Teenagers Ejected from Stolen Vehicle Can Make a Legal Claim!

Did you know that the teenagers ejected from the stolen vehicle in Broward County can still make a legal claim? A recent tragic accident involving a stolen car and four teenagers on the Florida Turnpike in Broward County resulted in three deaths in the early morning hours of a recent weekday morning. According to a report from the Palm Beach Post, on Tuesday, October 17, at 2:30 a.m., three teenagers were killed and a fourth was critically injured when the car they were riding in went airborne and then crashed into a tollbooth. The injured teenager was taken in critical condition to Broward Health North Hospital for treatment for his injuries. The accident occurred as the four teenagers were traveling north on the Turnpike in a stolen Buick LaCrosse. As the car entered a tollbooth on the Turnpike near Commercial Boulevard in Broward County, the teenager driving the car lost control of the vehicle, according to a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) news report of the accident. The stolen Buick then spun sideways, went airborne and hit the top of the tollbooth. All four teenagers were ejected from the car.   According to the FHP report, one teenager ended up on the tollbooth roof, one in the road and the two others at the side of the road. FHP is still unsure which of the teenagers was the stolen car’s driver.

What Legal Claims Might Be Available in this Scenario?

In this instance, although thankfully there were no other motorists who were not riding in the stolen car that were injured or killed, there still may be legal claims available to the families and estates of the dead and injured teenagers. For instance, even though the car was stolen, the teenagers who were riding as passengers in the stolen car might have a claim against the teenager driving the Buick LaCrosse. A common misconception is that a passenger who is injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger is riding cannot sue the driver for injuries caused by that driver’s negligence. This could not be further from the truth. If the driver of a car you are riding in operates the vehicle carelessly or negligently and this results in injury or death to you, then you or your estate would have a claim against the driver of the car you were riding in. Thus, the families of the killed teenagers or the injured teenager in the article above could potentially sue the driver of the car or his or her estate in order to recover damages associated with the deaths or injuries of the passengers in the car.

A related issue in the scenario above, however, is the fact that the participants in this car were operating a stolen vehicle. If the driver of the vehicle is sued by the passengers or their estate, he or she may argue something called comparative negligence. This is a legal concept known as an affirmative defense which attempts to hold an injured person responsible for his or her own injuries where the injured person partially caused his or her injuries. As an example, in the accident described above, the driver of the vehicle would be free to argue that a passenger or a passenger’s estate suing him contributed to the passenger’s own death by shouting and telling jokes while the driver was driving or participating in stealing the car in the first place. In that case, if a jury were to find that the injured or killed passenger was indeed partially culpable in causing his or her own injuries or death, then the jury would be asked to assess a percentage of fault against every party that was deemed at fault for the injuries suffered by the passenger. The passenger’s total recovery would then be reduced by whatever proportion of fault the jury assessed the passenger for his own injuries

To put it all together, in the case of the injured/killed teenagers who were passengers in the stolen Buick LaCrosse which recently went airborne in Broward County, the injured passenger and the estates of both deceased passengers would indeed be able to sue the driver of the car or his estate, but attorneys for the driver or his estate would be free to argue that the passenger played a role in causing his own injuries or death. If the jury finds that the passenger was indeed partially responsible for causing his or her own injuries or death, then the total damages awarded to that passenger or his estate would be reduced by whatever portion of fault the jury attributed to the passenger.

Contact Schwed Adams Sobel & McGinley if You Have Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident Caused By Another Motorist’s

At Schwed Adams Sobel & McGinley, over 80 percent of the cases that our firm handles relate to motor vehicle accidents. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have over 150 years of legal experience and we have represented thousands of accident victims.   Even if you were riding in a car with a friend, if that friend’s actions caused you injuries then our experienced attorney can assist you in recovered damages for your friend’s insurer for your injuries. Therefore if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the driver of a vehicle in which you were riding, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today at contact@schwedlaw.com or (877) 694-6079 to discuss your legal options today.

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