Fatal Pedestrian-Auto Collision In Port St. Lucie County
A 61-year-old man died in a car crash as he tried to push his bicycle across U.S. 1 near East Prima Vista Boulevard.
Witnesses said that the Port St. Lucie man was not in a marked crosswalk when two vehicles approached. One of them, a Kia Sorrento in the center northbound lane, struck the victim first, throwing him into the path of a northbound Honda Accord in the outside lane. First responders rushed the victim to a nearby hospital, where he was subsequently declared dead. The motorists both suffered minor injuries.
No charges are pending at this time.
Pedestrian Injuries in Florida
The Sunshine State has one of the highest incidents of fatal pedestrian-auto collisions in the country. Many of them occur in areas like the one in the above story, viz, a semi-rural area with wide, straight roads, and few traffic signals, that are designed to move cars as fast as possible from one place to another. Such roads are dangerous for pedestrians to cross, especially if they have any mobility impairments.
Speed adds a very dangerous element to an already inherently hazardous situation. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is traveling at less than 20mph, elderly victims (60 and over) have less than a 10 percent serious injury rate. But if the tortfeasor is traveling just 10mph faster, the serious injury rate for this age group skyrockets to about 80 percent.
Authorities almost never file charges in these cases, even if the victim was killed, unless the tortfeasor was intoxicated. So many times, it is up to a Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney to obtain justice for the victims. Compensation is available as well. If the victim sustained a serious injury, the tortfeasor is liable for both economic damages (like medical bills and lost wages) as well as noneconomic damages (including emotional distress and loss of enjoyment in life). Punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme cases.
Multiple Tortfeasors and a Claim for Damages in Florida
Most cases involve one tortfeasor and one or more victims. But in the above case, there may be two tortfeasors.
Under Florida law, either could be responsible for the victim’s demise. Most probably, it is the second driver, because it is reasonable to assume the the victim was still alive after the first impact. But a victim could just as easily file a claim against the first driver.
Procedurally, the victim/plaintiff only needs to establish that one of the drivers was liable for damages. Then, since Florida is a modified joint and several liability state, the tortfeasors could probably either divided damages between themselves or ask the jury to make such a division.
The Sudden Emergency Defense in Port St. Lucie
In Florida car crash cases, defense lawyers often try to use a number of legal loopholes to reduce or deny compensation to car crash victims. The sudden emergency defense is one such loophole. It excuses liability if the tortfeasor:
- Encountered an unexpected situation, and then
- Responded reasonably to said emergency.
A pedestrian crossing a high-speed roadway outside a crosswalk, while unanticipated, is not entirely unexpected. Pedestrians cross against the light at almost every intersection, so motorists should be prepared for such events. Therefore, the sudden emergency defense typically does not apply in Florida pedestrian-auto collisions.
Count on Aggressive Lawyers
Victims are often seriously injured in Florida pedestrian-auto crashes. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.