Cat Causes Tragic Accident on South Florida Turnpike

William E. Johnson
October 8, 2013

Cat Causes AccidentStopping on the freeway is dangerous, and according to Florida law, illegal unless your vehicle is disabled or you are helping an injured person. This past week a Florida man learned why.

While trying to save a stranded cat on the Northbound Florida Turnpike, Michael Schneider, 35, was struck by a 2010 Honda Accord. The Accord struck Schneider while he was in the center lane; then slammed into Schneider’s pick-up truck with Schneider on the hood before hitting a guardrail and sending Schneider into the grass shoulder.

The Accord was driven by 75 year old Mary Jane Alston of Boynton Beach, who died after receiving treatment at the Broward Health North Hospital. Schneider was hospitalized and still remains in critical condition.

It appears that Scheneider’s attempts were also in vain because the cat he tried to save also died in the accident. The accident is still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Florida Law Discourages Stopping on the Freeway

Although this accident was tragic, it serves an important reminder of the inherent dangers of stopping on the freeway.

This incident also brings up interesting potential legal issues. Generally, the person who rear ends another is responsible for an accident. However, there are some exceptions. In this accident Schneider may have violated his duty to other drivers by stopping his car. Scheneider stopped his car it to render aid to an animal, not a person, so his conduct was may have violated Florida law. If he did violate Florida law by stopping it would mean that Scheneider’s neglect could have been the cause of Alston’s death. However, we do not know whether Alston should have seen Scheneider and had enough time to avoid hitting him.

Contributory Negligence

Florida law holds that those injured due to the negligence of others may have their awards reduced by the percentage that they contributed to the negligence. If one of the injured persons (or their families) in this case wanted to bring a lawsuit against the other, they would likely have to prove not only that the other party was negligent, but that their own negligence did not contribute to their own injuries.

Since this accident is still under investigation, we do not know whether a lawsuit will be pursued.

Call a Seasoned West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer

The Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A.  handles all types of vehicle accidents. Our West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers can help get you the justice and compensation that you deserve. If you or your loved one has suffered from the negligence of others call 561-832-4848 to schedule a free consultation.