Lakeland Man Attempting To Flag Down Drivers Gets Hit

Car Accidents

Jonathan Riley, 31-years-old, pulled over into the bicycle lane of US 98 South in Lakeland, Florida on April 17, 2017 and attempted to flag down other drivers when he was hit by another car.  The accident happened at approximately 2:45 a.m. when Melissa Corbin claims that she was unable to react in time to avoid hitting Mr. Riley.  Riley was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center in critical condition.

Factual Assumptions

I have to assume that the reason why Mr. Riley pulled over and attempted to flag down someone else is because his car broken down and he didn’t have a cell phone with him.  Otherwise, he likely would have just called police or a tow truck rather than get out of his and try to flag someone down in the middle of the night.  While there is no mention of hazard signal lights in the news, a driver who sustains a mechanical breakdown and pulls over into the bicycle lane of a highway is required to use flashing hazards signals.

Legal Responsibility

Based on those assumptions, Riley likely bears some degree of responsibility for getting hit as he did because he entered the roadway and put himself in harm’s way.  US98S is a busy road during the day as well as at night.  Riley likely would not have been broken down in that location all night without help.  Therefore, going into the roadway in hopes of flagging someone else down wasn’t his best course of action.

However, once Riley is in the roadway, presumably waiving his arms for attention, any driver headed down that stretch of roadway who is paying attention should be able to see him.  There was no fog or other factor that would have prevented Riley from being seen.  Any driver who sees a person in the roadway has a legal obligation to avoid striking a pedestrian even if the pedestrian is not obeying the law (see section 316.130(15)).

Therefore, Ms. Corbin likely bears the majority of legal responsibility for this accident because there is not a justifiable reason why she should not have been able to see Mr. Riley and avoid him under the circumstances.  Perhaps Ms. Corbin was exhausted or distracted.  Regardless, the failure to avoid a pedestrian in the roadway where it is possible to avoid a collision is considered “negligence” in Florida car accident cases and the driver can be held legally responsible for the accident.

Insurance Likely Limited

As with many car accident cases where there is a serious injury, the amount of insurance that the driver has to cover the accident is seldom enough to cover all of the damages of the person injured.  In this particular case, Mr. Riley can expect to have a six-figure medical bill for which he likely does not have the ability to pay.  Likewise, even payment of Ms. Corbin’s policy limits are probably not enough to cover the medical bills.  So what happens there?

This is where a Lakeland personal injury attorney can help.  Hiring an attorney in a case such as this may or may not result in the payment of a bigger settlement amount, however, having a personal injury attorney working for you can minimize the amounts that you have to re-pay from a personal injury settlement.

Contact A Lakeland Personal Injury Attorney For Help With Your Case

If you need help with your Lakeland car accident or personal injury case, you should contact a Lakeland personal injury attorney to discuss what can be done with your case.  Each case is different as the facts and circumstances are different.  An appointment with an attorney is free to discuss your case.



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April 17, 2017