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Lawsuits Follow Florida I-75 Tragedy

Thumbnail image for iStock_000001983354XSmall.jpgEarlier this year, we shared with readers preliminary news about a major accident on I-75 in Florida in which Cobb County residents lost their lives. Five members of a Cobb County church passed away in this tragedy. Now we are learning that several families are bringing lawsuits against Florida as a result of this crash. As I have noted in previous posts, in my work as a Georgia truck accident lawyer I follow incidents like this one, to learn what investigators determine are the causes of tragedies like this one.

Our own community was touched by this accident when the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that among the eleven people who lost their lives in the crash and 18 injured, were a local pastor, his wife and family members and friends.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has received over 10 lawsuit notices related to the accident. Among the notices is one on behalf of injured and surviving family members of the Kennesaw, Georgia church group.

The AJC reports that as a result of the investigation, Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement determined that the Florida Highway Patrol opened the highway after a fire that, along with fog, had caused terrible visibility problems. However, the oversight agency for the FHP plans to review the findings of the report and respond to its findings.

Several agencies were involved in the decision to reopen the highway after the wildfire had subsided, but the smoke and fog proved to be a major factor in the cause of the accident. There reportedly were competing concerns about the danger of keeping the road closed.

More facts will likely be discovered in any litigation involving this crash. As readers might recall this Florida interstate accident involved not only many passenger vehicles, but large trucks as well. When visibility becomes hazardous, there are rules that truckers are supposed to follow to avoid accident and injury.

Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations section 392.14 provides that under hazardous conditions, extreme caution must be taken by commercial motor vehicles. Specifically, this regulation requires that “extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated.” The litigation may involve whether drivers did what they should have done under the circumstances.

Motor vehicle accidents can be life changing. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident involving a motorcycle, car, tractor-trailor, or other motor vehicle it is important to consult an experienced personal injury and accident lawyer. Please contact my law offices for a free consultation on any matter involving motor vehicle accidents or personal injury.