Investigators are still scrutinizing a fatal auto-pedestrian crash that occurred in Lake Buena Vista.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the wreck occurred near the intersection of SR 535 and Meadow Creek Drive. A southbound driver struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the road outside the sidewalk. Although the driver immediately left the scene, he returned a few moments later; he later told first responders that he did not initially realize he had hit anyone.

None of the names were released, and authorities are mulling possible homicide and/or hit-and-run charges against the driver.

Vehicle-Pedestrian Crashes

Even though officials in the Sunshine State have made safety a priority in this area, Florida is among the top states in the country in terms of the gross number of pedestrian fatalities (501 in 2014) and it has the highest death rate (2.56 per 100,000) in the nation. In fact, Florida and just three other states account for 43 percent of the auto-pedestrian fatalities in the country.

Children under 14 and adults over 65 are among the most at-risk age groups, because they are less visible to drivers or less able to safely evade oncoming traffic. Speed is a leading factor as well, because walkers nearly always survive pedestrian-auto collisions if the car is going less than 25 mph, and these crashes are almost always fatal if the vehicle is travelling faster than 35mph.

Because they are totally exposed to danger in these incidents, and vehicle occupants are protected by multiple devices, pedestrians are often seriously injured in these crashes, with things like:

  • Broken Bones: These injuries are especially common in the legs, because that is usually the point of impact, and the arms, because pedestrians normally try unsuccessfully to brace their falls.
  • Head Injuries: If the pedestrian’s head slams into the pavement – which normally occurs – it is essentially unprotected.
  • Blood Loss: Many pedestrians do not survive their internal and external injuries because they lose too much blood before first responders arrive.

Victims who suffered a serious or permanent injury are entitled to compensation for both their economic damages, like physical rehabilitation costs, and noneconomic damages, like loss of consortium (contribution to household services and companionship). Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.

Comparative Fault

In many cases, both the tortfeasor (negligent driver) and victim share some legal responsibility. For example, in the above case, the victim jaywalked across the street and the tortfeasor failed to yield in traffic.

Florida is one of only twelve pure comparative fault states that apportion damages based solely on the percentage of fault. Assume that, in the above case, the jury determines that the victim’s damages were $100,000, the victim was 60 percent responsible, and the tortfeasor was 40 percent responsible. Under these facts, the victim would receive $40,000. But in most other states, the victim would receive nothing under similar facts, because most states have either a 50 or 51 percent liability cutoff.
Contact Zealous Attorneys

For prompt assistance with a negligent injury claim, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Reed & Reed. You have a limited amount of time to act. From our office in Brandon, Reed & Reed helps clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida.