Multiple Vehicle Crash Kills Port St. Lucie Pedestrian
A 62-year-old man died after two vehicles hit him as he tried to cross the street.
According to police and witnesses, the accident occurred in the 200 block of Port St. Lucie Boulevard. The victim was crossing the street from north to south. He apparently crossed the eastbound lanes without incident. As he continued moving south, he backtracked from the center westbound lane to the left lane. At that point, a westbound car struck him. The force of that collision catapulted the victim back to the westbound side, where a second vehicle struck him.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Pedestrian Crashes in Port St. Lucie
Victims rarely survive pedestrian-auto crashes on busy streets like Port St. Lucie Boulevard. Simply stated, the laws of physics are arrayed against them.
Speed multiples the force in collisions between two objects. In vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, Newton’s second physical law does not always take full effect. Multiple restraint layers, not to mention a steel cage, helps protect these individuals. But pedestrians have no such protections. So, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is traveling less than 30mph, the pedestrian death rate is less than 10 percent. But that rate skyrockets to over 90 percent if the vehicle’s speed is above 40mph.
Head injuries, severe lacerations, and internal injuries are among the serious wounds that these collisions frequently cause. So, most Florida victims are entitled to compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.
Multiple Tortfeasors in Florida
In the above story, there are two potential tortfeasors, the eastbound motorist and the westbound motorist. Victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). However, if there are multiple tortfeasors, the victim/plaintiff need not divide negligence between them. Such a requirement would increase the victim/plaintiff’s burden of proof, and Florida law will not permit such an outcome.
Typically in these situations, the named tortfeasor tried to shift the blame onto other tortfeasors. That move reduces the amount of damages a particular insurance company must pay.
Usually, pleading questions like these are just a technicality that really only concerns the tortfeasor(s). But other times, third party liability is at stake. For example, one tortfeasor might be a noncommercial driver and the other tortfeasor might be a taxi driver. Under those facts, the victim/plaintiff usually wants the taxi driver to have as much responsibility as possible. That way, the taxi company is responsible for more of the victim/plaintiff’s damages.
The Contributory Negligence Defense in Port St. Lucie
The above story also raises interesting questions about the victim’s contributory negligence, if any. The victim may have had a good reason to retrace his path and step in front of an oncoming car. But the reason does not matter. All that matters is that, in so doing, the victim may be responsible for some of his own damages.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. The judge apportions damages based solely on the percentage of fault. So, even if a jury concluded that this pedestrian was 90 percent responsible for the initial crash, the victim would still receive a proportional share of damages. Additionally, there probably are no such questions with regard to the second collision with the westbound tortfeasor.
Connect with Tenacious Lawyers
Pedestrian-auto crashes almost always cause catastrophic injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.