A person died in a recent Orlando area car versus pedestrian accident. According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), a 57 year old male from Kissimmee, Florida was driving west on US Highway 192 at around 10:00 pm when a 51 year old male, also from Kissimmee, tried crossing the highway at the intersection of Old Vineland Road. The pedestrian walked directly into the path of the oncoming 2005 Nissan and was hit. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Although the accident remains under investigation by the FHP, at this point there is no indication that the driver was at fault. This is important as the issue of who is at fault will determine whether or not the surviving family of the pedestrian will be able to seek damages under Florida’s wrongful death statute. The wrongful death statute allows those family members who were dependent on the deceased for income and care (i.e., spouse, children) to file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident in order to be compensated for their losses. However, in order to have standing to file such a law suit, they must first be able to show that the (in this case) driver was at fault.
If the driver had been speeding, driving under the influence or driving while distracted, then he could be found negligent – or at fault. However, based on the facts provided, it is very likely that the driver’s level of fault would be limited by the fault of the pedestrian. In other words, part of the reason the accident happened is that the pedestrian crossed the highway in front of the oncoming car and not at a marked pedestrian crossing. This act contributed to his death and thus the driver cannot be held entirely at fault.
This concept is called contributory negligence and can significantly reduce the amount of damages one receives. For instance, let’s say the driver was speeding. In the case at hand, there is a good chance that the jury could find that the pedestrians actions were 99% of the reason he died. So, if the pedestrian’s family were awarded $100,000 in damages, this would be reduced by the level of the pedestrian’s contribution to his death, leaving the family with $1,000.00 in damages.
To learn more about Florida’s personal injury law, contributory negligence statute and wrongful death statute, 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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