An 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 one.’”
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 “incapacitating injuries.”
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:
A pedestrian has a duty to exercise reasonable care as well.
Some of the most common factors of pedestrian negligence include:
Though the 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, section316.130. 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.