Did you know that Florida is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians in the United States? During the last ten years, more than 5,000 people in Florida were killed by a car while walking, and pedestrians older than 65 are more likely thank younger ones to be struck by vehicles. Both poor engineering of roads and inattentive or aggressive driving contributes to these statistics, so if you or a loved one have been injured by a motor vehicle while you were walking, be sure to contact out Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to discuss your legal rights to compensation today.
Types of Florida Pedestrian Accidents
You don’t need to think about it much to know that the higher the speed of the vehicle, the more likely a pedestrian will suffer a serious or fatal injury as the result of a crash. However, depending on the way a pedestrian’s head hits the concrete after a fall, even a crash that occurs when a vehicle is moving at eight miles per hour can result in immediate death. All car, truck, or motorcycle accidents involving a pedestrian are dangerous, but the most commonly seen accidents are:
- Dart-out accidents – Occur when the pedestrian suddenly darts out onto the road and the driver does not have sufficient time to react. This may be caused by no fault of the pedestrian, though—for example, if she was in the crosswalk but the other driver’s view was blocked by a stopped vehicle such that it only looked as if she darted out onto the road.
- Intersection accidents – Occur when a pedestrian is quickly trying to cross an intersection such that the crossing is mistimed and the driver does not have sufficient time to react.
- Passing accidents – Occur when a negligent driver cannot see pedestrians because a bus or other vehicle has stopped to allow pedestrians to cross. In this case, the negligent driver may strike a pedestrian while trying to pass the stopped vehicle.
- Vehicle turns and merge accidents – Occur when the driver is focused on making a turn or merging into traffic. Drivers often alternate between looking both ways and don’t see pedestrians until after they start to make turns or merge.
- Vendor accidents – Occur on neighborhood streets when children run to catch ice cream trucks or when people wait around food trucks.
- Back-up accidents – Occur when a driver hits a pedestrian while backing up without first looking behind the car—typically in a parking lot.
Common Causes of Florida Pedestrian Accidents
Overall, the most common reason for a daytime pedestrian collision—when the pedestrian was clearly visible to the driver—is distracted driving. A distracted driving accident is defined as a crash that occurs because a driver was doing one or more of the following:
- Using an electronic communication device
- Using another electronic device
- Talking to passengers
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the radio
- Looking at something else, such as another roadside accident
Unfortunately, most vehicles cannot stop on a dime, and by the time a driver sees you, you may already be on the ground. That’s why distracted driving is considered negligence in Florida. Speak with a personal injury attorney about your legal options for compensation if you believe the driver who hit you was distracted.
In addition to distracted driving, a large number of pedestrian-vehicle accidents resulted from the use of alcohol by either the driver or pedestrian. Most serious pedestrian accidents occur at night in urban areas, but not at intersections. For the most part, this means that many pedestrian accidents occur because of insufficient traffic control devices and crosswalks for those attempting to cross certain thoroughfares. In these cases, speak with a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss whether you have a claim against the municipality or state for negligent engineering.
Most Common Florida Pedestrian Injuries
Nearly half of all pedestrian accidents involve lower extremity injuries, including feet, ankles, knees, and legs. Injuries to the head, face, and neck made up the next most common injuries. Upper extremity injuries were next on the list. Surprisingly, women were more likely to suffer severe pelvic injuries than men, such as broken hips, an especially serious condition for the elderly. The most fatal injuries are those pedestrians suffer to their heads and chests. If these injuries do not prove fatal, they can require a lifetime of medical treatment and cause permanent disabilities.
Recovering Compensation After a Florida Pedestrian Accident
If you were hit by a vehicle in Florida, you may avail yourself of the negligent driver’s no-fault insurance policy, which can help cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to the policy maximum. Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in insurance coverage—but this might not even cover the costs of a broken bone. Accordingly, a Florida personal injury attorney may negotiate with the liable insurance company to help you receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Medical equipment and medication
- Rehabilitation and nursing services
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
If the insurance policy itself is not sufficient to cover your expenses, discuss what it would mean to litigate your case with a Florida pedestrian accident lawyer.
Filing a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit in Florida
How Can a Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorney Help?
When your PIP coverage isn’t enough to pay for your medical bills and expenses, you must file a personal injury lawsuit against the “at fault” driver. However, insurance companies are reluctant to pay injured pedestrians what they truly need to recover. To combat “lowball” settlement offers, you need an experienced pedestrian accident attorney on your side to advocate for you.
Your Florida pedestrian accident attorney can help you collect maximum compensation for your claim by:
- Investigating your accident
- Locating and identifying all responsible parties
- Employing accident reconstruction teams and other experts
- Working with your medical team to evaluate the scope of your injuries
- Dealing with creditors and hospital billing departments
- Examining police report and other evidence
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Negotating with insurance companies
Even if you are not sure that filing a personal injury lawsuit is right for you, you owe it to yourself to explore all your legal options. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our Florida pedestrian accident attorneys want to take the burden off of your shoulders after an accident. We can handle everything for you, from paperwork to insurance companies so you can focus on what truly matters most – your health.
Florida Pedestrian Accident FAQs
With ample sunshine and cities designed for walking from place to place, Florida is a haven for pedestrians. Unfortunately, Florida is also one of only five states who account for nearly half of all pedestrian accidents in the U.S., and recent yearlong totals of this type of accident reveal that pedestrian accidents are the highest they’ve been in three decades.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you likely have a lot of questions about how to pay for the expenses you have incurred as a result of your injury. Here are the answers to some of the questions our clients from the Sunshine State ask us most often about pedestrian accidents.
I was just hit by a car while I was crossing the street in Florida. What should I do?
The most important things to do after a pedestrian accident include:
- Seek medical attention, even if you don’t “feel” hurt. Not only can this catch injuries that adrenaline or delayed symptom presentation are masking, but it also begins the important paper trail necessary for the injury claims process.
- If the driver stopped, obtain their information, including their name, contact information, insurance information, make and model of the vehicle, and license plate number. If anyone else witnessed the accident, obtain their information as well.
- Obtain a copy of the police report for your accident.
- Keep meticulous notes regarding the amount of time you missed from work because of your injury, your doctor’s diagnosis and advice, and records of your conversations with anyone involved in the accident or the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Speak with an experienced Florida pedestrian accident attorney who can explain the process of obtaining compensation for the expenses and impacts to your quality of life caused by the injury.
I was injured in a Florida pedestrian accident. How can I obtain compensation?
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Florida that was the result of someone else’s reckless or careless actions, you can seek compensation for your injuries through a pedestrian accident lawsuit. This is a legal claim in civil court that seeks to prove who was responsible for the accident that caused your injury and to show the economic and emotional impacts that your injury has had on your life.
What compensation may be available to me after my Florida pedestrian accident?
After a pedestrian accident in Florida, you can seek both economic and non-economic damages through a pedestrian accident claim. In pedestrian accident law, “damages” refers to a payment made in compensation for harm. Economic damages refer to a payment made in compensation for the financial impact of your injury.
Commonly claimed economic damages in Florida pedestrian accident lawsuits are:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of emergency treatment at the scene or in the emergency room, transportation to the hospital via ambulance or helicopter, diagnostic and laboratory testing, physician and surgical services, hospitalization, prescription medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages due to being too injured to work or having to miss work to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability that renders you no longer able to work or to earn in the same capacity as you did before the accident.
- Property damage that you incurred as a result of the accident, such as the cost to replace or repair your bike and helmet, glasses, or cell phone.
Non-economic damages refer to a payment made in compensation for the impacts your injury has had on your quality of life.
Examples of non-economic damages that commonly appear in Florida pedestrian accident claims after a pedestrian accident include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your injury prevents you from participating in activities you previously enjoyed.
- Loss of consortium, which is a damage obtained on behalf of your spouse if the injuries from your accident have resulted in a loss of physical intimacy or companionship.
How long does it take to obtain compensation through a Florida pedestrian accident lawsuit?
The time it takes to resolve your case depends. If your case is simple and straight-forward, you may receive a settlement fairly fast. However, many cases are far from straightforward and can take far longer.
Some of the circumstances that can slow down a resolution in this type of case include:
- Working with your attorney and experts to compile a damages demand.
- Filing a claim for monetary damages or negotiating a settlement.
- Filing a claim in court.
- Discovery, which takes place in the early period of a court case, and includes obtaining statements and documents from the opposition, sharing any relevant documents you have, and conducting witness depositions.
- A mediation conference, which provides a formal setting in which to negotiate a resolution.
- Waiting for a court date based on the court’s calendar of cases.
- Appealing a decision in a case if either party disagrees with the judgment of the court.
What happens if the at-fault party in my Florida pedestrian accident doesn’t have insurance?
The amount of insurance the at-fault party has in your case is crucial, as insurance pays the vast majority of Florida pedestrian accident settlements and awards. While it is possible to sue an uninsured person and to even obtain a judgment in your favor, collecting that judgment may be difficult as most people cannot afford to pay for a damages award out of pocket.
One of the important services an experienced Florida pedestrian accident attorney can provide is identifying all liable parties and all sources of insurance that might compensate you. If the at-fault party is uninsured, your attorney will carefully evaluate the details of your case to see if there is another potential source of compensation.
If not, then other options for obtaining compensation may include:
- Your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy.
- Your own health insurance policy.
I think I was partially at fault for my Florida pedestrian accident. Does that mean I can’t file a claim?
In Florida even if you are partially at fault for the accident that causes your injuries, you can still file a Florida pedestrian accident claim against other at-fault parties. You should also understand that when you are in an accident, fault isn’t always clear until there is a professional investigation. Speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to understand your options.
What is a driver’s duty of care in Florida pedestrian accidents? What is the pedestrian’s duty of care?
In legal claims, a “duty of care” refers to the standard a reasonably prudent person would follow in similar circumstances. Drivers have a duty of care to protect others on the roadway by operating their vehicles safely and legally. Pedestrians have a duty of care to obey traffic laws, including yielding the right-of-way to other roadway users when they are legally required to do so.
How do I prove that someone else was liable for my Florida pedestrian accident?
To prove that someone else is liable for your pedestrian accident, you must prove the following:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care they owed you depends on the at-fault party’s role in the accident. For example, the duty of care that a driver owes to others on the roadway is generally to drive their vehicle safely and legally.
- The at-fault party breached their duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that were contrary to the duty of care they owed you.
- This breach resulted in the accident that caused your injuries and subsequently led to the economic and emotional damages you incurred.
Even when fault seems straightforward in an accident, the process of proving liability can be complex. It is always best to seek the help of an experienced attorney who knows what type of evidence to gather and how to present that evidence to prove each element of your case.
Who can be liable for a Florida pedestrian accident?
More than 4,700 pedestrians are killed on U.S. roads each year and around 76,000 more are injured. In pedestrian accidents, generally either the driver or the pedestrian is at fault.
However, some cases involve additional liable parties, such as:
- The owner of a property that has sidewalk or parking lot defects that cause an accident or a pedestrian injury.
- The entity tasked with maintaining the roadway, if the accident was the result of the condition of the road.
- A public transportation driver responsible for keeping the area where they let passengers off of the vehicle reasonably safe.
- Other pedestrians, such as when an accident is the result of horseplay, such as pushing another person into traffic.
- The staff or management of a liquor establishment who knowingly served alcohol to an individual under 21 or who was known to be addicted to alcohol who then later got into an accident with a pedestrian.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a pedestrian accident in Florida?
In most cases, claimants have four years after the date on which the injury occurred to file a Florida pedestrian accident lawsuit. There are some limited circumstances in which the deadline may be extended. Therefore, even if it has been more than four years since your accident, you should contact an attorney to discuss the details of your case. An experienced attorney can inform you if there may be a reason for an extension of the statute of limitation in your case.
How can an attorney help with my Florida pedestrian accident case?
Pedestrian accidents can be incredibly complex, and insurance companies are often reluctant to pay fair compensation for injuries caused by their insured. An experienced Florida pedestrian accident attorney can give you the benefits of knowledge of the legal process as well as a deep understanding of the extraordinary impacts that injuries from a pedestrian accident can cause.
Some of the services your attorney can provide for you include:
- A no-obligation, free case evaluation where you have time with an attorney to ask your legal questions, learn more about the firm, and learn about your legal options.
- Determining all sources of liability and all insurance resources that may compensate you for your injuries.
- Providing a damages estimate, based on the financial and emotional consequences you and your family have suffered as a result of your loved one’s death.
- Gathering and organizing evidence and witness testimony that can be used to prove your case.
- Negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance provider in an attempt to garner a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
- Providing advice and guidance as to the pros and cons of accepting any offered settlement.
- Timely filing all court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction, and attending all pre-trial conferences and hearings on your behalf.
- In lieu of a settlement agreement, representing you at trial. This includes delivering opening and closing arguments, presenting evidence, and examining witnesses.
- Assisting you in collecting your settlement or award.
- A convenient, client-friendly contingent-fee payment scheme. What this means is that you owe nothing for your attorney’s services unless and until there is a successful resolution to your case.
Let the experienced Florida pedestrian accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA help you understand the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA whenever you need our help. Call today.
Contact the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA’s Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today
There is almost nothing scarier than seeing a vehicle coming toward you and knowing you cannot escape—or getting hit by a car before you realized what happened. Pedestrian accidents are serious, and so is your subsequent legal case. If you were injured while walking, running, jogging, or biking in Florida, the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has experienced pedestrian injury attorneys in the Clearwater area. Contact us online or call at (727) 451-6900 today for a free, no-risk consultation.