Studies Suggest Multiple Causes Contributed to January Pile-Up

Our Panama City car accident lawyer and the entire Pittman Firm team represents residents and visitors to our region who have been injured in a car accident. Our law firm works to apply the law to the unique circumstances of each case. Another essential part of our job is to sift through the facts in order to discern exactly what factors combined to cause an accident. This process allows us to figure out who should be included in a legal claim and prepare potential defenses in anticipation of what other parties might assert in court.

WJHG is reporting on the continued investigation into a series of crashes that shook Northern Florida early this year. On January 29, the Florida Highway Patrol ("FHP") observed that a mix of fog and smoke from a wildfire was dangerously obscuring I-75 near Gainesville. The officials opted to close the road for a time, reopening it around 3:30 A.M. after troopers reported improved visibility. Within just the next 30 minutes of the road opening, a number of collisions occurred. By the time the accidents slowed, 11 people had lost their lives on the roadway.

Both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement ("FDLE") and FHP have been working to understand the tragic crashes that marked that January morning. The FDLE investigation culminated in a report blaming the collisions on poor communication and poor training. However, an FHP reply suggests that the FDLE report failed to consider the way in which driver behavior contributed to the accidents. FHP spokespeople said they could not comment about certain specifics of the report, but did note that at least two drivers involved in the pile-ups have been charged with DUI.

Notably the charge is not reported to include manslaughter, which would normally apply if the intoxication led to a traffic fatality. The FHP officer also noted one driver had used marijuana, but no charge resulted because that person died in the crash. The response also cited a driver who was operating under a revoked license.

The FHP did note that they are updating some policies as a result of suggestions made pursuant to the FDLE investigation. Still, the authors of the FHP report contend that none of the changes could have prevented the I-75 pile-up. The FHP response is limited, in part, due to pending litigation. According to WJHG, up to a dozen accident victims are planning to file suit against FHP for their role in the pile-ups.

Hiring an accident lawyer is essential to recovering the maximum amount after a collision causes injury or death. Experienced counsel can make sure all potential defendants are included in a civil claim and can work with accident reconstruction experts to build the necessary evidence. As a reminder, victims in Florida can often recover damages, even in their own actions played a part in the crash. Please call our Panama City personal injury law firm for a free consultation. Most accident cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, so you only pay legal fees if we help you recover compensation.

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