One of the crucial problems in assessing liability for pedestrian accidents is the fact that the vehicle driver frequently leaves the scene of the accident and travels far enough that arrest and identification are often very difficult. The opposite outcome occurred after a fatal accident at the intersection of West Hillsborough Avenue and Sawyer Road.
The victim, a 46-year-old woman from Tampa, was attempting to cross Hillsborough Avenue when she walked into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The car struck the woman, who apparently died instantly. According to witnesses, the vehicle sped away from the scene with the victim’s body draped over its hood. Troopers said that the driver stopped about one mile from the crash scene, and disposed of the body. Shortly after the suspect disposed of the victim’s body, he was spotted by deputies at Monte Vista Place and Alvarado Drive. He was arrested and later taken to the Hillsborough County Jail. He has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death. The driver suffered no injuries.
This accident obviously involves potential liability, but for the purposes of this blog, the central question is whether the family of the deceased woman can establish facts necessary to establish a claim of wrongful death. Florida laws define a wrongful death as a death that is caused by the negligence of another person and the injured person would have been able to recover damages if that person had not been killed by the defendant’s negligence. In this case, the decedent’s family would be required to prove that the driver of the vehicle that struck her was negligent in some fashion. The most obvious avenues of proving negligence is to prove that the driver was speeding or was inattentive.
Anyone who loses a loved one to the negligent act of another may wish to pursue a wrongful death claim against the person or party whose negligence caused the death. The advice of an experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable because a knowledgeable lawyer can evaluate the evidence and provide an opinion about the likelihood of recovering damages.