Seven Starke Elementary students were taken to the hospital after a semi-truck rear ended a school bus. According to First Coast News, one of the students and the two people inside the semi were in serious condition and taken to UF Health in Gainesville. Fortunately, there were no life threatening injuries.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, several calls were made to the FHP prior to the collision reporting that the semi involved in the accident was driving erratically. At least four motorists called in to report the out of control semi. As early as three hours before the crash, calls started coming in regarding the semi driver’s unsafe driving.
The Bradford County Sheriff’s Office reported that the female passenger in the semi was standing near the scene of the crash, completely naked, but was wearing a bra. She was given a towel by the FHP to cover herself. The female was later identified as 34-year-old Sherry Ford.
Sherry Ford’s husband, Shannon Ford, was operating the semi at the time of the crash. Of course, when people hear that a driver was driving erratically prior to a crash, and the passenger is a nude woman, they are going to be suspicious. ”Some people are thinking sexual encounter but it very well could be just as innocent as her getting some rest” in the sleeping area in the truck, a spokesman for the FHP said.
The school bus was at a complete stop when it was rear ended by the semi. Bradford County Sheriff’s Office reported that the school bus driver saw the semi barreling towards them and tried her best to get out of the way, but there was nothing she could do.
“She said that when she noticed that the truck driver coming up behind her was not stopping, she released the brake and tried to mash the gas,” Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith said. According to Smith, the semi driver never applied the brakes.
Several witnesses also reported that it did not appear that the driver of the semi had applied the breaks before smashing into the bus. Terrance Jamerson, who witnessed the crash, said, “I seen the bus explode, I just jumped out of my truck. I went right toward the bus with the kids.”
Charges are currently pending against the semi driver.
Truck Driving Negligence
Semi-truck drivers must follow both federal and state regulations when operating their semis. Additionally, semi-truck drivers must earn a special license required to drive semi-trucks. The special license and regulations are in place due to the dangerous nature of driving a semi-truck. When a semi-truck is involved in an auto accident, the severity of the injuries and the likelihood of a fatality are much higher than a collision in which a semi is not involved.
While federal trucking regulations only apply to semis that cross state lines, if the truck is traveling in Florida it will be liable under Florida’s trucking regulations. Florida incorporated federal regulations when creating its own trucking laws.
Florida requires truck drivers to, among other things, receive their commercial drivers license, limit the number of hours a driver can drive each day, be drug tested and maintain regular maintenance and inspections of their trucks.
If a truck driver fails to operate his semi in accordance with Florida regulations and causes a collision, the driver may be liable for damages under Florida negligence laws. Some additional examples of driver behavior that may lead to a negligence suit is excessive speeding, texting, falling asleep at the wheel, running red lights or making unreasonably dangerous traffic maneuvers.
In order to recover under a negligence claim, the injured party must establish that the driver had a duty to maintain and operate their truck safely, that the driver breached that duty, and finally, that the breach is what caused the injuries to the victim.
In this situation, where the truck driver was reported to be driving erratically, the passenger was nude and the truck never applied the brakes, it is possible that the driver was acting negligent in some way. However, every situation is unique and complex. Until the investigation is completed, it is hard to say what exactly happened.
Respondeat Superior, Vicarious Liability
Respondeat Superior is a legal doctring that holds an employer responsible for the actions of its employees that are performed, by the employee, while acting within the scope of their employment. If you are in a collision with a semi-truck driver, and the operator of the semi-truck was acting within the scope of their employment, the employer of the truck operator may be held vicariously liable for the actions of the operator.
Call the Law Offices of John M. Phillips Today for a Free Consultation and Case Evaluation
If you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking, or any other automobile accident, please feel free to call our office and set up a free consultation. The attorneys at the Law Offices of John M. Phillips will be more than happy to sit down with you and explain all of the possible outcomes to your personal injury claim. Again, all cases are different and will have different outcomes. If liability can be shown, a personal injury case may allow you to recover damages for the following:
- Property Damages
- Diminution of Value of Property
- Past Medical Expenses
- Future Medical Expenses
- Money Spent on Care and Treatment
- Money Lost because of Injury
- Compensation for Pain
- Compensation for Disability
- Compensation for Loss of Capacity for Enjoyment of Life
- Compensation for Physical Impairment and Loss of Use
- Compensation for Scarring or Disfigurement
- Loss of Earnings / Wage Loss
- Loss of Capacity to Earn
- Damages to Spouse
- Damages to Children
- And More.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of John M. Phillips will do everything in their power to fight for you and get you the compensation that you deserve. Our attorneys have years of experience serving victims of automobile crashes, call today for a free consultation, 904-444-4444.
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