Polk County multi-vehicle crash kills one
Wrong-way driving appears to have caused a collision of a passenger car with two semi-trucks in Lakeland last Friday. The multi-vehicle accident occurred just after 7 a.m. on U.S. Highway 98, north of Lakeland Acres Road.
Aaron Michael Russ, 28, was headed southbound on U.S. Highway 98 when he drifted into the northbound lanes, side-swiping an international semi-truck and trailer, which damaged several tires and rims of the larger vehicle. Russ then struck another semi-truck and trailer behind its left front tire and plowed into the semi-truck’s cab. The second semi-truck slid off the shoulder of the road, stopping in a shallow ditch.
Russ, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene. The driver of the first truck sustained minor injuries, while the driver of the second vehicle was treated for serious injuries.
Motor vehicle accidents are on the rise, and many of these preventable tragedies are due to driver distraction, impairment or recklessness. Unfortunately, the risks that people take are often not realized until after the fact, when accident reconstruction reveals information that can be used to later file a claim for damages sustained by accident victims.
When someone is injured by another driver’s negligence, they have to be able to prove:
- The other driver had a duty of care to the injured party
- The actions, or failure to act, of the other party caused a breach of that duty
- The breach of duty was the cause of the injuries sustained
- There has been significant losses due to these injuries
Seeking compensation after a preventable accident
Understanding the personal injury claims process can help when deciding how to proceed. A personal injury attorney will investigate the circumstances of the accident, gather evidence and obtain medical records of the accident victim in order to assess the extent of the injuries and the financial restitution available.
The attorney will then send out a demand letter to the insurance companies involved. These companies will always want to pay out as little as possible, so a skilled attorney must know how to negotiate with them in order to obtain a fair payout that will prevent a possible court battle. If the final settlement figures do not factor in other injured parties, attorney fees and satisfactory compensation to the injured party, it may be necessary to move forward with a lawsuit.
Above all, it is essential to retain skilled and experienced legal counsel serving the Lakeland community before starting the process in order to discover your options.