Deadly Pedestrian Accident In Stuart
A recent pedestrian-vehicle accident which left a man dead highlights two of the most common issues in these cases.
The wreck occurred on U.S. 1 near the Roosevelt Bridge. According to police and witnesses, a blue Dodge Avenger was southbound on U.S. 1. It may have been traveling a little above the posted 45mph speed limit. The driver struck a 49-year-old man, killing him almost instantly.
The man was not crossing inside a crosswalk. Authorities speculate that he may have been going to, or coming from, some nearby retail establishments.
Speed in Port St. Lucie Pedestrian Accidents
Normally, five or six miles-per-hour over the speed limit is not much of a factor in vehicle-on-vehicle collisions. That’s not fast enough to cause most drivers to lose control under most conditions. Furthermore, Florida passenger vehicles have steel cages and multiple restraint layers that can absorb the additional force.
But that’s not true in pedestrian-on-vehicle collisions. A few extra ticks on the speedometer could literally be the difference between life and death. At 30mph, the fatality risk is less than 10 percent. But at 40mph, the fatality risk is over 50 percent.
In Port St. Lucie, speed increases both the risk of a collision and the force in that collision. A speeding driver has less time to react. Moreover, speed multiplies the force in a collision. That results in serious injuries like:
- Head Injuries: Most pedestrians are thrown great distances in these impacts. When they land, the trauma to their unprotected heads almost always causes a head injury. While lengthy physical therapy can restore some lost functions, these wounds are always permanent.
- Broken Bones: The same impact often shatters bones. So, the victims must undergo highly aggressive corrective surgery. Then, they face weeks or months of physical rehabilitation.
- Nerve Damage: When people fall, they usually extend their arms to brace themselves. If the victim only stumbles, that reaction often prevents serious injury. But in a high-speed Port St. Lucie collision, the arms cannot bear the force. That usually causes permanent nerve damage to the brachial plexus area.
Damages in a pedestrian-auto collision claim usually include compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.
The Sudden Emergency Defense in Port St. Lucie Pedestrian-Auto Crashes
Pedestrians only have the right-of-way when they cross in marked crosswalks and with the light. If they cross the street in any other way, insurance company lawyers often claim that they “darted out” into traffic and the tortfeasors (negligent drivers) could not avoid a collision.
This version of events is usually a precursor to the sudden emergency defense. This doctrine excuses a tortfeasor’s liability in a crash if the driver:
- Reasonably reacted to
- A completely unexpected situation.
Here in Florida, the first prong is usually present in these cases. But the second element is a different story. A jaywalking pedestrian may be unusual, but it is certainly not unexpected, especially if there is a high-traffic retail center nearby.
Drivers should be ready for things like pedestrians crossing against the light and stalled cars. These things are not “sudden emergencies” in this context. Therefore the defense is usually unavailable.
Work With Experienced Lawyers
Pedestrian-vehicle collisions often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle cases throughout the Treasure Coast area.