Motor vehicle operators have the responsibility to drive carefully under the circumstances. This is referred to as a duty of reasonable care or due care in personal injury law. Motorists are held to the standard of what a reasonable individual would do in the same circumstances. While most drivers follow this duty, there are always a smaller group that that don’t and get distracted behind the wheel, drive recklessly or drive too fast for the conditions, causing them to crash into disabled or parked vehicles.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Florida Highway Patrol said a 17-year-old male driver lost his life, and his 16-year-old male passenger was critically injured after the car they occupied was involved in a two vehicle collision in Delray Beach on Jan. 11. The two teens from Margate were in a 2002 Nissan Sentra that stopped or was disabled on southbound I-95 north of Atlantic Avenue when it was struck from behind by a 2011 Dodge pickup truck around 6:40 a.m.
Both teens suffered critical injuries and were taken to the hospital, where the driver was pronounced dead. The passenger remained at the hospital. The 35-year-old driver of the pickup truck was not injured in the car crash, and has not been cited. Investigators say the driver of the pickup truck was unable to avoid colliding with the car occupied by the teens. The teens’ vehicle reportedly had front-end damage, which might have caused the car to become disabled.
Individuals who operate a motor vehicle have the responsibility to avoid colliding with other vehicles. When a vehicle approaches a disabled or parked car, the only party capable of avoiding the collision is the driver of the moving vehicle. If the driver of the rear-ending vehicle is found to have acted with blatant disregard to others’ safety, then the driver may be prosecuted by law enforcement.
However, the criminal justice system does not address matters regarding financial restitution. In order for crash victims or their families to recover damages, they must pursue a negligence claim against the potentially liable party.
Negligent drivers can be held legally accountable for the wreck they caused and any resulting injuries. If there was some form of negligence on the part of the victims, liability will be apportioned to each party based on their degree of negligence.