A 50-year-old woman was killed in a Lehigh Acres pedestrian accident after being struck by three vehicles, two of which fled the scene, according to FOX4 News.
Florida Highway says the incident happened Tuesday, September 4th just before 9:30 p.m. on Homestead Road North, near Plaza Drive. FHP reports the woman was attempting to cross the northbound lanes of Homestead Road from the McDonald’s when she was hit by three northbound vehicles.
This unfortunate tragedy highlights the growing risk of walking in Southwest Florida. Burgeoning population growth has led to rapid development, often with little forethought or planning when it comes to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, Smart Growth America’s landmark study, Dangerous by Design, found the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area is the most dangerous metro area in the nation for walkers. Eight of the nations top 10 most dangerous cities are located in Florida. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford ranked third, followed by Jacksonville, Deltona-Daytona Beach, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton followed closely, ranked the tenth most dangerous.
Last year, NBC 2 News reported more than 200 people are injured in Lee County pedestrian accidents each year, and about 20 are killed.
Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accident Claims
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are also an increasing threat that is disproportionately impacting walkers and cyclists.
Earlier this year, the Tampa Bay Times reported Florida is among the top three states in the nation when it comes to hit-and-run accidents. In 2016, hit-and-run accidents claimed 2,049 lives in Florida, a 60 percent increase in less than a decade. Nationwide statistics show about half of these cases involve a bicyclist or pedestrian victim. At-fault drivers may flee the scene for a number of reasons, including denial of responsibility, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a license, or driving without state-mandated minimum automobile insurance coverage.
Florida leads the nation in the number of uninsured motorists, with about 1-in-4 drivers on the road without the required automobile liability insurance, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Even for those carrying the state minimum coverage, Florida’s auto insurance law requires only $10,000 Personal Injury Protection coverage and 10,000 property damage liability coverage. These are among the lowest state-minimums in the nation and are completely inadequate when it comes to serious or fatal traffic collisions, particularly when a bicyclist or pedestrian is involved.
In cases where a driver flees and is never identified, a pedestrian accident victim may be able to make a claim through his or her own insurance carrier, provided the victim has purchased optional uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This critical coverage will provide a resource in the event you are involved in an accident with a driver who flees the scene or lacks sufficient auto insurance coverage to compensate you for all losses.
Wrongful Death Claims in SWFL
Our wrongful death lawyers in Fort Myers note this case is further complicated by multiple defendants. Florida’s abolishment of joint and several liability means in most cases individual defendants will only be held responsible for damages in accordance with the degree of fault. Thus, failure to identify or hold accountable all responsible parties can significantly reduce an accident victim’s ability to collect appropriate compensation.
In Florida, Statute 768.19 specifically states that “when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract or warranty,” the estate of the deceased person may bring such a lawsuit. The action will be brought by the estate of the deceased and the estate administrator, typically a surviving spouse, parent or close family member.
If you are injured in Southwest Florida, contact Fort Myers injury attorneys at the Garvin Law Firm at 800.977.7017 for your free initial consultation.