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Passenger Killed in Road Racing Crash in Lakeland FL

The drivers of a Jeep and a motorcycle squared off at a stoplight both revving their engines. When the light turned green the vehicles took off, and after racing a few blocks, the Jeep lost control and hit a light pole. Ejected from the vehicle during an accident the passenger died of her injuries. However, they took the driver to a hospital in critical condition.

The accident happened Sunday, April 14, 2019, and a Polk County Sheriff’s deputy said that the accident was needless and could have been avoided. They are still looking for the motorcycle rider who was far enough ahead of the Jeep that he might not have known that the Jeep crashed.

The crash is still under investigation, and charges are possible against the driver of the Jeep.

Street Racing Accidents

More than just speeding, street racing creates unjustified risk for those involved as well as innocent bystanders and other motorists. A study by Arizona State University’s Center for Problem-Oriented Policing found that street racers come in two primary demographics: Young divers ages 18 to 24, and older drivers, 25 to 40. The younger drivers race for prestige and bragging rights, but as they age they sometimes race because of the muscle cars they have spent years restoring and modifying for speed.

The study also focused on ancillary problems associated with racing. The draw of racing promotes other crimes for a variety of reasons. Some like auto theft to support the costs of racing, others like gambling, impairment, and use drugs to enhance the racing experience. The study identified other crimes as well:

  • auto and auto parts theft,
  • assaults (including assaults in retaliation for failure to pay racing bets),
  • drunken driving and driving under the influence of drugs,
  • insurance fraud (relating to racers betting on outcomes),
  • illicit gambling,
  • public intoxication/urination and other public order offenses,
  • trespassing, and

Street Racing Liability

When the inevitable injuries occur, many wonder how they will receive compensation. In a typical accident, the insurance company for the driver who was at fault will pay for the damages, injuries and other financial losses. However, sometimes passengers get hurt, or maybe someone watching or participating in the race. What happens then? They hold the negligent party accountable. Negligence is when someone engages in conduct and doesn’t use the due care and caution required to keep others safe.

Passenger Injuries

When a passenger is hurt in one of the cars in a race, the most obvious at-fault person is the driver of the car carrying the passenger. If this person has auto insurance, the policy should cover the damages and injuries up to the policy limits.

Other than the driver of the car that crashed, compensation can come from the driver of the car that didn’t crash, any of the race organizers or anyone involved in the race in any way. Basically, liability falls on anyone who contributed to the cause of the accident. Because they contributed to the race which led to serious injury or even death.

What do I do if I’m Injured in a Racing Accident?

At the scene and only after you are safe and able to do so, get the names of those involved starting with the drivers of the cars that were racing. Get pictures and the names of any witnesses. However, if your injuries prevent you, in most cases, the police will investigate so you might get those from them, eventually.

Don’t talk to the insurance company of any of the racers. Even if you had involvement in the race yourself or were an innocent bystander. The reason is that the insurance company will use anything you say to either increase your fault in the incident or diminish your injuries and losses.

Talk to our personal injury team who can tell you your rights and evaluate your case. A consultation won’t cost you anything, and you will be then able to make an informed decision. RHINO Lawyers is a powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head-on!” We employ our bold modern approach to “Accident & Personal Injury Law” and “Our Personal Mission” to empower Florida’s families to “Take Charge!”