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Orlando Hit and Run Provides Insight on Contributory Negligence

The Florida Highway Patrol believes they have identified the type of car involved in a prior hit and run incident that left an Orlando man dead last week. According to FHP troopers, they are seeking a 2009 Infiniti FX35 SUV that, based on the accident analysis, is significantly damaged in the front.

The search follows an Orlando automobile accident that left a 60 year old Orlando man dead. The accident happened near Orange County’s Pine Hills neighborhood at 11:15 pm at the intersection of West Colonial Drive and North Hiawassee. According the accident report, the Infiniti SUV was heading west on West Colonial Drive when it hit the man when he walked directly into the vehicle’s path. Based on witness reports, the SUV was driven by a female, who briefly stopped after hitting the pedestrian, before driving away. Witnesses also report having seen at least three passengers get out of the SUV after the crash to look at the vehicle, although it doesn’t seem that they even looked at the victim.

The victim was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

As FHP troopers correctly point out, had the driver stayed and, assuming they had a valid license and were not driving under the influence, they would likely not be facing any charges. This is because, based on witness accounts, they were not speeding or driving recklessly, and it was the pedestrian who negligently walked out in front of the oncoming vehicle. But, as one trooper told a local news station: “just for leaving, whether you’re at fault or not, you’re going to be charged with that first-degree felony, you’re going to be doing a minimum of four years in prison and a max of 30, even if you’re not at fault in the crash.”

Although the key takeaway here is that one should always stop whenever involved in an accident, it also highlights the role that contributory negligence plays in determining liability. Contributory negligence is a way the law characterizes conduct that creates an unreasonable risk to one’s self. When a person does not act in a reasonable way, such as the victim in this particular scenario, than that person may be held entirely or partially responsible for the resulting injury, even when another party was involved in the accident. For example, if the victim had not been killed and he filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, the driver could assert contributory negligence, arguing that the injury occurred, at least in part, as a result of the pedestrian’s own actions. If proved, this would then block the pedestrian’s ability to recover damages from the driver.

To learn more about contributory negligence, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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