Francesca Moise, age 7, is presently in a coma after a hit and run accident in North Lauderdale, Florida. The little girl is presently listed in critical condition at Broward General Medical Center. So far, the driver of the car that hit her has not been identified and no arrests have been made. (Photo Credit: Sun-Sentinel and Moise Family)
There is no doubt in my mind that Francesca and her family are entitled to monetary compensation for this accident. The ultimate question concerns whether or not the person who is responsible has the means or insurance needed to pay that compensation.
According to family members,Francesca was hit by a white and black car as she walked her mother, Milly Moise, and siblings along 7300 block of Tam O’Shanter Boulevard. The vehicle is said to have made contact with the girl when it drove up on the grass along the sidewalk she was walking on. According to BSO, the vehicle in question was an Acura Integra which was later found abandoned behind a warehouse.
Milly Moise was seen trying to revive her daughter at the scene of the accident. Another family member, Baresi Moise said, “I am just angry and sad. We are just praying that she might come through.”
While the exact facts of this case are still unclear, it seems as though the driver of the Acura is responsible for causing the accident and not just fleeing from it.
According to family members, Francesca Moise was trying to cross the street with her mother Milly Moise and two other siblings at the time of the accident. Eye witness testimony will be extremely important in determining the exact position of the Moise family at the moment of impact.
When it comes to analyzing this case from the perspective of an injury lawyer, the first issue that must be addressed is called “Contributory Negligence.” In plain English, contributory negligence addresses the portion of the accident that was caused by the victim’s actions, if any. For example, if two cars ran a red light and crashed into each other, both are considered to be negligent.
Let me be clear about one thing, the driver is absolutely responsible for leaving the scene of this accident. In fact, he/she is criminally liable for failing to remain at the scene of the accident, especially since this is an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury. Because the driver fled the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury, he/she is facing prosecution for a very serious felony.
Hopefully police investigators obtained a warrant before searching the Acura when it was found abandoned by the warehouse. If not, the identity of the driver may be suppressed in a criminal court if it was found pursuant to a warrantless search.
However, putting the despicable actions of this driver aside, the question remains: What caused the accident?
Was the accident caused only by the driver? Assuming he/she drove up on the grass or sidewalk, it would appear as if the driver is the only reason why this accident happened.
However, if it can be proven that Francesca Moise’s family was crossing the street in an illegal place, or was “jay walking,” the driver may be able to prove that they were at least partially responsible for the accident.
I know this is a hard concept to think about because of the terrible injury sustained by this little girl. However, when this case is ultimately battled out in a court of law, the injury attorney that represents the Moise family will need to analyze this issue and appreciate the fact that it is an indelible part of this case, unless of course the evidence proves otherwise.
To determine who is responsible for causing the car accident and to what extent, Francesca’s injury lawyer will need to analyze all the evidence collected at the scene of the car accident as well as any and all witness statements and police reports. It would also be a good idea to visit the scene of the accident to determine if there are any surveillance cameras in the area that may have recorded all or part of the accident.
Once all the evidence has been collected and analyzed, Francesca Moise’s injury attorney may need to hire an accident reconstructionist. In cases like these, an accident reconstructionist may provide a priceless insight into the case.
In essence, an accident reconstructionist will analyze the physical evidence, such as tire marks, gouges in the roadway, damage to the vehicle, and place of final rest for the victims, as well as any eye witness descriptions of the accident. By performing a scientific analysis of this information, an accident reconstructionist is able to draw many conclusions about what happened.
Such conclusions may include the vehicle’s direction of travel, when and where brakes were applied by the driver, if at all, the approximate speed of the vehicle before, during, and after the moment of impact, as well as the position of the victim at the time of impact.
Analyzing this case with the right type of expert is important for Francesca’s injury lawyer because his/her work may make the difference between a favorable settlement or judgment.
However, before any progress can be made in this case, the the driver must be identified. This person’s identity will be needed not only for a civil lawsuit, but in any criminal prosecution that may follow. As I have discussed at length in other blog entries, proving the defendant’s identification as the true offender is one of the most fundamental parts of any criminal prosecution.
Before any real conclusions about this case can be made, it will be necessary to know all the facts and analyze them in context. The police reports and eye witness statements will shed a lot of light onto this matter for any injury lawyer who litigates this case.
Above all else, I pray that this little girl has a speedy recovery both for her sake and for the sake of her family.