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Florida Pedestrian Accident: New Graduate On Senior Trip Fatally Struck

In late May 2014, a Louisiana teen on his senior trip was fatally struck by an SUV on a Panama City Beach, Florida, sidewalk. The 17-year-old honor student was reportedly walking back to his hotel around midnight when the vehicle, driven by a 50-year-old woman, hit a pole and then him.

She is facing criminal charges after law enforcement found Xanax in her car, although allegedly neither drugs nor alcohol have been named as causes of the car accident, according to the Daily Comet. The fatal crash is still under investigation.

This tragic incident illustrates the dangers of mixing vehicles and pedestrians in a tourist area. Bay County is attractive to tourists of all ages, with its pristine beaches, outdoor recreation and art galleries. Unfortunately, in the bustle of a vacation area, pedestrians can be the victims of negligent or reckless drivers, sometimes caught up in partying involving alcohol or drugs.

Pedestrian Accidents By The Numbers

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 2012 statewide statistics:

  • Vehicle-pedestrian accidents: 8,258
  • Pedestrians killed: 473
  • Pedestrians injured: 7,413
  • Highest numbers of pedestrians struck by age: the ranges of 45 to 54 and 25 to 34
  • Female pedestrians injured and killed: 2,959 and 138
  • Male pedestrians injured and killed: 4,196 and 322
  • Bay County pedestrian crashes: 97
  • Bay County pedestrian deaths: 8
  • Bay County pedestrian injuries: 76

Pedestrian Accident Causes

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the factors that contribute to pedestrian accidents fall into four categories:

  • Pedestrian behavior (misperception of risk, alcohol, busy environment, ignorance of law and more)
  • Driver and vehicle attributes (misperception of risk, alcohol use, cellphone use, speed, traffic, vehicle type)
  • Physical environment (missing or insufficient sidewalks, street width, crossing signal lacking or insufficient and more)
  • Special conditions (weather, construction, attractions, limited mobility and more)

In addition, the California Journal of Emergency Medicine reports that pedestrians in accidents can sustain serious injuries that include trauma to the head, leg, pelvis, neck, chest and abdomen; and that factors increasing the risk of pedestrian collisions include:

  • Evening hours
  • Driver or pedestrian alcohol or drug use
  • Urban settings
  • Nonintersection settings
  • Speeding
  • Pedestrian ignorance of safety practices
  • Young or old age
  • Economic disadvantage
  • Ethnic minority status
  • And more

Florida Pedestrian-Crash Victims Should Seek Local Legal Counsel

Any Florida pedestrian — resident or tourist — injured by a vehicle will benefit greatly from the advice and representation of an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. A skilled motor-vehicle lawyer can launch a vigorous investigation of the incident while evidence still exists and witness' memories are fresh. Legal counsel will also know how to deal effectively with the involved insurance company.

Potential legal remedies include a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence or recklessness, or in fatal cases, a wrongful death action.