In 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.