Eleven-year old Qua Yona Edwards got off her school bus one afternoon, but never made it home. She was struck and killed by a driver while taking her usual route home from her bus stop, which involved crossing five lanes on Haverhill Road. The driver, 60-year old Frank Jasmin, said that he did not see Qua Yona crossing the road.

As a result of her death, the Palm Beach County School District added a new school bus stop near the intersection. This horrible tragedy brings to light the need for more proactive safety approaches by school districts in Florida to protect pedestrian students. It also begs the question: should the school district be held partially accountable for Qua Yona’s death since they failed to provide a safe bus stop for her in the first place?

Frequently Asked Questions About Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are some of the most devastating and dangerous collisions on the road. With no structural protection or safety equipment worn, pedestrians struck by automobiles are highly susceptible to serious injury and death.

Who is at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?
Typically the driver that struck the pedestrian is assumed to be at fault. Claims against such drivers will usually be against their liability insurance provider. Other parties may be held partially responsible as well, such as other drivers who contributed to the accident or third parties that directly created a dangerous condition leading to the accident.

Can Pedestrians Be At Fault for the Accident Too?
Yes. Pedestrians may not have had the right-of-way to cross the street when they did. For the “jaywalking” pedestrian there may be shared fault.  Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that a pedestrian’s recovery may be limited by whatever percentage they are deemed at fault.

So if a court finds that a pedestrian ran across the road to beat the light before being struck by a turning car, they may determine the pedestrian’s actions contributed to 50% of the fault for the accident. If the pedestrian won a judgment of $100,000 it would then be reduced by the amount of their fault to $50,000.

Are Florida Roads More Dangerous Than Other States?
Yes. According to data collected by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Florida had one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths per resident population in the United States. In the first half of 2014 there were 292 pedestrian fatalities in Florida.

Why Are There So Many Pedestrian Deaths in Florida?

In the study cited above, just four states accounted for 43% of all pedestrian deaths in 2013, with Florida being on the top of the list. The common causes of pedestrian deaths include:

  • Densely populated roads with drivers refusing to yield to each other.
  • Distracted drivers, drunk drivers and reckless drivers.
  • Drivers in violation of local speed laws.

The study suggested that increased pedestrian deaths in recent years could be due to the economic recession forcing more people to walk than drive. Another reason given is that warmer weather states like Florida and California have more pedestrians year-round than other states.

Pedestrian Accident Victims Should Consult a Skilled Florida Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been in a pedestrian accident then you should contact a skilled Florida accident lawyer immediately. The state of Florida has many laws designed to protect pedestrians, but the insurance companies want to save money by blaming you. Don’t let them: you have a legal right to claim compensation for your injuries. Contact the law firm of  Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath and get your free consultation today.  If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS  (1-800- 474-4487)  We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.