Boy Hit Walking to School
The Orlando Sentinel reported that an 11-year-old boy was struck by a panel truck as the boy was walking to school on September 12, 2011 near Holly Hill, Florida. The Sentinel reports that the boy dropped a toy in the roadway and darted out into the roadway after it at the time that the accident happened. The boy's name has not been released at this time, however, he was transported to Halifax Medical Center with severe head injuries.
This is a tragic situation where an 11-year-oldl boy suffered serious injuries. However, one must look beyond the words of the news report to fully examine the legal liability that may be involved here. While the report says that the child darted in front of the truck, a driver of a motor vehicle in Florida has a duty to slow down and take extra precautions when approaching children. I say this because the report seems to indicate that the children (plural) were walking along the side of the road to school. Accepting this as fact, one must consider that a reasonable and prudent driver would slow down because children do "dart" into traffic on occasion. This is much like when you are driving along the road and you see an animal on the side of the roadway--at that moment in time you do not know whether that animal is going to jump in front of you. Thus, if you consider this context and the fact that the presence of children raises a driver's legal duty in Florida, then one must re-evaluate the liability of this situation as to whether the driver is more culpable than at first glance. This inevitably leads to the conclusion that there is some degree of comparative fault on the driver of the truck because he should have been watching for children, and upon spotting children near the roadway, should have slowed down to take into account that children sometimes fall or dart into the roadway. The same analysis is not true of adults. Not every driver is going to agree that this is their duty behind the wheel of a car, but children are in a special category in the eyes of the law and are afforded greater protection by the law. If you or a loved one have a question about an injury from a car accident, including head trauma, please contact a Central Florida personal injury lawyer for a free consultation of your rights under the law as an attorney might see the situation differently than you do.