SUV Crashes Into Panera Bread In Fort Lauderdale

SUV Crashes into Panera Bread in Fort Lauderdale


A BMW SUV made a crashing stop into a Panera Bread storefront in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday February 5, 2020. The driver of the BMW, whose name has not been released, apparently lost control of the SUV crashing into the dining area of a Panera Bread in Fort Lauderdale; authorities confirmed Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue says the driver’s white SUV was about halfway inside the restaurant but no one was injured in the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation. It’s unclear whether the driver will be cited. No further details were released.

Storefront Car Crashes in Florida

A storefront crash occurs when a vehicle drives through or into a window or wall of a store, restaurant, or other establishment. The vehicle can hit pedestrians that are on the sidewalks in front of the establishment, as well as patrons inside. Believe it or not, cars crashing into storefronts is a frequent occurrence in Florida. It can happen at convenience stores, offices, commercial buildings, restaurants, retail stores, and even residential homes.

Since 2014, the Storefront Safety Council (“SSC”), an advocacy group working to end vehicle into building crashes, have been collecting data on these types of accidents. According to them, South Florida has had more crashes into buildings than almost every other state in the last 6 years with nearly 1 in 4 crashes occurring in either Broward or Miami-Dade County.

Common Causes of Storefront Crashes

About half of all storefront car accidents are caused by “pedal error” which can occur when drivers mistake their gas pedals for their brakes. Drivers can also confuse Drive with Park on their automatic transmissions and drivers of all ages get distracted or suffer medical emergencies and fail to brake in time, or at all, when entering or leaving parking areas.

Drivers who confuse the accelerator with the brake pedal or put their car in drive instead of reverse can accidently drive their cars into buildings, through windows, or onto sidewalks. In other cases, the driver is not at fault. Additionally, some cars involved in storefront crashes may have swerved to avoid an accident and lost control.

Liability in Storefront Car Crash Crashes

Many experts suggest that if landowners install protective barriers and consciously hire engineers that can design effective parking areas, these crashes don’t have to happen. As a result, a common question in such storefront car crash cases is whether the owner of the property had a duty to erect barriers to protect persons on the premises from being struck by such cars. The vehicles may have been driven by drunk drivers, inexperienced drivers, negligent drivers, drivers whose brakes failed, or drivers whose feet slipped from the brake to the accelerator. The vehicles may have come from an adjoining highway or from the landowner’s own parking area. The injured persons may have been inside the landowner’s building, on the landowner’s an outside walkway, at its walkup window, entering or leaving the landowner’s building, or in an outside area set aside for their use. As in any premises liability case, a landowner can be found liable for a victims’ injuries in three instances:

(1) failure to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition;
(2) failure to correct a dangerous condition, they either knew or should have known about; and
(3) failure to warn of a dangerous condition about which the defendant had, or should have had, knowledge greater than that of the claimant.

In storefront car accident cases, courts in Florida are split. Some courts have held that, at least in the absence of prior similar accidents, a landowner need not erect a barrier to protect persons inside its building from being injured by vehicles. However, other courts in Florida and around the country have held that a customer who is injured when a car crashes through a storefront can recover from the storekeeper where cost-effective barriers were available which would have stopped a car from crashing through in the first place.

As in any case like this, evidence of prior similar accidents can be used to establish the owner or operator’s actual or constructive notice of the danger and this imposes a duty on landowners to take reasonable precautions to protect their patrons from injury due to errant vehicles. For example, a curb complying with all building codes has been found to be a sufficient barrier against out-of-control vehicles crashing into a restaurant building and injuring patrons there. The main takeaway here is that while a premises owner has no duty to protect against all types of storefront car accidents where such incidents would be unforeseeable, whether it assumed a duty must be determined by the individual facts of each case.

Landowners should consider implementing safety measures. Some ideas include: walkways on its property that adjoin its parking area, a curb between the walkway and the parking area, barriers that can be erected to prevent accidents that may include bollard posts, large planters or other architectural items that actually enhance appearance while offering a layer of protection and posting signage to keep pedestrians and moving vehicles separated by using signage to direct people to walk in safe areas.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today!

Understanding Florida law and a personal injury case are best left to the experts. Factors such as the state’s no-fault law when it comes to insurance and medical expenses are tricky. Navigating the legal process alone is confusing and downright stressful. When you’re involved in a car accident caused by negligent driving, talk to a car accident attorney about your options going forward. There is no replacement for quality legal advice after being involved in a car accident.

The car accident attorneys at Suarez and Montero would love to have an opportunity to explain the law in Florida to assist you in presenting a strong claim against the at-fault party. When you are dealing with the aftermath of a serious train or railroad accident, it is important to have experienced legal representation on your side. At the Law Offices of Suarez & Montero Car Accident Attorneys, you are never just another file or claim to us—you are part of our family and your well- being are just as important to us as if you were our own family. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you.

Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights.

We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no-risk case consultation.

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