negligence and causation. Inherent in its name, distracted driving is usually an act of negligence which may make one liable for damage. However, it is insufficient to only show that one was distracted. It must also be shown that the distraction actually caused the car accident. This is often easily established—such as when one drifts while taking their eyes off the road causing them to hit a car that was in another lane.
See Our Related Blog Posts: