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Were You Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in West Palm Beach?
West Palm Beach is an excellent area for year-round outdoor activities. With its attractions, weather, and walking parks, it is not surprising that the site is filled with thousands of pedestrians every day.
For instance, Flagler Drive Waterfront Walking Park is a seven-mile linear park that runs along the west side of the Intracoastal from Currie Park, past downtown West Palm Beach’s art and entertainment district. This park is a favorite for pedestrians looking to visit historic neighborhoods while having the opportunity to cap off their weekend stroll with a delicious dish at one of the downtown restaurants located on the trail.
Unfortunately, even though walking is a fantastic way to get around West Palm Beach, it is not without its dangers. In fact, Palm Beach County ranks in the top 25 counties in the state for traffic crashes resulting in fatal injuries to pedestrians
That is why if you have been harmed in a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident, you should reach out to a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. At Shiner Law Group, our team can review the details of your incident, determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit, and help you assert your legal rights.
Why You Should Hire the Shiner Law Group
The Shiner Law Group is a personal injury law firm made up of dedicated lawyers representing those who have been harmed in an accident because of another person’s actions or carelessness.
Since our founding, we have made it a goal to put our clients first and help them fight for their rights. As a result, we have handled all types of personal injury cases, including small settlement claims and sizable multi-million dollar verdicts. We get this variety of cases because we know what it takes to manage a case from start to finish. Plus, we understand how to build a compelling case while fighting to defend the rights of our clients every step of the way.
Because of this, we have won millions of dollars for our clients through settlement awards and jury verdicts. While no result can be guaranteed, contact Shiner Law Group today to see what we can do for you.
Who Is at a Higher Risk of Being in a Pedestrian Accident?
Although any pedestrian is in danger of being injured or hit by a vehicle, certain groups of people are considered to be at a higher risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these groups include:
- Even though walking exposure is similar between both sexes in the United States, the collision risk is slightly higher among males than females.
- Pedestrians over the age of 65 accounted for 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths and about 10 percent of all pedestrian injuries.
- About one in every five children under the age of 15 killed in a traffic crash was a pedestrian.
- Almost half of the crashes that resulted in a pedestrian death involved alcohol for the pedestrian, the driver, or both.
Every year, emergency departments treat about 137,000 pedestrians for their crash-related injuries. However, more tragically, there are also around 6,000 pedestrians who are killed in these crashes. That is about one death every 88 minutes.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in West Palm Beach
Both pedestrians and motorists are expected to exercise a reasonable duty of care while they are on the road. However, this does not always happen, and when a driver breaches this duty because of their negligent behavior and injures a pedestrian, they can be held liable for their actions.
Some of the more common behaviors that tend to contribute to a pedestrian collision include:
- Excessive speeding: Speeding is not only considered a traffic violation. It can also be considered reckless driving. Pedestrians in West Palm Beach that are hit by speeding motor vehicles can suffer horrific injuries that are often life-altering, or they can die because of the impact.
- Distracted driving: It only takes an instant to hit a pedestrian when a motorist glances away from the road. Texting and driving, eating and driving, and talking to others in the car are all typical distracted driving behaviors that can lead to horrific collisions, as each of these activities takes the driver’s eyes away from driving.
- Failing to yield: Motorists who roll through an intersection or a stop sign or those who fail to yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way are common reasons why devastating crashes occur.
- Intoxicated driving: Drivers who are intoxicated either because of alcohol or drugs are more likely to be involved in deadly pedestrian accidents because their reaction times, driving skills, and reasoning are impaired.
- Poor weather conditions: Fog, heavy rain, and other poor weather conditions can create a dangerous situation for pedestrians. If a driver fails to slow down in these conditions, they can easily fail to see a pedestrian or stop in time on slick West Palm Beach roadways.
- Backing up: Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents do not only happen on the roadways. Pedestrians are also at risk of being hit by a motor vehicle trying to back up while in a parking lot, primarily when there is a lot of traffic in the area.
- Left-hand turns: Even in crosswalks, pedestrians can be hit by a car that is turning left, especially if the driver’s attention is elsewhere and not on the pedestrian who is legally crossing the road.
Although a good chunk of pedestrian accidents typically involve a motor vehicle collision, in some instances, these accidents can also occur because a pedestrian slips and falls because of a hazardous condition on someone else’s property.
If you were injured in a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident, you deserve legal help that you can trust. At the Shiner Law Group, our personal injury attorneys are ready to help you fight for the compensation you need.
Common Injuries Resulting From a West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident
Even though the extent and the severity of a pedestrian’s injuries following an accident will depend on the circumstances, in many cases, a pedestrian’s injuries can be extreme.
Generally, pedestrians risk suffering:
- Traumatic brain injury: A traumatic brain injury or a TBI often results when an outside force causes brain dysfunction, typically because of a violent blow or jolt to the head. Mild TBIs may affect brain cells temporarily, while more severe TBIs can result in torn tissues, bleeding, bruising, and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can lead to long-term complications and even wrongful death.
- Fractures: A bone fracture usually occurs when the physical force exerted on a bone is stronger than the bone itself. Although these injuries are often treatable, the fracture can still cause various medical problems and lifelong pain that can impact a person’s quality of life.
- Amputations: The loss of a limb or a digit in an accident is known as an “amputation.” Amputations are generally less common than some of the other pedestrian injuries, but when a disfiguring injury occurs, it can create a lifelong disability for those that survive.
- Spinal cord injuries: A spinal cord injury often stems from a traumatic and sudden blow to the spine that dislocates or breaks the vertebrae. Typically, damage to the spinal cord can result in a loss of function, such as loss of feeling and mobility, and other life-changing consequences.
- Soft tissue injuries: This includes lacerations, tears, bruises, sprains, and dislocations. While most of these injuries can resolve with minimal medical intervention, they can still cause the victim to endure significant pain and stop them from engaging in everyday activities or working for months at a time. Plus, these injuries can also result in permanent issues and disfiguring scarring that can impact the victim’s overall well being.
- Emotional trauma: This type of trauma results from extraordinarily stressful events that can shatter a victim’s sense of security, making them feel helpless in their daily lives. This type of trauma can leave pedestrians who were involved in an accident struggling with upsetting memories, emotions, and anxiety that will not go away.
Actions to Take After a West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident
Following a pedestrian accident, the accident scene can often be overwhelming and chaotic for everyone involved. Yet, even amongst the confusion and stress, it is still important to realize that the actions you take after this devastating incident are not only helpful in keeping you safe but in protecting your legal rights as well. That is why if you have been involved in a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident, you should:
Contact the Police
Following a pedestrian accident, the first thing you should do is contact 911. This is the fastest way to get the accident on record and notify Emergency Medical Services that you or someone at the scene requires medical help.
In addition, once the police arrive, they can investigate the accident and document all their findings in their police report. If you decide to pursue an injury claim, this report can provide you with important evidence regarding what happened and who may have been at fault.
If you do not require any immediate medical help, try to take as many photos and videos of the accident scene as you can. Include pictures of your visible injuries, any vehicles involved in the accident, any dangerous conditions, the weather at the time of the accident, and any other evidence that can show what happened. Additionally, make sure you keep all of your torn or bloody clothes, as this clothing can often help support the extent of your injuries.
Seek Medical Help
Even if your injuries seem minor following a pedestrian accident, you still need to get checked over by a medical professional. Just because symptoms may not appear directly after your accident, it does not mean that you have not suffered a serious injury. In fact, head and brain trauma symptoms can sometimes take a few days or even weeks to manifest. Yet, the longer you wait to get these conditions treated, the more serious they can become.
Besides, this medical attention can also be helpful to your case. The insurance company may be looking for any reason to deny your injury claim. By not seeking immediate medical help following a pedestrian accident, the insurance company could try to argue that your injuries are not that serious or that a subsequent event caused. Fortunately, when you get looked over by a doctor following your accident, these doctors can document your injuries and what happened in their medical reports. Ultimately, providing you with a link between your injuries and the accident.
Get Driver and Witness Information
If motor vehicles were involved in your pedestrian accident, make sure you get all the drivers’ names, contact information, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers.
Additionally, if there were people present at the scene who saw what happened, make sure you get their name and contact details as well. These witness statements can provide you with valuable evidence regarding fault and damages, and back up your claims. However, if these witnesses do not want to give you their details, do not force them. Once you retain a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer, these attorneys can work to obtain this information for you.
Do Not Admit Fault
Following a pedestrian accident, you need to be careful what you say. At the accident scene, make sure you do not: make any definitive statement about the incident, admit fault for anything that happened, or apologize for any part of what occurred. These types of statements can end up hurting your claim and impacting the amount of money you may receive.
Commonly Asked Questions From Victims of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can often result in devastating injuries, extensive medical costs, and a lot of hardship and stress for the whole family. However, after years of handling these types of cases, the attorneys at the Shiner Law Group understand what victims are going through after this tragic accident and the questions and concerns they often have.
That is why, to help you better understand some of the potential legal options following a pedestrian accident, we have prepared these FAQs. We hope with these answers, you have a greater appreciation of the legal recourse you may pursue. For questions about your specific matter, contact Shiner Law Group today.
1. What types of compensation can I recover following a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident?
If you have been injured in a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to certain types of compensation for your losses and injuries.
In Florida, this compensation typically includes:
Economic damages: These damages usually refer to the actual and verifiable losses that result from the accident.
They may include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses such as emergency medical services, surgery, prescription medications, hospital stay, and doctor visits.
- Lost wages.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Rehabilitative costs including physical therapy and vocational therapy.
- At-home nursing care.
- Household replacement services.
- Personal property damages.
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses.
Non-economic damages: These damages involve rather subjective losses that are not easily quantified.
They may include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of reputation.
- Loss of a limb.
Punitive damages: Courts may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages in limited circumstances. However, unlike compensatory damages, which compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages punish the wrongdoer for their actions and deter them and others from committing this behavior again. In Florida, courts only award these damages when they find the defendant’s conduct especially harmful.
2. How much money can I expect to recover if I file a pedestrian injury claim following my accident in West Palm Beach?
Unfortunately, no lawyer can tell you exactly how much money you can recover following a pedestrian accident. This is because there are just too many factors that could impact the total amount of your compensation.
These factors can influence your case:
- The severity of the injury.
- The total amount of medical bills.
- The amount of insurance available.
- Whether the injury is permanent.
- The extent of the medical treatment required.
- Whether full recovery is likely.
- Whether you have lost wages.
- Whether there is a loss of earning capacity.
- Whether the injury impacted your everyday activities.
- The reliability of the evidence and witnesses presented.
- The culpability of the defendant.
Although no attorney can guarantee that you will win money when you pursue an injury claim, working with the right West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer can help you prepare the strongest legal case possible and go after maximum damages.
3. Who is at fault in a crosswalk pedestrian accident in West Palm Beach?
Determining fault in a crosswalk accident often requires a look towards the statute. According to Florida’s laws, drivers must stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk with a walk sign. The pedestrian may only cross when the traffic signal instructs them to do so. If a pedestrian is lawfully in the crosswalk, the motor vehicle driver cannot get so close that they are a danger to the pedestrian.
It is also against the law to interfere with a pedestrian lawfully in the crosswalk. If the area has no traffic signs or control signals, the motorist must yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Additionally, the pedestrian must use a tunnel or overhead crossing rather than obstruct traffic wherever these walkways exist. Pedestrians do not have the right of way if there is a tunnel or an overhead crosswalk.
In many instances, a motor vehicle driver will tend to be in a better position to avoid an accident. As a result, state laws often place some responsibility on a motorist to stop if they can, be aware of their surroundings, and take preventive measures if possible. Yet, even with all these regulations, determining fault after an accident will still often require detailed evidence to show what happened and who is to blame.
If you were harmed in a crosswalk, it can be helpful to reach out to a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer, like those at the Shiner Law Group, as soon as possible. These attorneys can go over your case in detail and determine what happened, who was at fault, and if you have a viable legal claim.
4. What is the statute of limitations for bringing an injury claim in West Palm Beach following a pedestrian accident?
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the amount of time you have to file a legal claim following an alleged offense. If you do not bring a claim within this allotted time, you cannot collect compensation for your injuries.
In Florida, the statute of limitations to bring an injury claim following a pedestrian accident is four years from the date of the accident. However, there are numerous exceptions to this rule that can extend or shorten the amount of time you have to file your case. That is why it is so important to work with one of the pedestrian accident lawyers at the Shiner Law Group as quickly as you can. These attorneys can review your case, determine how much time you have to file your claim, and help ensure all of your legal motions and documents are correctly prepared and submitted before time expires.
5. How long does the legal claim process take after you file a suit in West Palm Beach?
Typically, there is no standard amount of time when it comes to pedestrian accident claims and how long they take to resolve. Depending on the circumstances, these claims can take anywhere from a few months to even a few years to settle. One reason behind these different time lengths is that injuries need time to heal before they can be evaluated. If you do not give these injuries enough time, there may be no way for you to know if you made a full recovery or whether you will require any future medical treatments. In addition, this deadline can also extend if the case heads to trial.
For these reasons, work with a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer following your accident. Our attorneys can help you understand all the relevant personal injury laws and go over with you the reasons why some cases are resolved faster than others and whether any of these factors apply to your situation.
6. What are my legal options if the motorist who struck me did not have any insurance or fled the scene?
This, unfortunately, is a common scenario in our country, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting that one in five pedestrian fatalities involve a hit-and-run driver. Additionally, in Florida, almost 20 percent of the motorists in the state are uninsured. In these situations, it may be difficult for a pedestrian to find relief for their extensive bills and financial losses following an accident.
Some victims may seek benefits from either their own PIP insurer or from their own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage carrier benefits. However, not all victims will have these types of benefits, or if they do have them, their benefits may be subject to certain exclusions that prevent them from obtaining all the money they need.
If you have been harmed in a pedestrian accident by a motorist who fled the scene or did not have any insurance, you should seek legal help quickly. With the assistance of a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer, they can help you determine what financial recovery you may be entitled to and how to go after the money you deserve.
7. What items should I bring when meeting with my West Palm Beach pedestrian accident attorney for the first time?
If you are thinking about pursuing an injury claim following a pedestrian accident in West Palm Beach, it is important to meet with a pedestrian accident lawyer. These attorneys can explain the legal process to you, go over your claim, determine whether you have a viable case, and discuss the legal recourse available.
However, when meeting with the lawyer for the first time, you should consider bringing specific documentation that can give your attorney a better understanding of what happened and the injuries and losses you sustained.
These various items can include:
- Any videos, recordings, or photographs of the accident.
- Police reports.
- Medical reports and other relevant documentation.
- Eyewitness information or their contact details.
- Medical bills including doctor appointment bills, emergency room visit bills, prescription medication bills, and hospital stay bills.
- Proof of any property damage that occurred.
- Evidence of job loss or wage loss.
- Insurance information and contact details.
In addition, give the lawyer the papers that the hospital or doctor gave you regarding your medical care, after-care instructions, and your physical therapy. Meeting with a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible is one of the best ways to help ensure that you have enough time to investigate the accident and file legal motions and paperwork before time runs out. Just make sure when you visit them, you bring all the documents indicated above and any other evidence to help support your claim and show the extent and nature of your injuries.
8. How can the Shiner Law Group help me following my West Palm Beach pedestrian accident?
A pedestrian accident may seem like an “open and shut” case, since motorists need to watch out for others on the road, including pedestrians. However, the case may be more complicated than it seems.
Following a pedestrian accident, not only are insurance companies often trying to deny a victim’s injury claim, but these types of cases also require the victim to provide detailed and relevant evidence showing fault and damages. As a result, it is not always easy to obtain the money that victims need following their pedestrian accident.
Fortunately, you do not have to tackle this challenging legal battle on your own. When you retain a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer, like those at Shiner Law Group, they can provide you the legal assistance you need and help you fight for the damages you deserve.
They can do this by:
- Going over your case, evaluating your potential claim, offering you legal advice, and explaining your legal options.
- Discussing all of your questions and concerns and providing you the legal support you require during this stressful time.
- Investigating your pedestrian accident and obtaining the evidence needed to prove what happened and who was at fault.
- Building the strongest possible legal claim on your behalf and working to hold all those at fault accountable for the harm you sustained.
- Handling all the negotiations and discussions with the insurance company and fighting for a fair settlement offer.
- Bringing in the experts such as doctors, engineers, and accident reconstructionists to help substantiate your claims.
- Taking your case to trial if the insurance company is unwilling to settle the case, and working to go after the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident, do not wait any longer. Contact the Shiner Law Group today for your free case consultation, and let our lawyers show you how we can fight for you and your rights.
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