Family of Orthodox Jewish Woman Killed Crossing Florida Intersection Files Lawsuit

When a woman and her teen daughter prepared to cross an intersection in Jacksonville, they didn’t realize they only had 11 seconds to do so. crosswalk3

The pair were walking to synagogue. It was the Sabbath and it was also Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. On those days, Orthodox Jews cannot start electricity or create energy. That meant mother and daughter could not push the “walk” button on the intersection.

Had they been able to push that button, they would have had 50 seconds to cross eight lanes of traffic. But without pushing that button, they had 11 seconds – a fact they didn’t know. At the same time, approaching that intersection was a a 66-year-old man with an alleged vision problem, driving on an expired license. Four years earlier and just a few blocks away, that same driver struck and killed a 6-year-old girl who was crossing an intersection with her mother and brother. That family also didn’t know they needed to push the button for the signal to give them extra time to cross the street.

This time, according to news reports, he had wrapped up his work day as president of a local cleaning company, but was on his way first to deposit a check for the firm. He was traveling the speed limit. As he approached the intersection, the light had just turned green. But the woman and her daughter were still in the intersection. The driver didn’t slow down. He struck them both. The mother was killed. The daughter suffered severe injuries that forced her to undergo extensive physical therapy to learn to walk again.

Now, the family has filed two lawsuits against the driver and his company. The first was filed by the injured daughter on behalf of herself for her own personal injuries. The second is a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the woman’s other surviving daughter on behalf of her estate.

They allege the driver was operating negligently, and his company (now defunct) was vicariously liable because he was still performing a work-related function at the time of the crash.

Driver denied knowing he had a vision problem. However, he knew his mother suffered a genetic vision problem and was unable to see well at night. This crash took place just after sunset. When he took the driving test again after the accident, he failed the vision test and was unable to get his license. It was only then he conceded to investigators he might have a problem with seeing well.

Plaintiff attorneys are exploring whether to amend the litigation to include the state department of transportation for faulty design of the intersection. Eleven seconds is simply not enough time to cross, and there were a few intersections – this one included – that were known to be problematic. There is a large Jewish population in the area, and on certain holy days, they all must walk to synagogue and they can’t push the traffic signals when they do.

Similar issues have been noted in communities in South Florida as well.

If you have been a victim of a pedestrian accident, contact our Boca Raton offices today.

Call the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7777 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.

Additional Resources:

Family of Orthodox Jewish woman files 2 lawsuits against driver who hit, killed her, Sept. 14, 2015, By Andrew Pantazi, The Florida Times Union

More Blog Entries:

Slora v. Sun ‘n Fly-In, Inc. – Third Party Liability for Work Injury, Sept. 1, 2015, Boca Raton Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog