Intersection Collision Kills 99-Year-Old Man
A left-turning car struck and killed an elderly man riding an electric scooter at a busy Port St. Lucie intersection.
The wreck happened at the intersection of Port St. Lucie Boulevard and Highway One. According to police, the victim was inside the crosswalk moving across Highway One when a Jeep Cherokee, which was attempting an unprotected left turn from Port St. Lucie Boulevard, struck him. First responders rushed the victim to a nearby hospital, but he did not survive.
No charges against the Jeep driver are pending at this time.
Frequently, when people turn left against traffic, they do not look to the left before they turn. Instead, they only focus on oncoming traffic. When they see a gap, or think they see a gap, they suddenly accelerate into the turn. If anyone is in the crosswalk at that time, the results are often catastrophic.
Such maneuvers are a failure to yield the right-of-way. If pedestrians are in a crosswalk with the light, they definitely have the right of way. If they are in a crosswalk against the light, they probably have the right of way. Therefore, if an emergency responder issues a citation, the negligence per se rule applies in these cases. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) are presumptively negligent if:
- They violate non-penal safety laws, like the speed limit law, and
- Those violations substantially cause injuries.
Additional evidence of negligence includes the tortfeasor’s RPM rate at the time of the crash. Vehicle Event Data Recorders capture and store such information
However, first responders often do not issue citations in these situations. Frequently, these officials see such matters as civil disputes, so they do not want to get involved. In these situations, Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys use the ordinary negligence doctrine. A negligence claim has four basic elements:
- Duty: Most noncommercial drivers have a duty of reasonable care. That duty includes a responsibility to avoid accidents if possible.
- Breach: Drivers violate this duty if their conduct falls below the standard of care. For example, turning one’s head to speak to a passenger is technically distracted driving. But most people would not consider that action a lack of ordinary care.
- Causation: This element has both factual and legal components. Lawyers refer to the factual element as “but for” causation, as in the accident wouldn’t have happened “but for” the tortfeasor’s negligence. Legal causation involves foreseeability.
- Damages: Normally, victims cannot file claims because of near misses. They must suffer physical damages, either to their property or to their bodies.
Compensation in a vehicle collision claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Car Crashes and the Eggshell Skull Rule
Pre-existing medical or other conditions, such as age or disability, often affect damages. For example, in the above story, the victim’s age might have contributed to the severity of his injuries.
Florida law forbids tortfeasors from using an eggshell skull, or any other such condition, as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation to victims. Essentially, tortfeasors take victims as they are, and not how they ideally should be.
Generally, an attorney must only prove that the collision exacerbated the pre-existing condition, as opposed to the other way around. The burden of proof on this point is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, a little proof goes a long way.
Contact a Diligent Lawyer
Injured pedestrians are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.