Tampa police recently clarified an often-misunderstood rule that every intersection qualifies as a legal crosswalk, whether or not it is clearly marked as such. This comes in response to a high-profile pedestrian accident that resulted in the death of a 24-year-old woman and her child.
Jessica Raubenolt was pushing her young daughter in a stroller across Bayshore Boulevard at the intersection of West Knights Avenue when they were struck by a Ford Mustang being driven by 18-year-old Cameron Herrin, who was street racing. Although no crosswalks were marked at the intersection, Officer Roy Paz reiterated that Florida law treats all intersections as legal crosswalks as long as the pedestrian walks in a straight line to reach the other side. For their own safety, however, he cautioned pedestrians to always check for traffic before stepping out into the street.
Herrin faces charges of vehicular homicide and street racing. In addition, Raubenolt’s family is entitled to file a civil lawsuit against him for damages related to wrongful death. The crosswalks rule will be important in determining civil liability in a lawsuit, since Raubenolt was crossing the street legally when she was hit.
Pedestrian Accident Rates are On the Rise
Pedestrian accidents are an unfortunate reality for thousands of victims across the country. National pedestrian deaths have increased a whopping 46% since hitting an all-time low in 2009, and in Florida alone, there were 9,382 pedestrian accidents in 2017, which resulted in 643 fatalities. The Tampa-St. Pete area ranks number seven on the list of the 10 most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians, with a rate of 2.88 deaths per 100,000 residents.
Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Although a variety of factors can contribute to pedestrian accidents, many are caused by driver negligence, including:
- Disobeying traffic signals
- Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign
- Distracted driving
- Failing to maintain vehicle control
- Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- Driving while intoxicated
Cases like Herrin’s that involve street racing often combine several of these factors, including speeding, failing to maintain vehicle control, and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Additional causes of pedestrian accidents that aren’t related to driver negligence include:
- Inclement weather
- Improperly maintained roadways or traffic signals
- Vehicle failure due to manufacturing defect
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to Secure Your Rights
Pedestrians are especially vulnerable to serious injury and death in the event of an accident due to a driver’s negligence. If you or someone you love has been involved in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law. A lawyer well versed in pedestrian accidents will be able to review the details of your case, and explore all possible legal options so that you receive maximum compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained.
Contact the pedestrian accident attorneys at Dennis A. Lopez & Associates today at (813) 502-1836 for a free consultation with one of our pedestrian accident experts. With over three decades of experience in helping accident victims in and around the Tampa-St. Pete area, we are dedicated to working closely with our clients to help them reclaim the lives they had prior to the accident.