On July 17, 2021, a tourist trolley in St. Augustine, Florida, owned by Historic Tours of America flipped onto its side due its operator driving the trolley at an excessive speed. The overturned trolley ejected multiple passengers and pinned others between the trolley and the road surface. There are reports of numerous serious injuries.
The trolley had a total of three cars linked to a single engine. The car that flipped was the rear trolley car. Apparently, the driver attempted to “whip” the third trolley, presumably to provide a thrill to those passengers. Witnesses have reported that the driver quickly accelerated as he turned into the parking lot for the Oldest House near the intersection of Charlotte and St. Francis streets. The driver has not been charged; however, the St. Augustine Police Department has referred charges for reckless driving to the State Attorneys office.
From the civil justice standpoint of our St. Augustine personal injury attorneys, the injured passengers will have claims against Historic Tours of America and its driver, whose name has not been published. Those who were injured will be entitled to recover for their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. In all likelihood, Historic Tours of America will have a large liability insurance policy or policies in place, likely with coverage limits in the $5m to $10m range. Historic Tours of America is a fairly large company that operates tourist trolleys in St. Augustine, Key West, San Diego, Nashville, Savannah, Washington DC and Boston.
This completely avoidable accident calls into question both the hiring and training practices of Historic Tours of America. While Historic Tours of America is already responsible for the negligence of its driver, the complete factual background could give rise to punitive damages depending on the driving history and capabilities of the driver. Also, as driving a three car trolley is much different than operating a normal passenger vehicle, sufficient training must be provided. This is especially the case in St. Augustine which has numerous traffic difficulties including: congestion; narrow streets; numerous pedestrians; horse and buggies; and traffic snarls caused by the periodic raising of the Lions Bridge.
Our St. Augustine personal injury attorneys represent tourists who suffer injuries due to the neglect of others. In addition to trolley accidents, tourist injuries result from: car accidents; falls in hotels, restaurants and businesses; rental scooters; bike accidents; and unsafe attractions.
Usually tourists suffering injuries in St. Augustine will require local urgent or emergency room care. After they return home, care will continue with doctors convenient to where they live. If a lawsuit has to be filed in order to secure a fair resolution, it would have to be filed in St. Johns County, Florida. As such, hiring a local St. Augustine lawyer may be to your benefit as most out of state lawyers are not able, or are not willing, to file suit here.
If you have any question about your rights as a person suffering injuries in our area, please call for a free consultation. We have offices in St. Augustine and Jacksonville. We are happy to meet in person or via Zoom. Consultations are free. If we agree to handle your case, we only get paid if we recover money for you.