Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

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It was chilling to watch this tribute to the cyclist Aaron Cohen that was stuck and killed by a hit and run driver on Virginia Key recently. From all reports and interviews that was seen Aaron was an all round great guy – a great father to his kid and a great son to his parents and a best friend to all.

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. (WSVN)Family and friends of a cyclist who lost his life after being struck by a hit-and-run driver gathered in his honor.

Thursday night, hundreds jogged up the bridge where 36-year-old Aaron Cohen was struck. Once the massive group of Cohen’s loved ones got to the top of the bridge, they dropped roses into the waters below.

According to police, Cohen and his friend, Enda Walsh, were biking across the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne early Wednesday morning, when a vehicle hit them.

Police said the driver then fled the scene; Walsh suffered a broken ankle, and Cohen has a serious head injury.

The 36-year-old father of two was sent to the hospital in critical condition. However, Cohen succumbed to his injuries on Thursday afternoon.

His family was devastated. “We were a family all the time. His cousins, his aunts, his uncles, everybody loved him. Everybody loves him. He is just special,” said Cohen’s father, Stephen. “Aaron Cohen is probably the nicest person who has ever lived. He had no enemies, he never had a bad word to say about anybody, he was a fierce competitor, he was bright … He was the kind of son every father dreams about.”

Earlier Thursday, the hit-and-run driver, 26-year-old Michele Traverso, turned himself into police. He appeared in court, where he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury and driving with a suspended license.

Traverso has had a history with drugs: he was almost done completing a drug program that stemmed from a cocaine charge, and the charge against him would have been dropped had he finished the program.

However, Traverso’s new charges are a direct violation of the probationary program, and as a result, he will be held without bond for at least 24 hours. Also, Traverso’s charges will likely be upgraded because of Cohen’s death.

During Thursday night’s memorial, the words Aaron wrote just before he died were read, which he titled, Why I Run: “The short answer is, I run, because it makes me happy.”

The story above says it all, Aaron and his companion victims of a hit and run driver, luckily the driver turned himself in eventually and charges were made. Victims of hit and run accidents after seeking medical attention should seek immediate legal counsel from an experienced attorney to ensure you know your legal rights. Keep records of all medical bills, go back to the scene of the accident and take photographs of the area, also keep photographs of your injuries.

Should you or a loved find yourself a victim of this type ofinjury please contact an Attorney experienced in wrongful death law to ensure that you know your loved one’s rights. Contact us for your FREE consultation via telephone 954 431 8100 or 305 624 9186 or online.

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As a Weston pedestrian accident lawyer, I was sorry to read that a crash has claimed the lift of an elderly woman. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Dec. 13 that 75-year-old Patricia Wardrop of Weston died that day of injuries she sustained in a parking lot accident the Friday before. Wardrop was at a shopping center in Pembroke Pines around 12:30 when driver Josephine Curatolo, 65, drove out of a parking spot, through some bushes and over a curb. Curatolo’s vehicle also hit two children, 10-year-old Luis Finol and 12-year-old Ana Finol, who suffered minor injuries. It was not clear whether they were with Wardrop. Law enforcement believes Curatolo may have hit the wrong pedal, and is asking witnesses with more information to contact the Pembroke Pines police department or CrimeStoppers.

The response to this accident has stirred up a politically volatile topic here in South Florida: driver’s license retesting for older drivers. Proponents believe this would cut down on preventable accidents caused by older drivers who have problems with vision, reaction time or cognitive decline. Opponents, including many people who would be affected, believe this is nothing more than ageism. Florida does require drivers over the age of 80 to renew their licenses every six rather than eight years, and requires a vision test at each renewal after that age, but critics charge that problems can begin before 80 and go beyond vision. As a Coral Springs pedestrian accident lawyer who sees a substantial number of very serious accidents, I believe it’s worth looking into. If scientific research shows that accidents decrease when older people are retested at each license renewal, I would support it.

Pedestrian accidents are among the most serious crashes on South Florida roads. Unlike crashes between two cars, pedestrian accidents pit an unprotected human body against a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds and traveling at many miles per hour. This is no contest at all, and the resulting injuries tend to reflect that. The most serious pedestrian accidents cause wrongful deaths as well as serious head injuries, spinal cord damage and other permanent disabilities. And because Florida law gives pedestrians the right of way in most situations, the crashes are almost always the fault of the person behind the wheel. This may be cold comfort for victims and their families, but it can be important later if they choose to pursue a pedestrian accident lawsuit.

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As a Coconut Creek pedestrian accident attorney, I was interested to read about a lawsuit in an unusual pedestrian accident. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Dec. 7 that the widow and daughters of an 80-year-old Hollywood man have sued the operators of the drawbridge from which he fell. Desmond Nolan was walking home from the beach on Sheridan Street when the drawbridge opened over the Intracoastal Waterway. As the bridge rose, he clung to the edge, but eventually couldn’t hold on and fell 60 feet to a concrete bridge below. He died later the same day at a hospital.

The drawbridge has flashing lights and arms that warn travelers not to cross when it’s about to open. However, a video posted on the Sun-Sentinel’s Web site shows that the arm on Nolan’s side of the road did not go down until he was well past it and onto the bridge:

The Nolan family alleges negligence by the drawbridge’s operator, Michael O’Rourke; his employer, ISS Facility Services; and two other drawbridge contractors, C&S Building Maintenance and Transfield Services North America. All three companies are contractors to the Florida Department of Transportation. The Nolan family’s attorney said they also intend to sue the Department itself, but must wait six months because of a legally required notification period for suing state agencies. The claim says O’Rourke should have checked for people on the bridge before he opened it, and that he failed to respond to motorists who were honking and screaming to get his attention.

I applaud this family for taking quick action on its legal claim. Some observers may believe it’s callous for the family to file a lawsuit so quickly, but as a Boca Raton pedestrian accident attorney, I know that suing a government agency requires victims to start their claims as soon as possible. As the article notes, people who wish to sue an arm of the Florida state government must notify the agency in writing six months before filing their claims. It’s only after the agency has a chance to reject or accept the claim that victims can file a real lawsuit. Meanwhile the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Florida is just two years. That means that if the family of a wrongfully killed person delays action for a year or more, they may no longer be able to sue at all — no matter how strong their claim might be.

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As a motorcyclist and a Cooper City motorcycle crash attorney, I was dismayed to see a Nov. 20 article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal about an “outbreak” of hit-and-run accidents in the region. According to the newspaper, the Florida Highway Patrol is seeing a very high number of hit-and-run accidents — 19 on Nov. 18 alone. Florida saw five fatal hit-and-runs in the past month, the article said, including two in Central Florida. Central Florida has seen 13 fatalities from hit-and-runs in all of 2009. These crashes include all kinds of motorists as well as pedestrians. However, the focus of the article was on two motorcyclists killed in the past month on Volusia County roads, and a third left at the roadside with a broken leg. In all three cases, the responsible driver left the scene.

One of the motorcyclists the article talks about is John Eaton of DeLand. Eaton, 46, was rear-ended by the driver of a pickup truck as he left a bar in DeLeon Springs. He was thrown into traffic on U.S. 17. Other people tried to help him up, but a second vehicle ran him over and left the scene. It was the day after his first wedding anniversary. Another motorcyclist, 47-year-old Kevin Hill of Sanford, was hit head-on by a vehicle that was trying to pass another vehicle in the opposing lanes. He was conscious and sitting up after the crash, and others were trying to get him off the road, but driver Susan Norman, 40, hit him and kept on going. Her car was disabled and she was found a few miles away. Charges are pending. FHP Sgt. Kim Montes said drivers who leave the scene tend to have something to hide, such as driving under the influence, a suspended license or other legal problems.

As a Plantation motorcycle accident lawyer, I hope articles like this can help the FHP solve some of its unsolved fatal hit-and-runs. Leaving the scene of an accident might sound like a good idea to panicked motorists, but it tends to make matters worse in the long run. Hitting and running harms victims and their families twice, leaving them with no answers and no liability insurance policy to collect on. In some circumstances, victims can collect on uninsured/underinsured motorist policies — but even that can be difficult if the insurance company sees an opportunity to deny an expensive claim. Meanwhile, drivers who get caught are nearly certain to be criminally charged with leaving the scene. And hitting and running can also make the situation worse if the driver is hit with a lawsuit, because juries are not likely to be impressed with this behavior.

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A Delray Beach police detective is in critical condition after a hit-and-run accident, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Sept. 1. Detective Christian Mammarella was hit at 10:44 p.m. on Aug. 30 by a vehicle that his fellow officers believe was a dark-colored, late-model Volkswagen Passat or CC with wraparound headlights. Mammarella was searching for evidence at the side of the road when the vehicle apparently struck him and kept going, leaving him in critical condition in a hospital trauma unit.

A convenience store surveillance camera captured a brief video of what is believed to be the vehicle passing by, just before the crash:


Mammarella and two other detectives were searching a parking lot near the intersection of Linton Boulevard and South Dixie Highway, looking for evidence in a Boca Raton robbery. The two other detectives heard the crash and ran to Mammarella, who was closest to the road, and saw the vehicle continuing north. A spokesman for the Delray Beach police said police were confident that the vehicle was a late-model, dark-colored Volkswagen Passat or CC, probably with damage to its right front window or the right side of its windshield. It may have vanished suddenly under a tarp or into a garage since Sunday, the police said. They are using a state database to track down all cars in the state matching that description, but asked citizens with information about such a car to call Detective Justin Reed at 561-243-7850, Detective Gene Sapino at 561-243-7828 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.

As a Broward County pedestrian accident attorney, I wish law enforcement the best of luck in tracking down this driver. Pedestrian accidents can be brutal, because pedestrians travel with none of the protections we enjoy inside cars, such as seat belts, airbags and reinforced crumple zones. When cars hit pedestrians, they can leave the victims wrongfully killed or with catastrophic, disabling injuries such as organ damage, multiple broken bones, head injuries or spinal cord damage. If this driver is caught, he or she could be held legally responsible for causing injuries like these — the article didn’t specify — with a Delray Beach pedestrian accident lawsuit. That’s in addition to the severe criminal penalties the driver will likely face for not only hitting and running, but hitting and running a police officer.

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