Orlando Sentinel investigation of 54 criminal driving cases for pedestrian accidents in
Orange, Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties found that the driver usually
received little or no jail time.
“The sentences are horrendous,” pedestrian advocate Jamie McWilliams,
52, of Ocoee, who lost son Justin in a 2002
hit-and-run pedestrian crash told the
Orlando Sentinel. She successfully lobbied the Florida Legislature in 2006 for a tougher
law, the Justin McWilliams Act, which stiffened penalties for hit-and-run.
“It really screams, ‘We don’t care about your loved
From 2007 through 2012, 5,700 pedestrians have been struck in Orange, Osceola,
Seminole and Lake counties, including 333 who were killed and 889 who
suffered what police call
In the vast majority involving deaths or incapacitating injuries, pedestrians
were found at fault: They walked into traffic, but in one of every five
cases, police thought the drivers were at least partially at fault, according to the
Orlando Sentinel review.
Florida is a comparative negligence state where the jury has to balance
issues of driver and pedestrian liability in deciding a case.
Generally drivers of a motor vehicle have a duty to exercise reasonable
care in the operation of the vehicle, and failure to do so is considered
negligence. Some common factors of driver negligence are:
- Failure to yield at marked cross walks
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
A pedestrian has a duty to exercise reasonable care as well.
Some of the most common factors of pedestrian negligence include:
- Ignoring a “Do Not Walk” signal at an intersection
- Jay walking
- Darting out in front of a vehicle
- Failing to use a marked cross walk
Orlando Sentinel article showed that criminal charges tend to be weak, victims may pursue
the maximum compensatory and punitive damages in a personal injury or
wrongful death civil suit to help recover from their injuries. Pedestrian
traffic regulations are laid out in Florida Statutes, section
316.130. If you or someone you know has been injured due to a negligent driver,
an experienced personal injury law firm like Vanguard Attorneys can help
protect your rights.
Contact us for a free case evaluation.