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

SUV Crash Critically Injures Tampa Toddler


A man who was backing out of his driveway struck a 3-year-old boy who was riding a tricycle. The impact sent the boy to the hospital with serious injuries.

The crash occurred in a residential area of Land O’Lakes. According to police and witnesses, the child was riding his tricycle near his home when the SUV backed out of the driveway and struck him. First responders rushed the boy to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The driver, who remained at the scene, may face criminal traffic charges.

None of the names were released.

Speed and Pedestrian Wrecks

Excessive velocity is a factor in about a third of the fatal crashes in Florida. Since bicyclists and pedestrians have almost no protection from oncoming cars, speed is especially important in these cases.

If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is travelling slower than 30mph, the fatality rate is only about 10 percent. But if the tortfeasor is travelling faster than 40mph, the pedestrian fatality rate is about 90 percent.

When an extremely large vehicle, like an SUV, strikes a small child victim, the victim usually suffers extremely serious injuries, even if the vehicle is not travelling much faster than idle speed. Some of these injuries include:

  • Head Injuries: Even if the victim is wearing a helmet, protective headgear usually only guards against fall injuries. It’s almost worthless in a vehicle collision. Head injuries, regardless of severity, are always permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate.
  • Internal Injuries: Internal organs have no protective skin layer. So, when they bump and grind against each other, they often bleed profusely. In fact, by the time emergency responders arrive, many victims are already on the brink of hypovolemic shock.
  • Broken Bones: The force of the collision usually throws the victim into the air. When the victim lands hard, the impact often crushes bones as opposed to simply breaking them. As a result, both surgical correction and post-surgery physical therapy are long, difficult, and painful procedures.

Damages in a pedestrian/bicyclist claim normally include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

To obtain these damages, the victim/plaintiff must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). This negligence could be a lack of ordinary care or, as in the above story, the violation of a criminal safety statute.

Insurance Company Defenses in Bicycle Wrecks

This compensation may be substantial. So, insurance company lawyers often pull out all the stops in an effort to reduce or deny compensation.

The contributory negligence defense may reduce the amount of compensation the victim/plaintiff receives. If the victim was partially at fault for the crash, the jury may reduce damages accordingly. For example, in an intersection collision case, the victim may not have looked both ways before crossing the street.

There’s also the sudden emergency defense. This doctrine eliminates compensation altogether if the tortfeasor:

  • Reasonably reacted to
  • A sudden emergency.

Insurance company lawyers often try to claim that a jaywalking pedestrian constitutes a sudden emergency. But that’s normally not the case. Usually, a “sudden emergency” is a completely unexpected situation, like a lightning strike or a hood fly-up.

Contact Aggressive Lawyers

Pedestrians and bicyclists are highly at risk for serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer, 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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