Pedestrian Hit Crossing Massachusetts Ave. in Lakeland

Wrongful Death

Terry Joe Young died of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident on Massachusetts Avenue in Lakeland, Florida on January 31, 2017.  The accident happened at approximately 6:07 a.m. when Young was hit by Margaret Bowman going southbound on Massachusetts Ave.  Bowman was driving a 2017 Kia Forte and claims that she did not see Young as she was driving down the street.  Young had been walking diagonally and was not in a crosswalk at the time of the impact.  No citation was issued by Lakeland Police Department.

Driver Not Completely Off The Hook

While Bowman was not cited for the accident, she may not be completely off the hook.  While Young was not in a marked crosswalk and was crossing diagonally, this only provides her with a defense in civil court that she is not completely responsible for Young’s death.  The reason for this is because Florida is a comparative fault jurisdiction and Bowman had a duty under Florida jurisprudence to keep a proper lookout on the roadway.

The argument goes that Bowman could have either stopped to avoid a collision or could have slowed down enough to where Young’s injuries would not have been fatal if she had been paying full attention to the roadway.  The area of Massachusetts Ave. where the accident occurred does have street lights.  In combination with the car’s headlights, the total lighting in the area even at 6 a.m. should have been enough to show a pedestrian, even if that pedestrian is breaking the rules.

How Does Florida Insurance Cover A Wrongful Death Claim?

The family of Young may bring a lawsuit against Bowman for his wrongful death and the incident should be covered by at least two types of insurance coverage on an automobile policy.  The first coverage to be involved is Florida no-fault coverage. There is a $5,000 death benefit that can be paid by Young’s automobile policy (if he has one).  If Young does not have his own automobile policy (and is not otherwise disqualified for coverage such as for registering a vehicle but failing to carry insurance on it), then Bowman’s automobile policy will provide coverage for the death benefit.

The second type of coverage involved is bodily injury liability coverage.  Oddly, Florida does not require that drivers carry bodily injury liability coverage unlike a majority of other states.  Regardless of whether it is required or not, more than half of all Florida drivers have bodily injury liability coverage on their policy for an accident.  This coverage will pay damages to Young’s estate (upon a finding of liability) and will provide Bowman with a defense should her insurance company contend that she has no degree of liability for this accident.

How Comparative Fault Works In Florida Courts

Florida has codified its comparative fault into section 768.81, Fla. Stat.  As such, each party to a lawsuit who is found by the jury to have any degree of fault is responsible to pay for just their share of the damages.  For example, if Bowman is found to be 50% at fault for the accident but the damages are $500,000, then Bowman will be responsible to pay for $250,000 of the judgment.

Call a Lakeland Car Accident To Talk About Your Case

If you have a loved one who was lost because of a car accident in Lakeland, you should contact a Lakeland wrongful death attorney to discuss your case.  An no-obligation appointment with an attorney at Russo, P.A. is free.


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January 31, 2017