My thoughts go out to two families who suffered tragedy over the 4th of July holiday in Brevard County.  Two couples were traveling northbound on I-95 near State Road 407 when they encountered a barbeque grill.  The grill had flown out of the bed of a pickup truck.

The main point of the reporting by the Florida Today newspaper was that Florida Highway Patrol troopers say that it may take months for them to decide whether to charge or how to charge, the owner of the grill for failing to secure his load.

From a civil law perspective, and writing as a lawyer who makes his living handling automobile crash cases, I can confidently say that the owner of that unsecured barbeque grill is legally responsible for the deaths and injuries that his loose load caused.  It does not matter whether he is criminally charged, or even whether he received a traffic ticket — neither would be admissible in a civil case in Florida, anyway.  We see this often with flatbed trucks that carry very heavy, and therefore dangerous, loads.

If the evidence shows that the owner of the grill did not use reasonable care in securing it to the truck before he made his way on to I-95, he will face responsibility for the damages his carelessness caused.  And he should, because securing something like a barbeque grill is just not that difficult.  Certainly, nobody should lose a life over it.

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