Pedestrian accidents are often serious and sometimes fatal. When a car hits a pedestrian, who has little or no protection, the pedestrian is likely to suffer severe injuries. The faster the car is going, the greater the risk of severe injury. However, even at a moderate speed, there is an 85 percent risk of pedestrian fatality.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, consult a qualified Bradenton Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman as soon as possible. We have years of experience fighting for the rights of local residents who through no fault of their own were struck by cars. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and would love to see what we can do to help you.
What Should You Do If You’re in a Bradenton Pedestrian Accident?
If you were in a pedestrian accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. This is an important step, as some injuries may not become apparent for days or even weeks. Delaying treatment may affect your recovery. Also, without proper medical attention, diagnosis, and treatment, it is hard to predict future medical complications and costs.
After the accident, you may be badly injured or in shock. However, if possible, you should take pictures of your injuries, the car, and the scene of the accident, including traffic signs and signals. Note any video cameras in the area that may have recorded the accident. Obtain contact information from any witnesses.
In the aftermath of an accident, avoid discussing the accident with anyone except for law enforcement officers, your own attorney, medical personnel, and your insurance company. Do not post pictures or comments about the accident on social media.
Contributing Factors to Driver Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents
Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to exercise reasonable care. Failure to do so constitutes negligence. However, if there is a collision between a car and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is almost always the one left severely injured, or worse.
Common factors contributing to negligent driving include:
- Distracted driving. Increasingly distracted drivers lead to more collisions.
- Impaired driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was reported in nearly half of all traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities in 2018.
- Speeding. Driving over the speed limit is a leading cause of accidents, contributing to nearly 55 percent of accidents in the U.S. A speeding driver has less time to react, and his or her car will end up striking the pedestrian with much greater impact.
- Drowsy driving. Fatigued drivers often make poor decisions and have slower reaction times than alert drivers.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Even if the pedestrian has the right-of-way, a driver who fails to yield may strike the pedestrian.
- Failure to come to a complete stop.
- Failure to signal before turning. The pedestrian may have taken proper precautions when crossing the road, but if a driver turns without signaling, there may be a collision.
- Failure to obey traffic signals or signs. When drivers fail to obey all traffic signs and signals, they put pedestrians at risk.
- Failure to obey school regulations. Children often dart out into roads or parking lots. Especially during the beginning and end of the school day, children, impatient drivers, and school busses fill the areas around the school. Drivers must obey all rules and drive with extreme caution.
State Laws Regarding Pedestrian Accidents
State law establishes the rights and responsibilities of drivers and pedestrians. A pedestrian may think that traffic signs and devices only apply to cars. However, according to the state’s pedestrian laws, walkers must also adhere to all official traffic control signs, signals, and pavement markings. This is the rule unless a police officer directs them otherwise. Pedestrians should cross a road when the pedestrian light is green, but even if it is, the pedestrian should check to make sure that cars are stopping.
Pedestrians must use the sidewalk if one is available. If not, they should walk on the shoulder of the road, on the left side, facing traffic. They have the right of way on a marked crosswalk; otherwise, a pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles. Pedestrians may not stand on the road paved for motor vehicles to solicit a ride, or to seek employment or business from the occupant of any vehicle.
The law states: “Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give a warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.” For example, if there is a crosswalk, and the pedestrian has the signal to walk, the driver must allow the pedestrian to cross the street.
Who Is Liable for a Pedestrian’s Injuries?
In a personal injury case based on negligence, it is essential to identify all parties who may be at fault for the accident. The obvious party who is usually liable is the driver of the car that struck the pedestrian.
However, additional parties may have contributed to the accident, including:
- The local government. In some cases, a city government may share responsibility for a crash. Roads are often designed for drivers, with little thought to pedestrian safety. Victims who are injured as a result of malfunctioning traffic lights, poorly designed crosswalks, or other hazards may have a cause of action against the appropriate government entity.
- A product manufacturer. If a defective device, such as a skateboard, caused a victim to swerve into traffic, he or she may be able to hold a product manufacturer liable.
- Insurance companies. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, so the pedestrian may exhaust his or her policy and pursue a claim on the driver’s insurance policy.
- Another person or entity. Usually, pedestrians must enter the street in the crosswalk. If a victim sustains an injury because there is no crosswalk available, several different parties who have some responsibility, such as a construction company that did not provide a way for pedestrians to cross safely during road repairs.
Negligence Claims in Pedestrian Accidents
Negligence may consist of acts or omissions. It is usually defined as a “failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” If another’s negligence caused or contributed to an accident, resulting in injuries, he or she can be held liable for damages.
Four key factors establish negligence in a pedestrian crash case:
- The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care. All vehicle drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care to avoid the risk of harm to pedestrians or others on the road.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care. There are many ways to breach a duty of care, such as drunk driving, driving while distracted, speeding, or engaging in other types of reckless driving.
- The at-fault party’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries. If the at-fault party breached the duty of care, and the breach caused the victim’s injuries, then the at-fault party is liable.
- The victim suffered harm as a result of the negligence. It is important for victims to keep records, such as medical records and bills, to prove the nature and extent of their losses.
The type of vehicle, the speed, and the pedestrian’s age and physical condition all affect the severity of his or her injuries. However, in a pedestrian accident, injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, and extremities are likely.
Some of the most common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents are:
- Head trauma. Injuries to the head and brain may be minor, but in many cases, they are catastrophic.
- Spinal cord injuries. The nerves in the spinal cord transmit messages between the brain and the body. Spinal cord injuries may prove catastrophic and can lead to paralysis or other permanent forms of disability.
- Internal injuries. These may not be immediately visible but may have serious consequences. Internal injuries are generally hemorrhages of organs or the vascular system that are caused by trauma and can lead to blood loss and permanent damage. They are usually caused by the forceful impact of a collision with another object.
- Pelvic injuries. Pedestrians that get hit by a car may suffer from various types of pelvic fractures.
- Bone fractures. These are common injuries in pedestrian accidents and can lead to complications, such as nerve damage.
- Cuts. These could range from minor lacerations to deeper wounds that require stitches, staples, or more complex treatment.
- Death. Too often in the case of pedestrian-involved car accidents, the pedestrian does not survive their catastrophic injuries.
Compensation in a Pedestrian Accident
A victim of a pedestrian accident will suffer the obvious physical injuries, but he or she may also suffer from emotional and psychological issues. An injured victim should attempt to recover damages, including:
- Medical expenses. These include all current and future expenses reasonably related to the injury, such as emergency treatment, hospital bills, surgery, ongoing doctor bills, rehabilitation, and other medically necessary expenses.
- Adaptive equipment. After a serious accident, many people need adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, ramps, and other modifications to their homes and vehicles.
- Current and future lost income. The victim may be able to recover compensation for lost wages. Some injuries are so severe that they may end an injured individual’s career permanently.
- Pain and suffering. This includes compensation for any physical or mental pain caused by an injury.
- Mental anguish. The victim may receive compensation for types of mental or emotional distress, such as fear, anxiety, or depression.
- Loss of consortium. This term refers to the loss of companionship and fellowship of family relationships.
- Funeral expenses. If a pedestrian dies as a result of an accident, surviving family members may seek compensation to cover funeral costs.
In rare cases, a court may award punitive damages or exemplary damages, which are meant to punish a defendant for particularly egregious behavior.
Bradenton Pedestrian Accident FAQ
Two pedestrians were killed on the same Bradenton road recently. The separate accidents occurred 12 hours apart and within a mile of each other. The first accident took place on 15th Street East at 57th Avenue when a 51-year-old man attempted to cross 15th Street East north of the intersection. Witnesses say a blue four-door Honda failed to slow down and struck the man. The driver of the Honda failed to stop and render aid. The man died at the scene. Twelve hours later, a 66-year-old man was crossing 15th Street East at 51st Avenue East when he was struck by a southbound Hyundai Sonata. The second pedestrian also died at the scene, and the driver remained on the scene.
With beautiful weather and many amenities in close proximity to each other, Bradenton is an attractive place for pedestrians, locals as well as tourists. However, the area traffic brings with it hazards to those on foot. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to a pedestrian accident in Bradenton, you likely have a lot of questions about this type of accident and compensation that is available to help pay for the expenses of your injuries. Here are some of the questions we are most frequently asked about Bradenton pedestrian accidents.
How common are pedestrian accidents?
In the U.S., more than 6,000 people die each year in pedestrian accidents, equaling one death every 88 minutes. Ranking among the states with the most pedestrian fatalities, Florida is the site of more than 9,000 pedestrian crashes a year, resulting in the deaths of more than 700 people. In a recent year, Manatee County had 169 pedestrian accidents, resulting in about 12 deaths.
What causes pedestrian accidents to occur?
Pedestrian accidents occur due to:
- Lack of visibility, particularly at night. Drivers train their minds to search for cars but are less likely to see people who are using other modes of transportation, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This is especially true when it is dark outside.
- Distraction. Drivers have competition for their attention—including cell phones, passengers in their cars, traffic, and billboards. Pedestrians may also become distracted by cell phones, music, and the constant activity going on around them. Distractions prevent drivers and pedestrians alike from being aware of who—and what—is around them.
- Alcohol impairment. Many pedestrian crashes involve either a driver or pedestrian who is impaired by alcohol. Alcohol impairment creates deficits in a driver’s ability to maintain lane position, steer or brake effectively, maintain a safe speed, react to emergency driving situations, and make good decisions. Impairment also affects the pedestrian’s ability to make good decisions, including decisions as to where to walk, where to cross the street, and when.
- Speed. Speeding increases the distance that a driver needs to come to a safe stop while simultaneously reducing the amount of time that a driver has to see and respond to hazards in the roadway, such as a person unexpectedly running out into the road.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way. Drivers are required to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Pedestrians are required to obey traffic signals and, when crossing the roadway outside of a crosswalk, to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.
- Backing up. Many pedestrian accidents occur when a driver is attempting to back out of a parking lot or a private drive and fails to see the pedestrian walking into the path of the vehicle.
Can pedestrian accidents be prevented?
While not every accident can be prevented, there are certain actions that both pedestrians and drivers can take to avoid this type of accident.
- Always follow the rules of the road and obey traffic laws, signs, and signals.
- Lack of visibility is a major problem for pedestrians. Wear brightly colored clothing. If you are walking at night, reflective materials and a flashlight will help motorists see you.
- Never assume that a driver sees you. If a vehicle is approaching as you are crossing the road in a crosswalk, making eye contact with that driver helps you to ensure that he or she plans to stop.
- Walk on the sidewalk if possible. If there is not a sidewalk available, you should walk facing traffic and as close to the edge of the roadway as you can.
- Stay alert and avoid distractions, such as electronic devices, that can not only draw your eyes away from what is going on around you but can also cause you to stop listening for approaching hazards or thinking about your safety.
- Try to use crosswalks to cross roadways. If you must cross away from a crosswalk or an intersection, cross in a well-lit area and wait to do so until there is a sufficient gap in traffic.
- Be cautious of cars that are backing out of parking spaces or private driveways, realizing that the driver might not have checked his or her blind spot before backing up. If you see a vehicle moving in reverse, step out of its path and wait for it to pass.
- Pedestrians can be anywhere and at any time. Look for them.
- Drivers should exercise increased caution when driving at night or in low-visibility conditions. They should slow down so that it is easier to see and react to people who are crossing the road or walking down the road.
- If you are approaching a crosswalk, slow down and prepare to stop. Never attempt to pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.
- Never attempt to pass a school bus that has its lights flashing and its stop sign deployed.
- For your safety and the safety of all travelers, including pedestrians, avoid driving while alcohol-impaired and limit your distractions while driving.
Will my PIP policy cover my injuries?
Typically, yes. An individual’s personal injury protection (PIP) policy, which state law requires all drivers to purchase when registering their vehicles in Florida, will provide coverage of injury-related medical expenses and lost wages incurred due to a pedestrian accident, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
Is the driver of the car always responsible in a pedestrian accident?
No. Drivers have the responsibility to operate their vehicles safely and follow all traffic laws. Pedestrians also have the responsibility to follow traffic laws. Failure on the part of either party to obey the law may result in an accident and create liability.
How is liability proven in a pedestrian accident?
Liability in a pedestrian accident is proven by demonstrating:
- The at-fault party owed the injured party a duty of care. The duty of care that a driver owes a pedestrian includes obeying traffic laws, stopping at crosswalks, and giving special attention to areas where children frequently walk, such as school zones. The duty of care that a pedestrian owes to drivers is to yield the right of way, to walk on sidewalks whenever possible, and to walk to the far right of the road if no sidewalk is available.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. This is an error on the part of either the driver or the pedestrian, such as speeding, distracted driving, or crossing outside of a crosswalk without looking to see if there is oncoming traffic.
- The breach resulted in the accident, which caused damages to the claimant, such as injuries or property damage.
Is there additional responsibility placed on drivers regarding pedestrian accidents involving children?
The Florida Supreme Court has long held that drivers are held to a higher duty of care in pedestrian accidents involving children, requiring that the driver look out for children in areas where children are known to congregate, regardless of where the children are when the driver passes. Areas that require a higher duty of care from drivers due to the presence of children include school zones, playgrounds, parks, and residential neighborhoods.
Besides PIP, is there an avenue for obtaining compensation for the injuries that I suffered in a pedestrian accident?
Yes. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident that was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another party, there is a legal process called a personal injury lawsuit that you should use to recover damages. In Florida, injured pedestrians generally must file a personal injury claim within four years after the date of the accident.
Some of the damages that are recoverable through this type of legal action include:
- Past and current medical expenses, as well as anticipated future expenses for injury-related medical treatment
- Lost wages if you are too injured to work or are required to miss work to attend injury-related medical appointments
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injuries create a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work or requires you to take a job earning less money than you earned before your accident
- Permanent disfigurement
- The cost of hiring someone to do household services that you previously performed but are no longer able to because of your injuries, such as laundry, cooking, or lawn care
- Emotional distress
- Emotional or physical pain and suffering
- Any other economic or non-economic damages incurred from the accident
My loved one died in a pedestrian accident. Is there any help available for my family?
Yes. If someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused your loved one’s death, you are likely eligible to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.
This type of civil action is filed by a named or appointed personal representative of the deceased’s estate to recover damages on behalf of family members, including:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s children
- The deceased’s parents
- Any blood or adoptive relative who is wholly or partially dependent on the deceased for financial support
- The deceased’s estate
Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the deceased’s date of death and can result in the recovery of damages that include:
- Medical expenses incurred in treating the deceased’s final injuries
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The value of support or services provided to the surviving family member
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased to his or her family members
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering experienced by a parent who has lost a minor child
- The decedent’s estate can recover lost wages, benefits, and the value of future earnings that would have been incurred by the deceased had he or she survived the accident, loss of prospective net accumulations, and any funeral or medical expenses that were directly paid for by the estate
Do I need an attorney to recover damages after a pedestrian accident?
We recommend that injured pedestrians hire an attorney to maximize their potential compensation. The legal system is complex and fraught with deadlines and formalities that a layperson shouldn’t be expected to understand. An attorney presents your best option for obtaining fair compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Some of the services your attorney can provide include:
- Compassionate guidance and information as you consider your legal options
- A determination of liable parties based on the facts of your case, as well as associated insurance resources that could be used to compensate you
- Gathering of evidence to prove liability
- Establishing the value of your case, which should reflect all of the expenses you have incurred or are anticipated to incur, as well as the impacts your injuries have had on your life
- Skilled negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance company in an attempt to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf
- Discussions as to the pros and cons of accepting any settlement offers
- The timely filing of a lawsuit in the proper jurisdiction
- Preparation for court, including deposition of witnesses, as well as representation at any pre-trial conferences or hearings
- Litigation of your case
- Collection of your settlement or award
Recovering from injuries caused by a pedestrian accident is a long and complex journey. Let our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys help you pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
Factors That Contribute to Bradenton Accidents
People are discovering the benefits of walking, whether for transportation, fun, or exercise. Pedestrian numbers have increased by 6 percent in the last five years. However, despite the many benefits, walking can be a hazardous activity. Tragically, data shows that during a recent 10-year period, the number of annual pedestrian deaths in the United States increased by 35.7 percent. That amounts to more than 13 pedestrian fatalities per day.
Children, older adults, and individuals of lower socioeconomic status are especially vulnerable to being struck by a motor vehicle. In Florida, the risk of fatality on foot is significantly higher than in any other state. Of the twenty deadliest U.S. cities for pedestrians, nine are in Florida.
In the “Dangerous by Design” report from Smart Growth America, the Bradenton-Sarasota-North Port metro area ranked fourth in terms of danger.
Anyone who is using a walkway or roadway on foot—such as walkers, runners, and individuals in wheelchairs, on skateboards, or on roller skates—is considered a pedestrian.
Our pedestrians have a higher risk of accidents than pedestrians in other states due to factors such as:
- High population. Our state has the third-largest population in the nation. Approximately 57,644 people live in Bradenton alone. The streets are busy, and accidents are more likely to occur.
- Beautiful weather. Ironically, the same sunny weather that people love can actually increase the risk of a pedestrian accident. In many areas, there are no sidewalks available for safe foot traffic. Outdoor activities take place all year long, people are outside at all times of the day, and there is a greater likelihood of a crash.
- Tourism. Millions of people live here, but millions more visit the state every year. When driving, many tourists are distracted and trying to navigate unfamiliar roads.
- Road debris. Road construction is almost constant. Drivers may be confused due to detours and lane changes. Potholes, gravel, and litter can cause drivers to swerve at the last second.
Are You the Victim of a Bradenton Pedestrian Accident?
These accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. All states, including ours, have a time limit to file a personal injury case, called the statute of limitations. If you were injured as a pedestrian, consult a Bradenton pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. At Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman, our experienced, dedicated attorneys can review your case and discuss your legal options. We have offices across both Florida coasts, including in Bradenton. For more information, call Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or contact us online.
6703 14th Street West Suite 207
Bradenton, FL 34207
Phone: (941) 961-8841
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