Published on:

Driver in Fatal Jacksonville Traffic Accident Had Been Previously Involved in Another Fatal Crash

As a mother and young daughter were on their way to a Yom Kippur service in Jacksonville, they were both hit by a Toyota Camry as they walked across San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville. The car accident, which occurred last Friday, left the mother dead and the daughter in critical care. The daughter was taken to UF Health Jacksonville, where she is in stable condition.

Car%20Crash.jpg

According to a story by The Jewish Daily, the driver of the Camry had been involved in another fatal traffic accident in 2006 resulting in the death of a 6-year old girl. That accident occurred while the girl was crossing at a crosswalk with her mother and younger brother. While the driver was not found to be at fault in that particular accident, he did have a significant record of traffic violations dating back several years.

What Does a Previous Accident Mean in Terms of the Driver’s Liability?

If you ask most people whether it is relevant that the driver was involved in a previous fatal accident, many would say yes, it is relevant. However, under Florida law, it is not quite that easy to say. Previous acts that do not constitute criminal acts are admissible in a trial only under certain, limited circumstances.

The law is structured this way to discourage jurors from basing their decision on previous involvments rather than focuing on the current charge. The purpose of a trial is to determine whether the defendant is liable for the accident in question, not an incident that occurred years ago.

However, if the previous accident is introduced for a permissible reason, it might be considered evidence, albeit with a “limiting instruction.” A limiting instruction is basically an instruction that the judge gives to the jury telling them they can only consider the evidence for its proper purpose; the purpose for which it was admitted. In other words, a judge issuing a limiting instruction might say, “You are instructed that the evidence suggesting the defendant was previously involved in a fatal accident is not relevant as to his fault in this accident and is only to be considered for the purpose of understanding his prior driving history.”

Did the City of Jacksonville Play a Role in this Accident?

Orthodox Jews are prohibited from using electric devices on Jewish holidays. In keeping with Orthodox Jewish custom, the woman crossing the street did not push the “walk” button which gave her only 21 seconds to cross the eight-lane intersection. Pushing the button would have given her twice the amount of time to make it across the busy boulevard. Some residents believe that the amount of time given to cross the busy intersection is not long enough, even when the button is pushed.

The Rabbi of Etz Chiam Synogogue, the one the woman and her daughter were planning to attend, says he has contacted a Jacksonville representative to see if the green light could be extended to provide longer times for crossing the street, especially during Jewish holidays. The Rabbi said he never recieved a reply.

Have You Been Involved in an Auto Accident?

If you or a loved one have recently been involved in an auto accident, you should contact an experienced Jacksonville injury attorney. With an attorney’s help, you will best be able to gauge what available options you have and which course of action is best for you and your family. Contact the Lawrence Law Group immediately to discuss the fact of your specific case. As always, there is no risk to speak to an attorney because we do not bill you for anything unless we are able to make recovery for you. Contact us today at (904) 632- 0077.

Photo Credit: Robbie Howell via Compfight cc

See Related Blog Posts:

Pool-Safety Law Not Preventing Accidental Deaths

Orlando Jury Awards $10m in Wrongful Death Case Against the University of Central Florida for Football Player’s Death

Have You Been Involved in an Auto Accident?

If you or a loved one have recently been involved in an auto accident, you should contact an experienced Jacksonville injury attorney. With an attorney’s help, you will best be able to gauge what available options you have and which course of action is best for you and your family. Contact the Lawrence Law Group immediately to discuss the fact of your specific case. As always, there is no risk to speak to an attorney because we do not bill you for anything unless we are able to make recovery for you. Contact us today at (904) 632- 0077.