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Chain Reaction Car Accident in Orlando Kills Two FSU Students

Two students from Florida State University will killed one recent weekend in a pileup on Florida’s Turnpike. 

As the Tallahassee Democrat reports, the chain reaction crash claimed the lives of a 20-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man and also resulted in more than a dozen injuries. The Florida Highway Patrol reports the two decedents are from Weston and both graduated from Cypress Bay High School.

Any time there is a chain reaction crash, there are often serious injuries, particularly when they happen on the highway, because of the high speeds and number of vehicles involved. Chain reaction crashes can be difficult in terms of financial recovery because it is not always clear who was at-fault. Making this determination typically requires extensive investigation, and it may be that several parties are to blame. This is why it is so essential for individuals in these cases to hire an attorney with experience. 

Investigators say the crash occurred shortly before 6 p.m. Decedents and two others were traveling northbound in slow-moving traffic in their small passenger car. At the same time, a driver in a pickup truck approached from behind and failed to stop. He struck decedents’ vehicle, in which students were passengers. The 19-year-old driver and another 18-year-old passenger were seriously injured. The vehicle was crushed between the pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle that was in front of it, FHP reports.

The students were traveling together to return to campus after a spring break trip.

At the scene, emergency responders treated a total of 17 people and northbound lanes of the traffic shut down for hours. A total of seven vehicles were involved.

Authorities did not immediately file charges and investigations are ongoing.

In this chain reaction car accident, liability may be less complicated than in many others because it does not appear many of the other vehicles were moving at the time the pickup struck from behind. Typically with a rear-end collision, there is a rebuttable presumption that the driver that struck from behind was at-fault. However, that presumption can be rebutted with enough evidence.

So for example here, the driver of the pickup truck may be liable for injuries suffered by the college students. However, though the college student driver struck the SUV from behind, she would likely be able to rebut the presumption of negligence on her part, instead presenting evidence that the pickup truck driver was solely to blame.

Defendants in these cases will often raise the issue of contributory negligence. They know they won’t be able to evade liability entirely. So they assert the plaintiff played some role in their own injuries or that another party was more to blame than they.

An example in a case like this might be that there was some defect in the pickup truck that would not allow the driver to stop the vehicle in time to avoid a collision. (There is no evidence this is the case, and we cite it only as an example.)

If you are involved in a chain reaction crash in Orlando, our experienced injury attorneys can help you explore your legal options.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Two FSU students killed in Turnpike crash, March 22, 2017, By Karl Etters, Tallahassee Democrat

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Florida Motorcycle Injury Lawsuits: I-95 is Poorly Maintained, March 18, 2017, Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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