A 20-year old woman was rescued from the St. Johns River after her car went over the guardrails on the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville. A good samaritan saw the car veer off the bridge into the murky waters below and heroically jumped into action to help save the accident victim. We’ll take a closer look at what happened and how Florida laws have been set up to protect the heroic actions of so-called ‘Good Samaritans’ in cases like these.
Wrong-Way Crash Sends Car Into the Water
A 20-year old Jacksonville woman is lucky to be left with only minor injuries after a terrifying plunge into the St. Johns River after her car veered off the Buckman Bridge. In a News 4 Jax report, the Florida Highway Patrol detailed that the woman was going the wrong way on I-295 when she hit a guardrail that divides northbound and southbound lanes. Going straight through the guardrail, the woman’s vehicle went into the water.
Luckily, several factors prevented this accident from being far worse. The woman was wearing her seatbelt when she hit the water and the spot was fairly shallow so the car did not completely sink. Perhaps most importantly was the bystander who saw the vehicle go over the side of the bridge and jumped into the water to pull the woman to safety.
What Are Florida Good Samaritan Laws?
The Good Samaritan Act can be found in section 768.13 of the Florida Statutes. It’s a really important set of laws as it protects heroes who were simply trying to help. It says that those who are assisting in emergencies should not be held liable for civil damages. This is important because, without it, even someone trying to help might face a legal battle after an emergency. If in helping get an accident victim out of a crashed vehicle, the victim is further injured and for whatever reason decides to sue their rescuer, Florida’s Good Samaritan Act helps to protect the person who did the saving.
With the 20-year old victim who went over the side of the Buckman Bridge, the Good Samaritan Act protects the bystander who heroically jumped into the water to try and save the woman from the car. If they had tragically failed or injured the driver and the victim’s family tried to sue, the bystander would be protected from civil liability under the Good Samaritan Act.
Guardrails That Don’t Guard
Whenever our firm investigates an accident, we have highly-experienced car accident recreation specialists and expert investigators who can help pinpoint the exact causes. Law enforcement also investigates in a case like this and may act in conjunction with state or even federal authorities. Unfortunately, the Buckman Bridge has a tragic history of accidents involving vehicles that have flipped over the guardrails and ended up in the water below.
In 2015, a deadly truck accident on the Buckman Bridge was one of two crashes that caused the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to launch a safety study of the bridge’s railing systems. The study concluded the railing met the national standards for crashworthiness; however, accidents like the recent 20-year old woman going over the side bring questions.
Our firm has previously reported on a slew of guardrails on highways across the country which have been found to be woefully inadequate and have even pierced vehicles during accidents. It is unclear at this point if the current rail system involves those guardrails which have been under question.
Involved in a Jacksonville Car Accident? Let’s Talk About Your Case.
No matter what type of auto accident you may experience, our team has the experience and resources to help get you everything you need to be made whole again. Insurance companies are unfortunately known for their low-ball offers, so let our experienced team of Jacksonville car accident lawyers get to work for you. You never pay unless we win.
If you’re getting the runaround after an accident, schedule a quick conversation with an auto accident attorney now. We’ll outline all your options and review the details of your case for free.