If you think South Florida roadways are more crowded than ever, you’re right. With so many cars, trucks and motorcycles sharing the road, it’s no surprise that pedestrians are becoming more and more vulnerable to accidents and injuries. Over 5,300 pedestrians were killed in accidents in 2015, per the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s (DOT) most recent report. Another 70,000 pedestrians were injured. That represents more than a 10 percent rise over a decade. Over 40 percent of pedestrian injuries were from tripping, slipping or falling and about 12 percent of pedestrians were hit by motor vehicles. One-third of pedestrians killed had blood alcohol content (BAC) levels above the legal limit of 0.08. 628 Floridians died in pedestrian accidents, the second-highest number of fatalities in the nation.
Pedestrian accidents are often serious, causing debilitating injuries or death. Victims can face catastrophic long-term or lifelong consequences and expenses. Hospital trauma centers see the fallout daily. The above statistics illustrate that pedestrian accidents can happen to anyone and you should know where to turn after an injury. Call the law firm of Sibley Dolman in Ft. Lauderdale for help if you are in an accident.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When a negligent driver hits a pedestrian, injuries are usually severe. If not killed, victims often suffer from:
- Internal bleeding
- Damaged organs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or total paralysis
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limbs (amputations)
- Memory loss
All of these injuries need emergency medical attention and often, ongoing treatment for a long period of time.
Many Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
You can imagine many unfortunate circumstances which can lead to pedestrian accidents. Some examples of pedestrian accident scenarios include:
- A person rushes to work in the morning, backing his car out of the driveway, unaware that a young child walked behind (or rode his bicycle) behind his car
- A frail, elderly grandmother uses her walker crosses the street, without seeing an oncoming or turning car, too slow to avoid impact
- A young driver pulls out from the curb and fails to see a courier delivering a package
- A young mom briskly walks with headphones on, enjoying her music, unaware of a motorcyclist’s screeching brakes as it hits her
- A teenager walks to school and slips on any number of poor sidewalk conditions (for example, snow, ice, wet leaves, debris, uneven or broken pavement, potholes)
- An athletic person tries to run across a multi-lane highway, poorly judging how fast trucks are barreling down the road
- A pedestrian crosses the street at an intersection, in a marked crosswalk with a “walk” signal, but a driver fails to properly yield
In any of these situations, the costs can be staggering. For injuries alone, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates pedestrian accidents cost nearly $60,000 for relatively minor injuries and soar to $230,000 for incapacitating injuries. Deadly pedestrian accidents have monumental costs: approximately $4.5 million in each case.
Vehicles Causing Pedestrian Accidents
The average car weighs over 4,000 pounds. A loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 40 tons. Imagine the horrific injuries caused when a vehicle hits a pedestrian. A person stands little chance.
An experienced attorney needs to determine whether the driver is at fault and whether the pedestrian somehow contributed to the accident. Drivers can be negligent when they:
- Are distracted (e.g., texting, talking on the phone, turning to face passengers, playing with their radio, lighting a cigarette, eating)
- Don’t yield the right of way
- Drive while impaired (either by drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep, or from emotions like anger, anxiety, depression or stress)
- Disregard traffic signals or signs
- Fail to properly signal when turning
- Ignore poor weather, road or traffic conditions
Drivers must be especially vigilant with children – for example, near schools and playgrounds. Children often dart into traffic, and their smaller size makes it difficult for drivers to see and avoid.
Pedestrians Must also be Careful
Pedestrians cannot blithely ignore traffic dangers and hazards. If they do, they may cause or contribute to the accident. This is known as “contributory negligence,” which may reduce compensation for injuries. Some examples of pedestrian negligence include:
- Not crossing at an intersection crosswalk
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Running in front of traffic
Such acts may not disqualify you from compensation, however, if a driver was also negligent, and you should consult with an attorney about your rights.
Premises Liability Claims
Pedestrian accidents are not necessarily caused by moving vehicles. Sometimes there is a dangerous condition on the property (premises), such as a sidewalk, street, pavement or parking lot. Your attorney will determine who is responsible for maintaining the property and whether they can be sued (or if there are limitations on the recoverable amount). An experienced pedestrian injury lawyer will investigate the cause of your accident, to determine whether:
- the owner or manager caused a dangerous condition; or
- did they know the condition existed; or
- if not, did the condition persist for so long that the owner or manager should have known of the dangerous condition.
Why You Need an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Many lawyers handle personal injury cases, but not all lawyers have the depth, experience, and knowledge unique to handle pedestrian accident cases. Your attorney will handle many tasks and steps depending on your case, including:
- Interviewing you to learn about the accident
- Obtaining and reviewing your medical history
- Gathering medical and police reports
- Hiring forensic experts where needed
- Determining who is “at fault” (whether the accident was caused by a vehicle or property defect, you must show that the other party was negligent)
- Notifying involved parties
- Conducting settlement negotiations with insurance companies
- Filing a lawsuit
- Bringing your case to trial
When a pedestrian is hurt, more than one person may be at fault. It could be the driver, the owner of the sidewalk or parking lot, or the pedestrian himself. Your attorney will know how to properly assess your case.
Were You a Pedestrian Hurt in an Accident? Call an Experienced Ft. Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today for Help
If you or someone you know was hurt in a pedestrian accident, don’t delay. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries. You need a skilled, experienced attorney. We are the dedicated lawyers at Sibley Dolman, conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Call us right away at 754-208-1130 or contact us online. We know pedestrian accidents and how to best present your case and injuries. We will help you — our core mission is serving your best interests.
100 SE 3rd Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
What Our Clients Have to Say:
“This firm is amazing! Very professional, they helped me with my case until the end. They were available and very flexible. Brent Sibley would answer all my calls/emails and wouldn’t hesitate on explaining all of my concerns. They represented me on my case, in which it turned out to have a successful result. Super recommend them!”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read more reviews on Google!