Halloween is that time of year where we indulge in the good-natured fun of getting scared. Children and adults alike have an excuse to dress up as whatever their hearts desire.
However, among all the ghouls and goblins out there this Halloween, there’s something that’s far more dangerous to your children – Florida drivers.
Children at Increased Risk on Halloween in Florida
A study published in Jama Pediatrics examined 42 years’ worth of data from the National Highway Safety Administration. It focused on all fatal traffic accidents in the United States between 1975 and 2016 and found that there was a 43 percent increase in the risk of pedestrian death on Halloween compared to other days. Even more shocking was that the risk for pedestrian fatality in children aged 4-8 was 10 times higher on Halloween.
Similar findings have been mirrored in other studies. Sperling’s BestPlaces examined over 4 million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), ranging between 1990-2010. They found that there was an average of 5.5 fatalities in children (all the way up to age 18) on Halloween. That’s more than double the average of 2.6 fatalities on other days. Both studies found that children are at the highest risk of being hit at around 6 PM.
Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible for road safety, and there are actions you can take to minimize the risk to your child this Halloween. Drivers should also take precautions and be extra cautious when driving at night.
Unfortunately, there is a chance that, despite taking all the precautions possible, an accident may still occur. It’s a scary truth, but there are some situations that we just can’t predict.
If you or a loved one are a victim in a pedestrian traffic accident, then the driver could be held liable both criminally and civilly.
Florida Criminal Charges of Halloween Car Accidents
If the driver of the motor vehicle was driving wildly and with little disregard for public safety, they could be criminally charged for reckless driving. A driver that causes serious bodily harm or death to a person as a result of reckless driving could be convicted of a first-degree felony and punished with up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine.
If the driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they could be found guilty of an impaired driving charge. In Florida, impaired driving is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine if it results in serious bodily harm, and up to 15 years if it results in death. Additionally, a person can be sentenced to up to 30 years if they fail to render aid to the injured person.
Civil Liability for Halloween Auto Crashes in Florida
In our state, individuals have four years after the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit and two years for wrongful death. The driver may be sued in a negligence case and held responsible for any damages.
These can include:
- Medical expenses
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Funeral expenses (if there is a death)
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
A consultation with a Florida personal injury lawyer is important in determining what claims are applicable to your case.
There’s nothing scarier than the thought of a loved one being harmed. This October, take extra care in making sure that your children are aware of the potential dangers outside so that they can safely enjoy the good-natured chills and thrills of Halloween.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.