Winter Haven Woman Dies in Accident in Wesley Chapel

News Events

Tiffanie Michelle Hughes died of injuries suffered in a Wesley Chapel accident. Hughes was 33-years-old and had two children in the car with her. The crash happened at approximately 3:30 p.m. Hughes was westbound on State Road 54 (past Loury Drive) when a head-on collision occurred with Koosh Raahul Patel. Patel was heading east on State Road 54 at the time of the collision. The Ledger reports that Mr. Patel’s vehicle cross the center line of the road for unknown reasons. Patel was carrying 52-year-old Raahul Vallabhai Patel as a passenger at the time of the collision. The Ledger indicates that charges are pending.

Hughes was reported to be a first-grade teach at Woodland Elementary in Zephyrhills. Hughes had two sons, ages 11 and 8.

Qualifications To Drive In Florida

As Mr. Patel was only 17 years old and appears to be with a family member with him in the car, I have to question whether Mr. Patel was still learning how to drive or whether he had passed his driving test to become licensed. Regardless of whether Mr. Patel had passed his driving test to become licensed or not, Florida law requires that an adult sign a minor’s driving application and agree to be responsible for any negligence or willful misconduct of the minor when driving a motor vehicle.

In Florida, An Adult Must Agree To Be Jointly Responsible For A Minor Driving A Car

This can be found in section 322.09(2), Florida Statutes, as below:

322.09(2) Any negligence or willful misconduct of a minor under the age of 18 years when driving a motor vehicle upon a highway shall be imputed to the person who has signed the application of such minor for a permit or license, which person shall be jointly and severally liable with such minor for any damages caused by such negligence or willful misconduct.

As this is the case, the adult who signed Mr. Patel’s driving application is going to be legally responsible for this crash even if that adult is someone other than the 52-year-old gentleman riding with Mr. Patel at the time of the accident.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Statutes

Sadly, this is also a wrongful death under Florida Law. Florida’s wrongful death statutes can be found in section 768.16-768.26, Florida Statutes.

Contact A Central Florida Car Accident Lawyer For Help With Your Case

If you or a loved one have a question or concern about a car accident or a wrongful death claim, please contact a Winter Haven car accident lawyer for a free consultation with Russo Law.


July 21, 2016