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Port St. Lucie Crash Kills Pedestrian


Authorities say a man was running across a congested portion of Gatlin Boulevard when a vehicle fatally struck him.

Few details were available, except that the wreck occurred near the intersection of Gatlin and Southwest Ed Grace Street. First responders rushed the victim to a nearby hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Police spokesman Sgt. Robert Vega said homicide investigators were gathering information about the fatal incident.

Pedestrian Injuries in Florida

The victim in this story may not feel lucky, but he was lucky. Individuals in these situations rarely survive their injuries, because fast-moving cars almost always kill pedestrians. At 20mph, the victim fatality rate is less than 10 percent. But the death rate skyrockets to 90 percent at 40mph.

Since pedestrians have no restraint systems or other safety layers to protect them from oncoming vehicles, they nearly always sustain serious or fatal injuries, such as:

  • Blood Loss: External trauma injuries bleed profusely, and internal organs often leak even more. These organs have no protective skin layer, so any bumping and grinding may cause severe bleeding. By the time victims arrive at hospitals, they may already be in hypovolemic shock.
  • Head Injuries: Pedestrian crashes usually involve both trauma and motion-related head injuries. The blunt force of a fall often causes many serious injuries. Additionally, the falling motion often causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull.
  • Spine Injuries: Similarly, even if victims do not land on their backs, the jarring motion is usually enough to knock the spine out of alignment. These injuries often cause permanent paralysis.

Damages in these cases usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases.

Your Claim for Damages in St. Lucie County

Florida law gives pedestrians the right-of-way if they are inside a crosswalk and have the green light. If tortfeasors (negligent drivers) hit pedestrians in these situations, the tortfeasor may be liable for the damages set forth above.

But most of these accidents occur outside marked crosswalks. Fortunately, victims may also be entitled to compensation in these cases. Victim/plaintiffs must establish that the tortfeasor was negligent. Ordinary negligence is basically a lack of reasonable care. Driver impairments, like alcohol use, excessive fatigue, and distracted driving, are usually evidence of negligence.

Insurance Company Defenses in Florida

Typically, contributory negligence is one of the most common defenses in Florida. This legal loophole shifts blame for the accident from the tortfeasor to the victim. However, this doctrine usually does not apply in vehicle-on-pedestrian claims. It is almost physically impossible for any pedestrian to cause any car crash.

However, the sudden emergency defense sometimes applies, especially if the victim ran out into traffic with little or no warning. But on closer inspection, this defense may not hold up in court. The elements of the sudden emergency defense are:

  • Reasonable reaction to
  • A sudden emergency.

After a collision, most tortfeasors immediately pull over, if they can, and remain at the scene. These are reasonable reactions. But a jaywalking pedestrian is usually not a “sudden emergency.” Instead, jaywalking pedestrians are more like stalled cars or construction zone lane changes. Drivers should be ready to respond to these situations, so they are not sudden emergencies in this context.

Contact an Assertive Lawyer

Pedestrian victims may be entitled to substantial compensation for their serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters throughout the Treasure Coast area




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