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13-Year Old Palm Bay Student Struck While Crossing The Street


On the morning of December 2, 2021, a 13-year old student was crossing the road at Cogan Drive in Palm Bay when he was struck by a speeding vehicle. The boy had been trying to catch his school bus, which was parked and had its flashing lights on, but a driver ignored the bus’s warnings and collided with the child. As of this writing, the boy is in critical condition at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. If you are ever so unfortunate to be involved in this type of accident, know that you may face a very long recovery time – but it may be possible to file suit against the person who struck you.

Palm Bay Is Dangerous For Pedestrians

The layout of Palm Bay and its surrounding communities has given the area a notorious reputation with regard to pedestrian safety. The urban planning think tank Smart Growth America ranks metropolitan areas each year according to the level of danger in their report, Dangerous By Design – the Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville metro area ranked No. 4 in the United States, while the Orlando/Kissimmee/Sanford area came in at No. 1. This is based primarily on the number of pedestrian fatalities, as well as a “pedestrian danger index” (PDI) that factors in elements like a lack of infrastructure and confusing or misleading road design.

The driver who struck the boy in Palm Bay has been cooperating with the authorities, and has been issued “multiple citations” regarding the incident, though they are apparently aware that further charges may follow. In addition to the state possibly charging the driver with a criminal offense, the boy’s family may decide to file a negligence lawsuit in civil court against them. (This may seem like it infringes on the driver’s right to be free of double jeopardy, but double jeopardy does not apply when one proceeding is criminal and one is civil.)

Filing A Negligence Lawsuit After A Pedestrian Accident

Florida has a no-fault auto insurance system in place, which means that the majority of auto accident cases do not go to trial; rather, injured drivers with minor claims (usually those with under $10,000 in damages) seek to get their bills paid by filing claims on their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Every Florida driver is required to carry at least $10,000 of PIP insurance, as well as $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage, which should be used – at least in theory – to cover minor accident claims.

However, when someone’s injuries are severe enough to put them in critical condition, Florida law permits them to file suit in court under a negligence theory. If a plaintiff is allowed to file suit in court, they can recover not only their economic damages (such as medical bills and car repair costs), but also their non-economic damages (for example, pain and suffering or loss of quality of life). The normal criteria for a negligence lawsuit are to establish that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care toward other road users, and failed to uphold that duty. One must also show that the lack of care was the direct cause of their injuries, with no other intervening cause.

Contact A Tampa Pedestrian Accident Attorney

While hopefully, the boy recovers quickly, the driver may be in for significant legal woes due to their reckless actions. If you or a loved one have been struck by a car in a pedestrian accident, contacting a Tampa pedestrian accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help to demystify the legal process, and hopefully make your options for the future more clear. Call our offices today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.



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