As proud members of the Panama City community, we know that Northwest Florida has much to offer. We welcome those who choose to vacation in our region, and we hope tourists visiting our area have an enjoyable visit. However, we know that vacationers are not immune from accidents, so vacation injuries are an unfortunate reality. If you are injured during a visit as a result of someone else's negligence, or if you have lost a loved one due to an accident in the Panhandle region, our Panama City tourist's accident lawyer can help.
Spring Break turned tragic for two groups of friends visiting Northwest Florida in an accident detailed by the News Herald and WJGH. 21-year-old Brittney Gallagher was headed back home with 3 of her fellow students from Ohio State. Gallagher was driving a 4-door 2000 Dodge vehicle, headed westbound on State Road 20 near Howell Bluff Drive close to the border between Ebro and Walton County. Her vehicle began to drift into the eastbound lanes and she "veered aggressively," returning to the westbound lane before a second correction led the vehicle to rotate back into the opposing lanes. The Ohio students' car crossed into the path of a 2006 Dodge pickup driven by Kelly Porter, age 26 of Oklahoma.
The crash occurred at approximately 11:15 on Saturday morning. Reports indicate that alcohol was not a factor in the accident. Officials pronounced both Gallagher and Courtney Miller (21, of Niko, Ohio), her front-seat passenger, dead at the accident scene. Rear-seat passengers, Diana Mitchell (22, of Solon, Oklahoma) and Lauren Kane (22, of Willoughby, Ohio), were transported to Bay Medical Center in critical condition. Porter, the driver of the pick-up truck, and three of his passengers, Tyler Magar (22, of Yukon, OK), Courtney Butnett (23, of Edmond, OK), and Matthew Gallant (22, of Oklahoma City, OK), were transported in serious condition to Gulf Coast Medical Center. A fourth passenger, Braden Sollis (21, of Oklahoma City), suffered minor injuries. The truck occupants are students at Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, and Southeast Missouri State.
Most visitors to our region return home with memories and nothing more harmful than a bit of a sunburn. A minority of tourists are not so lucky – vacationers are not immune to tragedies, and some visitors find themselves the victim of a serious car accident or other injury-causing event. When Panama City tourists are injured or killed during their stay in Florida, it is crucial that they (or their surviving loved ones) reach out to an experienced Panama City personal injury attorney.
Why do you need a Florida lawyer? First, attorneys can only practice in jurisdictions where they've been admitted to the bar, meaning only a Florida lawyer can bring a personal injury of wrongful death suit in the state. Second, Florida law has many unique contours, and you need an attorney who understands the laws governing auto collisions and other accidents in the Sunshine State.
If you have suffered an injury while visiting Panama City, or if your loved one perished while on vacation in the Panhandle region, please call our office. Let Attorney Wes Pittman and The Pittman Firm team serve as your legal counsel and your trusted representative in Northwest Florida.