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Family of Palm Beach Pedestrian Killed in Motor Vehicle Accident Files Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of a 79-year-old man who was hit by a motor vehicle in front of a Palm Beach restaurant is suing the driver for wrongful death. Joseph Schaefer was leaving Charley’s Crab on South Ocean Boulevard last October when he was hit by a rental car driven by Oscar Maril. The Florida wrongful death lawsuit accuses the 66-year-old driver of negligence resulting in the pedestrian death, as well as speeding. Florida police cited Maril for careless driving. Also named as a defendant in the wrongful death complaint is rental company Hertz Corp. NHTSA 2007 Traffic Safety Facts for People Older than 64: • 196,000 older people sustained injuries in US traffic accidents in 2007 (8% of the total number of auto accident injuries that occurred). • 60% of the older pedestrians who died were killed in traffic accidents at non-intersections. • In deadly two-vehicle collisions involving a younger driver and an older motorist, the vehicle carrying the older driver was almost two times as likely to be in the car that was struck. • 5,880 older motorists were involved in deadly crashes last year. • 182 older pedestrians died in 2007. • 503 of the 4,551 people that died in Florida traffic crashes last year were older than 64. With millions of retirees living in Florida, state officials have taken steps to address the issues that can arise when there are so many elderly pedestrians and motorists on Florida’s roads. However, physical limitations do accompany growing older, which can affect an elderly person's ability to stay safe while driving or walking. Examples include: • Vision problems • Decrease in cognitive functions • Slower reflexes • Impairment from prescription medication Senior pedestrians must also exercise extra caution. In addition to the issues mentioned above, elderly persons may also be more prone to suffering serious injuries during fall accidents. Related Web Resource: Older Adult Drivers: Fact Sheet, CDC

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