Articles Posted in Pedestrian Injuries

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The tragedy of a child being injured or killed is one that cannot be overlooked and impacts communities on a large scale. All around the country, especially in major cities, there are many busy roads filled with pedestrians, including children, and vehicles being driven by distracted drivers. Adult pedestrians and children alike often need to cross the street in order to arrive at their desired destination, and while many use the nearest crosswalk, sometimes circumstances arise (either because there is not one present or it is far out of the way for the pedestrian, to name a couple) which result in the individual crossing the street where there is not a designated crosswalk. This can also be the case, if not more so the case, in smaller cities or residential areas where children are present. This is common because children may feel more comfortable or safer crossing the street without a crosswalk in their own neighborhood, whether it is because of lack of traffic or simply just level of comfort around their residence. When a pedestrian is injured in a crosswalk or in another part of the street due to the negligence or inattention of a driver, there is a ripple effect through the family, neighborhood, and the community. Certainly, crosswalks serve a purpose in delineating the area, warning motorists, and providing a seemingly safe passage across the street; however, the fact remains that all drivers should be watchful of pedestrians especially those who are children and often lack safety awareness and at times common sense.

Based in Jacksonville, Florida, David Wolf, a partner with the law firm of Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A., is a child injury attorney who handles automobile accidents, bicycle accidents, trucking accidents, and, yes, pedestrian accidents throughout the State of Florida. The pursuit of a case will depend on a number of legal and practical factors. With over 26 years of experience, David Wolf can provide guidance, advice, and when appropriate legal representation in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident. Contact David Wolf today for a Free Consultation.

Drivers need to pay full attention to the road and their surroundings, slowing down near crosswalks and school zones as well as residential areas, undistracted. The tragedy of a child being hit by a vehicle while crossing the street will leave the family, friends, and community of the child shocked and devastated, to say the least. Just one telephone call, one text message, or one Facebook post (all of which typically have little importance) can result in serious personal injuries and even the death of a pedestrian.

Pedestrian-Triangle-Sign-150x150In Jacksonville, Florida and other cities, drivers should be on the look out for pedestrians and bicyclists especially those who are young children.  Drivers should slow down in school zones, residential areas, crosswalks, and anywhere else there may be a child pedestrian or child bicyclist.  It should be noted that Florida is a comparative fault state.  As such, the injured child and / or parents of an injured child can bring a legal action for personal injuries or wrongful death even if the child may have been partially at fault for the incident or accident.  It should also be noted that children under the age of 6 years old cannot be held to be negligent or at fault as a matter of law in the State of Florida.

A recent tragedy was reported in Jacksonville, Florida.  It was reported that a child was hit by a vehicle while attempting to cross a street with other children at the intersection of A1A and the Wonderwood Connector in Mayport – Jacksonville Florida.  It was reported by the local media that the driver continued through the intersection on a yellow light.  It was also reported that the child, who ultimately died as a result of the pedestrian – vehicle accident related personal injuries, was in the sixth grade. You can read more about this story at Boy Hit While Crossing the Street in Jacksonville, Florida (Mayport).

The wrongful death of a child has a ripple effect through the family, neighborhood, school, and community.  It is heartbreaking for the parents and extended family.  It is extremely upsetting for the school.  It can be quite a bewildering experience to have a friend / classmate sit in front of a student one day and then never to return because of a tragic pedestrian accident.

Auto Crash.001As parents, we do our best to protect our children from harm. As part of regular every day life, children are transported to and from school, sport practices, and other activities. It is common to see children in vehicles before and after school as well during the school day while attending field trips and other school related activities. Unfortunately, there are far too many drivers on the road who fail to pay attention to traffic, road conditions, weather, and, yes, the presence of children in passenger vehicles, school buses, day care center vans, and other vehicles.

When a child is injured as a result of the negligence of another driver, the parents on behalf of the child can pursue a personal injury claim or case. Certainly, as a passenger, there can be no fault attributed to the child passenger; however, it should be noted that only children under the age of 6 years old are immune from being blamed in part or whole for his or her actions. As such, let’s say a 12 year old is a passenger in a vehicle but fails to wear a seatbelt. The 12 year old may be blamed in part for the personal injuries if it can be established that there was an operational seatbelt and that the use of a seatbelt would have prevented the injuries in the entirety. If the seatbelt would have lessened the injuries, then a case or claim can still be pursued. In most instances, a child is wearing a seatbelt and this particular issue is avoided due to the child’s reasonable actions in wearing a seatbelt.

Moving beyond potential seatbelt issues, it is important that the injured child receive immediate care through an emergency room, urgent care center, clinic, or pediatrician’s office. From there, if the child is still experiencing pain and / or other medical complications, follow up care should be sought and obtained on behalf of the injured child. Handling a personal injury case or claim is not an easy task or endeavor. This is especially true when the parent is dealing with the challenges or issues on his or her own without the benefit of legal advice or legal representation. As such, when a child is injured, it is important to consult with a Child Injury Lawyer who can provide the necessary guidance, direction, and, yes, legal representation when the injuries warrant the involvement of an attorney.

School Zone - Pedestrian AccidentIn Florida and other states during the school year, there is a common danger in and around schools.  Student pedestrians who walk to school or who are walking near a school are at risk for being hit, injured, and even killed.  Disturbingly, student pedestrians are hit far too often while doing someone we, as parents, encourage them to do – attend school.   It should be noted the Florida is a Comparative Fault state.  In other words, the negligence or fault for the incident does not have to fall 100 % on any particular person or party in order to pursue a case or claim on behalf of the injured student.  When a student / child is hit and suffers injuries or dies as a result of the incident, there can be a cause of action or case pursued on behalf of the injured child.  
When a child suffers a serious personal injury or dies as a result of the incident, there is a full incident report / police report completed as to the cause and preventability of the incident, injuries, and / or death.  It should also be noted that the conclusions of the investigating officer is not binding on a civil case or claim.  While it is helpful to the pursuit of the case or claim if the police officer cites the driver for the cause and fault of the pedestrian incident, such a finding or citation is not necessary to pursue a case or claim on behalf of the injured child or on behalf of the surviving parents of the child who tragically dies as a result of a pedestrian accident or incident.
Florida has laws in place for drivers and pedestrians alike as to the use of crosswalks, schools zones, speed limits, etc . . . Here is a link to read Section 316.130, Florida Statutes – Pedestrians and Traffic Regulations has the applicable rules and regulations for crosswalks.

Beach Personal Injury.001In the State of Florida, there are beaches on both coast from Key West to Jacksonville to Tampa and across the state to Pensacola.  For most beach goers, the days are filled with wonderful scenes, the surf, and family fun.  Unfortunately for some pedestrians and beach goers, the beach is the scene of a personal injury caused by the negligence with of a driver.  Many beaches have both pedestrian traffic and vehicular traffic.  It is important for all drivers to proceed with due caution when driving on a beach because there are pedestrians, sun bathers, and, yes, teens and children in the area.  Many such incidents or accidents could be avoided with safer driving and / or more restrictions on beach driving.
During Mother’s Day Weekend – May 2016, two teens were hit by a Park Ranger with Atlantic Beach, Florida on Atlantic Beach.  The two girls were laying on the sand when they were hit by the vehicle.  With beach goers laying down, it is difficult to see them but this is all the more reason to drive extremely slow and careful when operating a motor vehicle on the beach.  First Coast News and other media outlets reported that the Park Ranger was at fault and will be issued a citation.
If a pedestrian or beach goer is struck by a vehicle while on the beach, the injured pedestrian or beach goer has legal rights to pursue compensation for medical bills, medical treatment, pain and suffering, mental anguish and the loss of the enjoyment of life.  Compensation is not necessarily automatic or guaranteed.  Each potential case should be evaluated on its own facts and merits.  It should be noted that cases or claims against government entities and its employees are handled differently by both practice and procedure.  There are formal notices that are required.  Furthermore, there are limitations of recovery on personal injury cases against government entities.  There are essentially four elements of a personal injury case:  1. Duty; 2. Breach of Duty; 3. Causation; and 4. Damages.  It should be noted that the results on ones case do not necessarily control the results on a similar case.  For instance, let’s say that a person is speeding through a school zone and hits a 6 year old waiting for the school bus.  The 6 year old suffered some minor abrasions but was otherwise fine.  This case certainly has some merit or value. Let’s change the facts a bit and say that the child suffered a broken leg, broken arm, and a serious traumatic brain injury.  While the circumstances surrounding the pedestrian accident were similar, the injuries and value are quite different.

Pedestrian Crossing Sign - Child InjuryIn the State of Florida, the law classifies a motor vehicle as a dangerous instrumentality.  As such, the owner of a vehicle is liable for the negligent driving of the driver under the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine.  This same set of laws makes a company liable for the driving of an employee given permission to drive a company vehicle.  In the State of Florida and other States, there is a danger that exists in every community.  Negligent driving in the form of distracted driving leads to far too many crashes and accidents which cause injuries to children and even the wrongful death of children.  Distracted driving presents itself in different forms forms including but not limited to mobile phone use, texting, e-mailing, reading e-mails or texts, eating, drinking, smoking, dropping items, picking up items, etc. . . . Any action that takes away from the job at hand – driving the motor vehicle – can be classified as distracted driving.

In Hernando County, Florida, it was recently reported that a child pedestrian died when the child was struck by a motor vehicle.  It was reported that the driver of a Jaguar got distracted after dropping a cigarette while operating the motor vehicle.  Since a death resulted form a motor vehicle type of accident, the Florida Highway Patrol will complete a full investigation and later release a report as to its findings including the estimated speed of the vehicle, distance measurements, fault, and preventability of the incident.

The death of a child due to the negligence of others is a tragedy.  A young life ended way too early from an event or incident that was preventable.  Certainly, accidents happen.  However, it is truly a shame when a child dies from an automobile, bicycle, or pedestrian accident through no fault of the child or her parents.  As parents, we work tirelessly through each day with the goals of providing for our children, of protecting for our children, and, yes, of keeping our children safe.

Pedestrian Crossing Sign - Child SafetyWhen a child or adult is injured as a result of a Florida Automobile Accident, there are many challenges presented including but not limited to the payment of medical bills.   Let’s say that a child or an adult is walking across the street and then is hit by a driver who was not paying attention.  The injured pedestrian suffered a fractured leg and other injuries.  The driver was 100 % at fault for the crash as a result of looking down at a text message as the driver approached a red light.  Under this fact scenario, one would assume that the at-fault driver would be liable or on the hook for all of the medical bills and related damages.  Under Florida law, this is not the case if the injured pedestrian owned a vehicle OR if the injured pedestrian resided with a relative who owned a vehicle.  PIP (Personal Injury Protection) under a Florida Automobile Insurance Policy may end up covering the medical bills for the injured pedestrian.

Let’s bring up a few more facts to illustrate how this works. Let’s say that the injured pedestrian is a twelve year old boy named Johnny who resides with his mother Mary Jones.  At the time of the pedestrian accident, Mary Jones owned a vehicle that was insured with GEICO Insurance.  The at-fault driver was insured through State Farm Insurance.  Even though the vehicle of Mary Jones was no where near the crash site where the pedestrian was injured, GEICO – the insurance company for Mary Jones – will most likely pay the medical bills of Johnny Jones, the twelve year old injured pedestrian.  Under some circumstances, a pedestrian can qualify for PIP coverage for the at-fault driver IF AND ONLY IF the injured pedestrian did not own a vehicle AND if the injured pedestrian did not resident with a resident relative who owned a vehicle and had insurance on the vehicle.

Certainly, there are a host of challenges in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident when a child or adult suffered personal injuries. The payment or responsibility for the payment of the medical bills is just one piece of a complicated puzzle.  It is important for the injury victim and the family to retain the services of a Florida Personal Injury Attorney to get guidance, advice, and, yes, legal representation to get through these tough and confusing issues.

School Bus Stop Sign.001In Florida and other states, school bus stop areas are busy during the morning and afternoon areas.   Some school bus stops are well marked with signage, flashing lights, and crosswalks while other bus stops are not as well set up or equippped.  If a driver knows of a school bus stop by signage, lights, and / or by a general knowledge of the area, it is important for drivers to slow down and be on the watch for children at the school bus stop area or walking to or walking away from the school bus stop area.

Unfortunately and tragically, children continue to suffer injuries and even die as a result of pedestrian / automobile accident incidents in and around school bus stop areas.  Florida has adopted a number of legal concepts that may apply to personal injuries suffered by a child pedestrian in or near school bus stop areas.  A child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held negligent for his or her own actions as a matter of law.  For children 6 years of age and older, the conduct of the child is evaluated / considered based on the age and maturity of the child as well as the facts and circumstances surrounding the pedestrian / automobile accidents.  In addition, Florida has comparative fault when evaluating the liability or responsibility for pedestrian and automobile accidents.  In other words, there may be negligence on behalf of the child 6 or older which does not prevent the right to pursue a cause of action for injuries or death to the child. For instance, if is determined that a child is 25 % at fault for an accident, then the child and / or the family of the child would be entitled to recover 75 % of the damages associated with the injuries / death.  The negligence of the child pedestrian is not a bar to recovery in the State of Florida.

A tragedy was recently reported in Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida.  New 4 Jax and other media outlets reported that Kymora Christian, a 7 year old girl, died while walking to her Palm Coast school bus stop for Wadsworth Elementary School. It was reported that there was no crosswalk in the area.  In Flagler County and other Florida counties, some school bus stops have crosswalks and some do not.  This makes it even more important for drivers in and near the school bus stop area to slow down especially during drop off and pick up times.  The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the accident that involved a SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle).  Since a death resulted from a vehicular accident in the State of Florida, a full investigation as to speed, preventability, and other factors will be conducted and reported by the Florida Highway Patrol. You can read more about this tragic incident at Florida Highway Patrol – 7 Year Old Girl Killed at School Bus Stop – Flagler County – Palm Coast, Florida.

Vehicle - Large SUV OrangeHit and run accidents are unfortunately part of every community. There are drivers who carelessly cause accidents and injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles and then simply flee the scene.  Some are caught in the act or thereafter. Others are never located.  For those who are located, there can be both criminal and civil law consequences to these actions.   For many of these hit and run accidents, the at-fault driver lacks insurance OR lacks good insurance to cover the accident related personal injuries, bills, and damages.  If there is no insurance or just minimal insurance, there are other sources of compensation to accident / injury victims in the State of Florida as follows:
Victim of Crimes Compensation Fund.  An injury victim can claim up to $10,000 through a fund set up through the State of Florida. The process can be started through the local sheriff’s office or the local state attorney’s office. 
PIP (Personal Injury Protection).   The injury victim can utilize available PIP benefits under a vehicle owned by the victim or owned by a resident relative of a victim.   If a parent has an automobile insurance policy, the medical bills for the injured child can be processed under the parents’ PIP insurance policy even if the child was injured as  pedestrian or a bicyclist.

Pedestrian Crossing Sign - Child SafetyIn the State of Florida, there are duties on the part of the pedestrian and duties on the part of the driver.  Florida has adopted a comparative fault set of laws.  This means that a pedestrian can pursue a case or cause of action even if the pedestrian was partially at fault.   Furthermore, there still can a cae or claim pursued on behalf of an injured child pedestrian or the family of a child pedestrian who died as a result of the pedestrian / automobile accident.  Of course, pedestrians should only cross in crosswalks and when the pedestrian signal is green and it is otherwise clear and safe to cross the street; however, in life, this does not always happen.  If a driver sees a pedestrian cross the street, the driver should do everyhing within his or her abilitiies to try to avoid hitting and / or running over the pedestrian.  Just because a pedestrian is jaywalking or otherwise cross at a place and time when it is unsafe to, there are still duties and responsibilities on the part of the driver to slow down and when necessary – take evasive action.
If a child is injured as a result of the negligent or careless driving of another person, a case or claim can be pursued for the following types of damages:
Past Medical Bills;