The Polk County, Florida Sheriff’s Office reported responding to an automobile crash involving a city bus and a truck. Initial reports that the Florida bus accident has left at least seven seriously injured. The accident happened in the Eloise area of Winter Haven along Highway 17. As a result of the accident, Highway 17 was completely blocked from Snively Boulevard to Highway 540.
According to police reports, the crash happened in the morning when a pickup truck rear-ended the city’s Bartow Express/Citrus Connection bus.
Witnesses have told a local news station that they saw an adult and two children – aged four and seven – who were allegedly traveling in the truck, be airlifted to Tampa General Hospital as trauma alerts and remain in critical condition. It is also reported that the seven year old was ejected through the windshield during the accident. It is unclear whether or not he was wearing a seatbelt.
At least another four, all of whom were passengers in the bus, have suffered minor injuries and are also receiving treatment in the hospital.
In rear-end car crashes such as the one here, it is typically presumed that the driver who rear ended the vehicle ahead of them is at fault. However, it should be noted that this is not always the case. To decide who was at fault, one needs to see which driver – if any – was acting negligently. According to the law, negligence is best defined as action that falls short of what a reasonable person would or would not have done under the circumstances that led to the rear-end accident. Common examples of negligent driving include failure to:
- Pay attention to the road
- Stop within a reasonable time
- Drive at a reasonable speed
- Maintain control
- Yield the right of way
- Follow at a safe distance
- Use a turn signal
In the case at hand, it is likely that the driver of the truck was not following the bus at a safe distance and thus will be found negligent and could be held liable for the injuries caused to the bus passengers. However, the bus driver could also be found negligent, especially if he or she, for example, stopped suddenly or was driving with malfunctioning brake lights. If any of these are true, then the bus driver could be found completely or partially at fault for the accident.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a Florida rear-end accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today and schedule your free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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