The Florida Highway Patrol has denied responsibility for a multi-vehicle accident on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Florida, which left 11 dead and at least 18 victims hospitalized. The crash was described by authorities as a chain of crashes and included at least a dozen cars, pickup trucks, a van, a motor home and six semitrailer trucks. Wrongful death claims against the State were being filed by victims and families of victims of the fatal accidents.
The accident occurred approximately 70 miles south of the Georgia/Florida border. Florida Highway Patrol issued its own report disagreeing with the Department of Law Enforcement. According to the FHP, no change in procedures or planning could have prevented the outcome.
Prior to the accident, the road was closed due to poor visibility. An FHP officer recommended the highway remain closed, but he was overruled by a superior officer.
The FDLE cited the Patrol's failure to monitor conditions after the road was reopened as contributing factors.
FHP officials cited numerous acts of negligence on the part of drivers, failure to slow or stop and impairment due to alcohol or drug use. Reports indicated that two drivers were cited for drunken driving, but were not involved in crashes resulting in death or serious injuries.
Despite denials by the FHP, only a court of law can decide the issue of liability for the wrongful deaths, injuries and property damage resulting from the crashes. The report of the FDLE can be used as evidence of negligence in claims against the FHP. The individual acts of drivers can also be used as evidence of negligence by others.
Florida, like Georgia, is a comparative negligence state which allows the judge and/or jury to apportion damages among several different defendants according to their fault in causing the injuries and/or deaths.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Foggy I-75 Crash Unavoidable, Says Florida Highway Patrol," Matt Sedensky, Aug. 10, 2012
- Cases similar to that described here are the kind our firm handles. To learn more visit our Atlanta wrongful death page.