On May 2, 2016, a 17-year-old pupil was running across a road to get to a bus stop when he was struck by a vehicle in Lakeland, Florida. The stretch of road, along Clubhouse Road near the entrance to the Summerland Hills, a gated community, has been the site of deadly pedestrian crashes in the past.
It was dark outside at 6:18 a.m. when the pupil was crossing the road and was hit by a 60-year-old crossing guard supervisor who was driving a marked cruiser. The George Jenkins High School pupil was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where he died of his injuries. The student is the third pedestrian to be killed along the roadway since 2014, which is causing Polk County authorities to review this expanse of road. The Polk County School’s Transportation Department is, in addition, reviewing the bus stop location.
Who is a Pedestrian Under Florida law?
Under Florida Statute 316.003(28), anyone on foot is a pedestrian. However, there must be some kind of movement or motion. Someone working on their stalled automobile, for example, is not considered to be a pedestrian under Florida law.
Gainesville Right of Way Laws
In Florida, people walking and those driving vehicles along that road are considered to have equal rights to use the roadway and vehicle, and pedestrians are considered to have an obligation to value the other’s right of way. Both pedestrians and motorists are required, consequently, to exercise reasonable care while walking or driving.
As an overall rule of law, motorists and pedestrians have a mutual right to use all public roads in Florida. Motorists are not always 100% legally responsible for damages in all pedestrian injuries. Specific laws that apply to pedestrians limit the general legal rule of equal rights to the roadway. There are also laws that define the duties of drivers to those who are walking on the road. Things like the time of day or night; the manner in which the pedestrian is walking versus running; and the age of the pedestrian (children are treated differently under the law) are all variables in pedestrian injury claims.
Legal Claims After a Vehicle/Pedestrian Collision
In Florida, every man who uses a motor vehicle of any type including a car, minivan, truck, commercial vehicle, big rig, SUV, or bike, must exercise “normal, reasonable, or due caution” toward Florida pedestrians. This includes consideration of the skill of the pedestrian, or their lack of skill, to exercise care for her or his own safety on the road. If the driver is negligent and hits the pedestrian with a vehicle, then the driver may be liable to the pedestrian for all allowable damages in a Florida personal injury claim. In those unfortunate instances where the pedestrian is killed after being struck by a vehicle, the motorist may be liable for wrongful death in a claim brought by the pedestrian’s family.
A motorist who hits someone walking on a Florida roadway may also face criminal liability for the damage that’s suffered by the victim.
Contact a Gainesville Personal Injury Attorney
If a loved one is killed after being hit by a vehicle while walking, or if you or a relative are injured in a vehicle/pedestrian injury, it is important to speak to a Gainesville personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The skilled lawyers at Meldon Law are ready to speak to you today to assess your case. Call our office today for a free consultation at (352) 373-8000 or (800) 373-8000 or use our online form.
Gainesville, FL 32601