What if a Child is Injured or Killed as a Pedestrian? What are the Rights of the Child and Family in Florida?
In Florida, we have a climate that essentially allows us to be outside virtually every day. Because of this, there are children pedestrians on or near the streets every day of the year. Drivers should be on the look out for both children and adult pedestrians especially in and around schools, neighborhoods, and other areas where they are. While traffic lights, flashing signs, crossing guards, and crosswalks are all nice to have in place, a pedestrian may be on or near the roadway in other areas as well. Yes, it would be a wonderful and safer world with crossing guards at every intersection - day and night - where a child may be walking. However, this is not realistic. While many pedestrian accidents and injuries take place in the street, some even take place when a driver negligently or for some other reason drives off the side of the road and into a sidewalk or even a building. While one may assume that the sidewalk is a place a safety, accidents and injuries can still take place even when a pedestrian - child or adult - is merely walking down a sidewalk in a residential, rural, or commercial area.
When a child is injured as a pedestrian, there are often many challenges facing both the child and the parent doing his or her best to care for and provide for the child who has been seriously injured. Regarding incidents in which the child dies as a result of the injuries, there is unimaginable heartbreak for the parents, rest of the family, and the community. At these times, it is important for parents to have support of family and friends. At some point in time, a parent or concerned family member may end up reaching out to a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice as to the rights of the child and parents in the aftermath of a child injury.
David Wolf is a Florida Child Injury Lawyer with over 23 years of experience. He is active in the community and donates a good bit of his time to organizations like the Jacksonville Jewish Community Alliance where he serves as treasurer and Creeks Athletic Association Soccer where he serves as secretary. The safety and well being of children have always been a priority for Wolf. Seeing a need for parents to have some information in the aftermath of an accident or injury, Wolf has authored four books focusing on child injuries. Three such books provide information to parents when there has been an automobile, bicycle, or pedestrian accident. You can get these books for free at:
- The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Should Know;
- When the Wheels Stop Spinning - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Parents Need to Know After the Accident; and
- When a Parent's World Goes from Full to Empty - The Wrongful Death of a Child - What You Need to Know About the Florida Wrongful Death Act.
A recent child pedestrian accident was reported in Lake Worth, Florida when a 3 year old girl was struck by a driver who lost control of his vehicle. The child was taking a walk with her baby sitter and was walking on a Palm Beach County Florida sidewalk. You can read more about this story at Three Year Old Girl Fatally Struck by Out-of-Control Pickup Truck During Afternoon Walk with Baby Sitter. According to the news report, the accident is under investigation. Typically, when a serious accident including a death, results from a pedestrian or automobile accident in Florida, there is a full investigation by the local police agency and / or the Florida Highway Patrol. It was reported in the news story that the driver may have suffered a medical condition or episode which was a factor in the accident.
When there is an accident or injury involving a child pedestrian, there are a number of issues or factors that will need to be evaluated to determine the respective rights of the injured child and the family of the injured child including the following:
- Was the accident or incicent preventable?
- Did the driver operate the vehicle in a negligent or careless manner?
- Did the driver have a valid driver's license?
- Did the driver have any medical restrictions on driving?
- Was the driver under the influence of drugs, prescription medication or alcohol?
- Did the owner of the vehicle (if different than the driver) know of any issues that may have prevented or hindered the driver from safely operating the motor vehicle?
- What was the speed limit in the area?
- Were there any actions on the part of the child pedestrian or adult superving the child that caused or contributed to the incident?
It should be noted that all Florida Child Pedestrian Accidents and Incidents should be evaluated on their own merits. Each case and incident will be slightly different and it is important for a parent of an injured child to get advice from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer to better under the rights of the injured child and the applicable Florida laws.