A mother in Texas has filed a lawsuit against a flea market where her child was run over by a motor vehicle last year. At the time of the accident, the girl was just 18-months-old. Now age 2, her mother says she is still “struggling to live a normal life.”
She has filed a premises liability lawsuit against the flea market, as well as a general negligence lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle. Plaintiff raises questions about the safety of the property where pedestrians were so close to motor vehicle traffic.
Flea markets – both indoor and open air – are popular in Florida (including Fort Lauderdale) as well as other southern states. Questions of liability can be tricky, however, because you’re dealing with a host of different businesses. You have the vendors, then the operator of the facility and, often, a separate owner of the land. There may be other companies contracted to provide traffic control or security. There is potential in these types of cases to name numerous defendants, but it’s important to conduct a thorough investigation so that all parties can be properly identified and the narrative fully formed by the time negotiations begin or litigation is filed.
In this case, the mother reportedly watched the entire horrifying scene unfold. She had been carrying a number of bags in the market and she set her small child down for just a moment to readjust. She turned for just a second and when she turned back around, she saw the girl was walking away. She immediately began to go after her. But the girl was walking fast and, within seconds, the vehicle approached. By the time the mother went to grab her child, the car had already run over the little girl’s head.
She had to be airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio.
The owner of the vehicle was reportedly moving his car to the north entrance. Although he was moving at a slow speed at the time of the incident, the child was small and too young to understand the potential danger as she approached. Her height likely made it difficult for the driver to see her.
A news reporter spoke to the owner of the flea market to discuss traffic management. The owner didn’t go into great detail, but did say that there was a road right behind the regular vendors to give them the opportunity to drive directly up to their spot and park right in front of their table. It was reportedly at this location that the accident occurred. He said signs are posted throughout the market to inform both drivers and pedestrians to be aware of each other.
Nonetheless, our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers know the question will be whether this incident was foreseeable. Should the driver have taken more care to observe his surroundings as he proceeded? Should the flea market have posted more/ better warning signs? Was there enough space between the pedestrian and vehicle traffic? Should there have been physical barriers between these areas? Were there previous incidents of vehicles and pedestrians coming into contact that the market operator ignored or failed to adequately address? These are all questions that will need to be answered in the coming weeks and months as the case proceeds to either a settlement agreement or trial.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Mother Files Lawsuit Against Flea Market After Child’s Injury, Sept. 1, 2016, KRGV
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Judge: Child Brain Injury Victim Shot With Arrow 7 Years Ago Can Proceed With Product Liability Lawsuit, Sept. 12, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Child Injury Lawyer Blog