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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Dual Fatal Pedestrian Crash in Auburndale


A teen driver fatally struck two pedestrians who were crossing a well-lit road on a dark night.

The wreck occurred near the intersection of Berkley Road and Marjorie Avenue. According to police and witnesses, a 17-year-old Winter Haven woman was southbound on Berkley when she struck a 34-year-old and a 43-year-old woman. First responders were unable to revive the unconscious victims, who were declared dead at the scene.

No charges are pending against the unnamed driver.

First Party Liability in Tampa Pedestrian Accidents

Speed is a contributing factor in a number of vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, and it is even more of a factor in vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions. Steel cages and multiple restraint systems protect vehicle occupants. But pedestrians literally only have the clothes on their backs. When a fast-moving, 4,000-pound car hits a slow-moving, 200-pound person, the results are almost always tragic.

The statistics bear out this reality. If the impact speed is less than 30mph, the pedestrian fatality rate is less than 10 percent. But if the impact speed is more than 40mph, the pedestrian fatality rate skyrockets to 90 percent.

Furthermore, the facts are usually difficult to determine in a no-witnesses fatality. The tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) version of events may not necessarily be 100 percent accurate. And, since the victims died, reporting officers only heard one side of the story.

Wrongful death damages are often very high in Florida. But the covered items are a bit different. Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, these plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for:

  • The victim’s pain and suffering related to his/her final illness or injury,
  • Direct economic losses, such as burial expenses and final illness/injury medical bills,
  • Indirect economic losses, such as lost future financial support, and
  • Some noneconomic losses, such as future loss of consortium (companionship).

If the wrongful death plaintiff was a parent of a deceased child, they may also recover compensation for their own grief and suffering.

To calculate future economic losses, a personal injury attorney usually partners with an accountant or other financial professional. No amount of money can completely compensate for the loss of a life. But money can at least assuage the grief that the family members feel.

Third Party Liability in Florida Pedestrian-Auto Crashes

Especially in a double wrongful death case, the damages may be quite high. Sometimes, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) does not have enough insurance coverage to make good on all these losses. Fortunately, Florida has extremely broad vicarious liability rules. These rules give victim/plaintiffs additional sources of recovery in catastrophic injury cases.

People under eighteen cannot own property. So, when a minor causes a car crash, some form of the negligent entrustment doctrine usually applies. In general, this rule holds owners liable for damages if they knowingly allow incompetent persons to borrow their property. Incompetency comes in many forms, including:

  • No driver’s license,
  • Safety-suspended driver’s license,
  • A poor driving record that includes one or more at-fault accidents,
  • Driving in violation of restrictions (g. driving without required eyeglasses), and
  • Inexperienced driving (g. first time driving at night or first time driving a large SUV).

Florida courts employ the family purpose doctrine. If parents allow their children to borrow the family car, their relationship is a little like employer and employee. So, it is a little easier to establish negligence in these cases.

Contact Tenacious Lawyers

Pedestrian accidents usually cause extremely serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.

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