Were you recently injured in a pedestrian accident in Florida? Our experienced Florida pedestrian accident lawyers at Shiner Law Group are ready to help fight for your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (855) 462-6878 to speak with an attorney for a 100% free consultation.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and more. Contact our Florida law offices to discuss the legal options that might be available to you following your pedestrian accident. The next steps are very important. Let Shiner Law Group help you with your pedestrian accident case today.
Table of Contents
Were You Injured In A Pedestrian Accident In Florida?
A pedestrian accident can cause devastating and distress for victims and their loved ones. In many cases, these types of accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the other driver or the road engineers. Even if the pedestrian is worried that they were at fault, they may be able to receive compensation for their medical bills, pain and emotional suffering. It’s essential to contact a Florida pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to identify your legal rights and take appropriate action.
What Is a Pedestrian?
Definitions and laws that refer to pedestrians are different in every state. In Florida, pedestrians include anyone on or near a roadway who is:
- Walking, jogging or running
- Riding a skateboard, roller skates or roller blades
- In a wheelchair
- Using a foot-powered scooter
A bicyclist is not always considered a pedestrian. However, this legal area can be confusing. Bicycles that are on the road with the flow of traffic are considered to be human-powered vehicles. Cycling on the sidewalk is permitted. However, cyclists must still yield to pedestrians on foot.
It is important to understand the distinction because the laws differ when it comes to vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents that involve a vehicle. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car crashes. That means that your car insurance will pay for your injuries and damages if you are in an accident that involves only vehicles.
However, if you are considered a pedestrian, fault and responsibility come into play. If the driver was at fault, the pedestrian may be able to recoup compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering. Depending on the situation, the pedestrian may also be able to file a claim through their own car insurance policy.
In Florida, pedestrians that are victims of a car accident and residents of the state are eligible to receive compensation for medical bills from the driver’s personal injury protection insurance. However, tourists’ medical expenses aren’t covered in the same way. However, residents and non-residents can sue for pain and suffering.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
When you’re walking or jogging, you should follow pedestrian safety protocols. However, all of the precautions in the world can’t always protect you from a distracted driver who is careening at you at what seems like full speed.
More than 6,000 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2018.Most pedestrian accidents involving a vehicle are due to driver negligence. The following types of carelessness contribute to the majority of pedestrian accidents:
- Distractions – Looking away from the road, even for a split second, can cause a driver to hit an obstacle. Texting, eating, adjusting the radio or looking at your reflection in the mirror are common causes of distracted driving.
- Impaired driving – Anything that impairs your judgment can make it unsafe to drive. People who are driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medications may have slow reaction times or impaired vision, leading them to hit pedestrians.
- Failing to yield – Cars must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. It is illegal for vehicles to get dangerously close to pedestrians on crosswalks.
- Turning at a crosswalk – When pedestrians have a walk signal at the crosswalk, cars from the street that parallels the crosswalk may have a green light to turn into the intersection. Although those vehicles are required to wait for the pedestrians, they may neglect to notice.
- Reversing drivers – Rear-end cameras and other safety features can help prevent accidents that happen when a driver is backing up. These are common in driveways and parking lots.
- Speeding – Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit may not be able to stop in time if a pedestrian crosses the street ahead of them. Increased vehicle speeds can intensify the severity of the injuries in a crash.
Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault for an Accident?
Pedestrian accidents aren’t always the drivers’ fault. Sometimes, other factors play a role in vehicle accidents that involve pedestrians. These may include:
- Pedestrian negligence – Pedestrians don’t always follow the rules of the road. In Florida, people on foot don’t have the right of way if there is already traffic in the crosswalk. Also, pedestrians may be at fault if they step into traffic while they’re looking at their phones or failing to follow safety guidelines.
- Poorly engineered roads – If the condition of the roadway played a part in the accident, neither the driver nor the pedestrian may be at fault.
- Defective parking lots or sidewalks – Flaws or obstructions in pedestrian walkways can come back to haunt the property owner if they cause a pedestrian accident.
- Other pedestrians – Another pedestrian could be deemed responsible for your accident if they pushed you into the roadway.
- Public transportation driver negligence – Drivers of buses and other public transportation must drop passengers off in a location that protects the pedestrians from vehicle traffic.
- Product manufacturers – If a defect in a skateboard, scooter or similar piece of equipment caused you to roll into oncoming traffic, you may be able to prove negligence on their part.
What Should a Pedestrian Do If They’re Hit by a Car?
Being involved in an accident while you’re walking or running can be shocking. Even if you aren’t seriously injured, you may be shaken. The following checklist will help you follow the right steps to protect yourself if you decide to sue the other party or seek compensation.
1. Call 911
Regardless of the damage or injuries, you should have an official assessment of the situation. Calling 911 will get emergency teams on the scene as quickly as possible. The authorities will come and file a police report. Paramedics will attend to you to determine the extent of your injuries and connect you with medical services.
Don’t skip this step. Even if the driver is willing to provide you with their personal and insurance information, you need to document the occurrence with the police and get adequate medical attention.
2. Ask for information
Make sure that you leave the scene with as much information as possible. Some of the things that you should document include:
- The officer’s name and contact information
- Copies of the police report or instructions on how to access it
- The driver’s name, license plate number and insurance information
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
3. Get medical attention
Even if you walk away from the scene, you should seek a medical examination. Some injuries may be internal and not immediately noticeable. However, if you end up having neck surgery down the road because of the damage sustained in the accident, you may not have recourse to seek compensation from the driver if you never received a diagnosis following the collision.
4. Call a Florida pedestrian accident lawyer
Instead of searching online for the appropriate steps to take or waiting until you’re out of the hospital, contact an attorney as soon as you can. We can provide you with guidance that’s based on your specific situation. Doing this can help you avoid costly mistakes that could hinder your case if you file a claim against the driver.
Should You Sue After a Pedestrian Accident in Florida?
For many people, the idea of filing a lawsuit is overwhelming. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you may receive compensation offers from the other party or their insurance company. However, going through the official channels and working with an experienced attorney will ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.
The most important question in a lawsuit relates to fault. If the driver is responsible for the accident, the pedestrian is eligible to receive compensation. If the pedestrian caused the accident, they won’t receive compensation. Filing a lawsuit if you’re at fault can be costly and futile.
But you shouldn’t make any assumptions or decisions on your own. The intricacies of the law can be difficult to fully understand. A Florida pedestrian accident attorney can help you understand your role in the accident and give you a realistic view of what to expect if you file a lawsuit.
What Does the Pedestrian Have to Prove?
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you must prove that the vehicle’s actions directly caused injury, suffering and financial loss. In other words, you have to provide evidence that the driver’s negligence contributed to the accident. In some circumstances, neither the driver nor the pedestrian is at fault. It may be necessary to prove negligence on the part of the municipality, the property owner or another pedestrian.
Another essential element included in the burden of proof is actual harm. The victim must show that they suffered physical injury and economic loss. That’s why it’s so important to document all medical examinations that are associated with the accident as well as the corresponding fees. You should also keep track of the income that you have lost as a result of the accident or injury.
Should You Sue if You Were at Fault?
In some cases, the pedestrian must assume some fault for the accident. They can still benefit from filing a lawsuit. However, the reward will be mitigated by the amount of responsibility that the pedestrian holds. For example, a $100,000 settlement may be reduced by 20% if the pedestrian was 20% responsible.
Don’t assume that you are at fault. If you’re wrong, you could miss out on compensation to which you’re entitled. Consult with a lawyer to go over the details of the accident and determine whether you have a strong case.
Who Pays the Damages?
In the majority of Florida lawsuits for pedestrian accidents, the driver’s insurance company pays for damages. Florida motor vehicle operators are required to hold personal injury protection insurance for this reason.
If the offending party does not have insurance, you can still file a lawsuit. You may even acquire a judgment against them. But if they don’t have the money to pay, you may not receive the compensation that you need to cover your losses.
In that case, your car or health insurance policy may step in to compensate you. If your injuries were minor, your coverage may be sufficient to pay for all of your damages. Additional compensation may come from:
- Umbrella insurance
- Worker’s compensation benefits
- The at-fault party’s personal assets
An attorney can help you identify all potential compensation sources and understand how to proceed.
What Happens if a Pedestrian Dies After Being Hit by a Vehicle?
Losing a loved one can be emotionally and financially catastrophic. If a pedestrian or bicyclist who is struck by a motor vehicle suffers loss of life, certain family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Florida law limits compensation to specific family members in particular situations. For example, if the deceased pedestrian is over 25 years old, their parents may not be reimbursed for pain and suffering. However, children may file for lost support and service at any age.
Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can remove the economic burden from a victim’s family. The damages that are awarded can cover medical and funeral expenses and may include pain and suffering compensation.
What Kind of Damages Can a Victim of a Pedestrian Accident Receive?
Damages are awarded to victims of accidents based on their economic, physical and emotional suffering. Economic compensation may be offered for:
- Medical expenses related to the accident, including future costs for rehabilitation
- Lost wages because your injuries or accident-related doctors’ appointments prevent you from working
- Loss of future wages if you suffer permanent injuries or a disability due to the accident
- The cost of replacing damaged property, such as glasses or a scooter
Physical and emotional suffering may make you eligible for non-economic damages. Some examples of this type of compensation include:
- Physical distress
- Emotional suffering
- Loss of quality of life
The spouse of the affected individual may be able to file for loss of consortium. This allows them to recover benefits for the loss of companionship or intimacy.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a car accident is four years. However, you should not wait that long. Contact the attorneys at Shiner Law Group if you have been involved in a pedestrian accident. Every personal injury case is different. Even if you’re not sure whether you are entitled to compensation, a free case evaluation with a Florida pedestrian accident attorney can give you a good idea of what to expect from your case.