One person died and two others were seriously injured overnight Saturday and early Sunday morning, March 17, 2019. St. Petersburg Police responded to a call that a 74-year-old man was injured in a crosswalk at 28th Street N near Central Avenue about 8:30 p.m. The man was taken to the hospital in serious condition and police arrested the driver of a Ford F-150 that had fled the scene.
Then around 1:20 a.m. in Seminole, a driver in a Mazda hit a 41-year-old man who was crossing Starkey Road near the intersection of Park Boulevard. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office, the pedestrian died of his injuries. The man reportedly did not use a crosswalk and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The third accident happened near downtown St. Petersburg, around 2:30 a.m. where hundreds had gathered to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. A 34-year-old man was hit by a Chevy Impala at 4th Street South and 3rd Avenue. The St. Petersburg police said that the victims suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to Bayfront Hospital.
Who’s at Fault When a Pedestrian is Hit Crossing the Street?
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 5,000 pedestrians die each year in auto accidents with the vast majority of them having died trying to cross a street. Since generally speaking, roads are made primarily for motorized vehicles, and outside of crosswalks, vehicles have the right-of-way, many feel that when a pedestrian is stuck by a car, the pedestrian is likely at fault.
There is support for this idea as the NHTSA also reports that out of all street crossing deaths by pedestrians, only 600 a year happen while the pedestrian was inside a crosswalk.
This means that when pedestrians properly use a crosswalk, motorists are less likely to hit them. However, this doesn’t mean that any time a pedestrian is crossing a street and is hit by a car outside a crosswalk, it’s the fault of the pedestrian.
Motorists and Pedestrians are to use Due Caution
The bottom line is that before a motorist or pedestrian is going to be found negligent, the other side must prove that they didn’t use the proper care under the cirmcustances. It works like this: a pedestrian injured crossing the street needs to prove that the driver of the vehicle that hit the pedestrian was negligent. This means that the person failed to use the care and caution that was due the pedestrian under the circumstances.
To determine due caution, the court will look to see if the driver acted using the level of due care that other drivers would use in a similar circumstance. If the driver did, then he or she wasn’t negligent. However, if the driver didn’t, then he acted negligently.
Next the court looks at whether the victim was negligent. If they find he or she was, then this could either defeat the claim or reduce the amount of compensation awarded. For this, the court will look at whether the pedestrian acted using the same care and caution that other pedestrians would use in similar circumstances.
This means that if a pedestrian is hit, whether outside or inside a crosswalk, liability isn’t automatically assumed on the part of the driver or the pedestrian, rather it will look at the actions of each considering the circumstances.
What if I’m Injured Crossing the Street?
If you are in an accident as a pedestrian, don’t assume that it’s your fault even if you were in the road and didn’t have the right-of-way. The insurance company will tell you that it was your fault, and the driver shouldn’t have to pay.
However, talk to someone who will tell you the law. Talk to an attorney who can evaluate your case and then get you compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer
After any crash involving a serious injury or a fatality you should speak to an attorney. If you or a loved one was in a crash similar to these, contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head on!” We describe our bold modern approach to “Accident & Personal Injury Law” and “Our Personal Mission” to empower Florida’s families to “Take Charge!”