Semi-Truck Accident on SR60 Near Indian Lake Estates And Westgate Ranch

Truck Accidents

A crash with injuries was reported on State Road 60 in between Indian Lake Estates and the Westgate Ranch.  The photographs show a severe collision with an SUV and a semi-truck.  The news media has not released the identities of those injured or how the police believe that the accident occurred.

SR60 Is Dangerous Between Lake Wales And Yeehaw Junction

I have driven the stretch of Highway 60 between Lake Wales and Yeehaw Junction many times.  After the intersection with CR630 east of Indian Lake Estates, the road goes down to 2 lanes (one in each direction) with no protective median to separate traffic.  The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) should strongly consider buying land on both sides of the road to make the road 2 lanes in each direction with a median in between.

For most drivers in Polk County, SR60 through Lake Wales is the shortest route to the Florida Turnpike at Yeehaw Junction.  What makes this part of the highway so dangerous is the fact that the speed limit is 55-60 mph where most drivers want to be able to go 65-70 mph.  When there is a slow moving vehicle (or a driver who simply wants to obey the posted speed limit), you have to wait until a center passing lane becomes available.  Those center passing lanes are essentially a drag race where drivers have only a limited amount of time and space to make their pass or, otherwise, they will be stuck behind a slow vehicle for another 10-15 miles.  This makes for a very dangerous situation.

How Does Insurance Apply To This Case?

The first step in determining how insurance applies to this case is determining fault for the accident.  If the semi-truck involved could have avoided the collision, then there is usually a $1 million liability policy carried by just about every truck with a federal motor carrier license.

However, if the SUV is to blame, then the injured passengers (if not resident relatives of the driver) can make a claim against the automobile liability policy on the SUV.  Florida does not have an automobile guest statute that prevents a passenger from filing a lawsuit against the driver.  The is true for the owner of the vehicle involved under what is called the “dangerous instrumentality” doctrine in Florida.

Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine is unique in comparison to many other states.  The practical effect of Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine to make the owner of a vehicle have the primary legal responsibility, however, damages against the owner are capped by section 324.021, Fla. Stat. when the owner has permitted a third party to drive their vehicle.  The relevant portion of section 324.021 is below:

The owner who is a natural person and loans a motor vehicle to any permissive user shall be liable for the operation of the vehicle or the acts of the operator in connection therewith only up to $100,000 per person and up to $300,000 per incident for bodily injury and up to $50,000 for property damage. If the permissive user of the motor vehicle is uninsured or has any insurance with limits less than $500,000 combined property damage and bodily injury liability, the owner shall be liable for up to an additional $500,000 in economic damages only arising out of the use of the motor vehicle. The additional specified liability of the owner for economic damages shall be reduced by amounts actually recovered from the permissive user and from any insurance or self-insurance covering the permissive user.

Damages against a driver are not capped by Florida law.

In addition, no-fault coverage should cover the first $10,000 per person in medical benefits.  These benefits may have been used up completely by the first day of the hospitalization for any serious injury.  Health insurance or emergency medicaid coverage may be available to cover an extended hospital stay, however, these benefits usually must be repaid from a personal injury settlement.

Contact A Lakeland Truck Accident Attorney For Help With Your Case

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Polk County, Florida, then you should contact a Lakeland truck accident attorney for a free review of the case to see whether you have a collectible claim.  Set up for your free case consultation today.

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