Late last month, ABC Action News reported that two children and their father had been rescued from a vehicle overturned in a St. Petersburg, Florida canal following a motor vehicle accident.
According to St. Petersburg police, the car in which the children were passengers ended up in the canal as the result of a chain reaction collision involving several other vehicles. The victim’s silver sedan was at front of a line of cars of parents waiting to pick up their children from Sawgrass Elementary School. The driver of a gold Chevy Tahoe accelerated into the rear of the row of cars which then pushed the sedan into the water. Police are still investigating the incident but the driver of the Tahoe has been determined to be at fault and charges are pending.
Under certain circumstances, speeding in Florida constitutes a special form of negligence known as “per se” negligence. Normally, Florida law allows individuals to recover for injuries suffered as the result of the negligence of another when the victim is able to show that the offender failed to exercise “ordinary care” in their course of conduct. To prove a claim for negligence, the plaintiff must prove three elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise ordinary care.
- The defendant breached his or her duty to the plaintiff.
- The defendant’s breach of his or her duty resulted in injury to the plaintiff.
As stated, however, under certain circumstances, a plaintiff may establish his or her claim by showing the defendant’s conduct was negligent per so. Per se negligence is a legal doctrine that states that a person’s violation of a particular statute constitutes an act of negligence. To establish a claim for per se negligence, a plaintiff must prove:
- That the defendant violated the statute.
- That the defendant’s violation caused the kind of injury to the plaintiff that the statute was designed to prevent.
- That the plaintiff was a member of class of individuals covered by the statute.
Florida’s Compiled Laws establishes the maximum speed limit for a school zone in an urban area at 20 mph. Further, fines for speeding in a school zone are doubled, and may be as high as $1000. Because speeding in a school zone is proscribed by statute specifically intended to curb such behavior, an individual injured as a result of such misconduct may be able rely upon the per se negligence doctrine to seek compensation.
Liability if often one of the most contentious issues that can arise with regard to a motor vehicle accident. Proving liability can be much less difficult in cases where the plaintiff is able to rely on a negligence per se theory to who that the offender acted unreasonably. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor accident, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. It is imperative that it your claim be evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to preserve your right to compensation.
The motor vehicle accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by negligent drivers. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact the attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A today.