Fatal Bicycle Crash In Jensen Beach
As Florida’s Hit and Run Awareness Month gets underway, a homeless man died in a hit-and-run crash. The story highlights the complex fact patterns in many of these cases.
A 67-year-old bicyclist was northbound on Northwest Green River Parkway near the Jensen Beach Boulevard intersection when an unknown driver hit him, killed him, and continued northbound. Using a witness’ account, officers located the abandoned vehicle nearby. Evidence found at the scene led investigators to a second suspect vehicle. Officers believe they have located the car’s owner but have not yet verified the driver’s identity. The victim, whose given address was inaccurate, had a rather long criminal history, according to reports.
Other bikers who often ride on Northwest Green River Parkway say that the area is inherently unsafe for bicyclists. “Anything that doesn’t have a bike path on, I won’t ride on,” said one. “I’ll do a sidewalk instead of the road any time because people just don’t pay attention.”
Liability Issues in Port St. Lucie Hit-and-Run Crashes
About half of hit-and-run tortfeasors (negligent drivers) are located and convicted in criminal court. In that forum, prosecutors must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless there was an eyewitness who saw the entire crash and also saw who was behind the wheel, there may always be a reasonable doubt as to the driver’s identity, so these cases aren’t brought very often.
But in civil court, victim/plaintiffs only need establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). In the above story, investigators have already identified the primary suspect vehicle’s owner. That fact alone is probably not enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But it probably is enough to establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence. It is more likely than not that the car’s owner was also the driver.
Police officers performed a very thorough investigation into this accident. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. After all, first responders care almost nothing about liability in a civil case. So, many times, attorneys must gather evidence on their own. That involves activities like:
- Witness Interviews: Many people do not initially come forward because they only saw part of the collision or, for whatever reason, they do not want to talk to police officers. Personal injury attorneys in Port St. Lucie know what evidence to use and can overcome people’s objections to testifying.
- Surveillance Video: There is almost always at least one security or other camera at or near the scene. Sometimes, that camera captures the entire incident, and sometimes it captures critical details that were overlooked.
To expedite this process, Florida attorneys often partner with private investigators to obtain additional evidence.
Winning Compensation in Port St. Lucie Bicycle Crashes
Many jurors harbor either a general animus against bicycle riders, a phenomenon known as “bikelash,” or a specific prejudice against an individual victim. Attorneys must work extra hard in these cases to make the victim as sympathetic as possible, in order to obtain maximum compensation.
In Florida, if the victim sustained a serious injury, this compensation includes money for economic damages, such as medical bills, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Contact Tenacious Lawyers
Hit-and-run victims have legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We have five office locations in the Treasure Coast area.