Drunk Driving Causes Major Accident at Waters Avenue

Car Accidents

One driver is dead after a major accident was caused by a drunk driver at Waters Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway on December 21, 2016.  The accident happened at approximately 5:15 a.m.  The Waters Avenue intersection is a major intersection controlled by a traffic light and protected left hand turns.  This accident was the result of the driver of the Toyota Yaris running a red light at a significant rate of speed.  The driver of the Toyota Yaris was intoxicated at the time of the crash.  The damage to the vehicles is greater than what you would expect from a more typical 45-50 mph difference in velocity.

Drivers Are Required By Florida Law To Stop At Red Lights

Section 316.075, Fla. Stat. requires drivers to stop for red lights and to come to a complete stop before crossing the crosswalk.  Clearly, one driver in this case had no intention of stopping despite the red light.  This seems to happen all too often.  Before entering an intersection, even when you have the right of way, you should try to look around for vehicles that may not stop.  While you shouldn’t have to do that (and are not required by law to do that), it may save your life.

Speed Was Likely A Factor In Addition To Intoxication

As mentioned above, the crash damage is too severe to happen in an accident occurring at “normal” traffic speeds for such roads.  Speeding 5, 10, or even 15 mph over the 45-50 mph speed limit at Waters Avenue for this accident is not likely to cause the damage shown in the photographs taken by police.  I suspect that speed may be a factor in misjudging the traffic light and may have been the result of driving early in the morning with very little traffic on the roadway.  Because it was early, the Toyota Yaris driver who ran the red light probably thought, in his intoxicated state of mind, that it was okay to drive fast and that no harm would be done if they pushed the limit on running the light.  When you are speeding, the timing of all the lights changes as far as where your cutoff will be should the light turn yellow.  It is even harder to do when you are intoxicated.

The Drunk Driver Likely Does Not Have Enough Insurance

From the photographs, we can see that the property damage is very significant.  From my experience and based on the model of the car, I have to say that the drunk driver’s insurance limits are probably inadequate to cover the property damage and to fairly compensate the injured as well as the family of the deceased.  In cases such as these, it is common to see a “global” settlement conference called by the insurance company for the drunk driver to dump their insurance limits any way that the claimants can agree to split it up.  It is frequently difficult to reach agreements with everyone.  Before reaching an agreement on a claim such as this, speaking to an attorney who has experience in these situations is helpful.  You should be aware that an insurance company has an obligation to reduce the risk of a civil judgment as much as possible to their insured.  They should first try to settle all claims within insurance limits.  If this cannot be done, then they try to settle the most serious claims first.  You do not want to be the one left holding the bag.  This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak with your attorney.  In addition, you may have uninsured or underinsured (UM or UIM) benefits available to you in addition to the underlying liability limits.

Call A Tampa Bay Car Accident Lawyer To Talk About Your Case

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Tampa Bay car accident, please contact a Tampa Bay car accident attorney for a free case review.  Since the driver who died was not the one who caused this accident, this case is a wrongful death under Florida law.  Since the driver who ran the red light caused the accident and was intoxicated, then there is going to be legal liability in civil court for wrongful death under Florida law to the survivors of the driver who died and may be responsible to pay punitive damages because of the DUI.  The family involved in this case will unfortunately need to decide on a personal representative to open a probate in the jurisdiction or county where the decedent resided and should bring a wrongful death claim against the drunk driver of the Toyota Yaris.


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December 21, 2016