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Winter Park Car Wreck Kills Two

Oldham & Smith Jan. 5, 2018

Charges may be forthcoming in a high-speed car crash that killed two people and seriously injured three others.

The accident occurred on Westchester Avenue at Orange Avenue. According to police witnesses, a vehicle traveling westbound on Westchester “at a high rate of speed” collided with the victims’ car while it was at the intersection. 23-year-old Geena Pabarue and 23-year-old Keisha Nicole Perales were both killed almost instantly. Three other individuals, whose names were not released but were all apparently in that same vehicle, were rushed to local hospitals, but they are expected to survive.

Investigators are still looking at the case.

Speed in Florida Car Crashes

Because it increases the risk of an accident and increases the force in a collision, speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal car crashes in Orlando.

Excessive velocity multiplies stopping distance, which is the distance that a vehicle travels in the time that drivers see a hazard ahead, react to that hazard, and apply the brakes to safely stop the vehicle. Stopping distance is approximately six car lengths at 30mph and eighteen car lengths at 60mph, so speed has a multiplying effect.

Speed also has a multiplying effect on the force in a collision, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Furthermore, objects inside the vehicle, such as a cellphone or a person, keep traveling at the same velocity until they too strike a solid object, such as another person or the windshield.

Drivers breach the duty of reasonable care if they travel above the posted speed limit. They also breach the duty of reasonable care if they fail to account for adverse environmental conditions, such as wet roads or dark skies.

The Florida Serious Injury Threshold

Speed often transforms non-injury “fender bender” collisions into serious injury wrecks. That’s especially important in the Sunshine State, due to the no-fault insurance law. If the victim only suffers property damage, the victim is limited to economic losses. However, if the victim sustains a serious injury, additional compensation is available. Florida law defines a serious injury as:

  • Scarring or disfigurement,

  • Loss of function, or

  • A “permanent” injury.

The additional available damages include money for pain and suffering, loss of consortium (companionship), emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, and other noneconomic losses. Additional punitive damages may be available as well if there is clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) intentionally disregarded a known risk.

Rely on Experienced Attorneys

Car crashes often cause very serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Orlando, contact Oldham & Smith. After hours visits are available.