Miami crash sparks debate over who is at fault

An Oct. 4 accident has brought ongoing debate over a Miami sidewalk café and lengthy delays in a streetscape improvement project back to the forefront of media attention. On the day of the car accident, the 71-year-old driver was traveling south on Second Avenue in a Toyota Camry, when he reportedly lost control of the car and went off the road.

The vehicle went through the swale outside the popular sidewalk cafe, Lemoni Cafe, and came to rest after hitting a telephone pole. 10 people were injured and taken the local hospitals as a result of the accident, and the driver was cited by police for failing to wear his glasses while driving and careless driving.

Locals are saying, however, that there may have been more to blame for the accident than the driver. Lemoni had previously been cited for operating without proper permits, and some question whether the café should be there at all. The stretch of roadway is also part of a four-mile long improvement project that began as early as 2006. The section in front of Lemoni, however, is still described as gravelly and precarious for those dining outside because the swale is flush with the busy road. The project was reportedly supposed to be completed some time in 2012, but the latest reports say that improvements will begin early next year.

These types of accidents often involve more factors than just a distracted or neglectful driver, and victims may be able to file suit against other parties, such as the business owner and the city, if their actions played a role in increasing the chances of an accident. Discussing the circumstances surrounding the accident with an attorney is the first step to understanding the victim’s legal options.

Source: Miami Herald, “Tensions over street conditions boil over after cafe crash” Melhor Marie Leonor and David Smiley, Oct. 11, 2014