These days, more people than ever are walking, and Orlando is an unmatched place to explore as a pedestrian. Experts recommend walking to reduce stress, enhance mood, and improve your general health. Unfortunately, walking can also be dangerous. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman believe these statistics are unacceptable. Our pedestrian accident associates are proud to serve as advocates for our Orlando neighbors who have been injured in pedestrian accidents, and it’s our mission to ensure that those bad actors liable for these injuries be held accountable.
Were You the Victim of a Pedestrian Accident in the Orlando Area?
If you or a loved one were injured in an Orlando pedestrian accident, you should speak with an experienced Orlando pedestrian accident lawyer at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman to learn about your legal options as soon as possible. Our award-winning team of pedestrian injury lawyers has helped many people like you, collecting millions of dollars for them since we founded our firms. We want to help you—all you need to do is get in touch with us to see what we can do.
Common Causes of Orlando Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care. Failure to do so is negligence. However, the more people that engage in risky behaviors, the more likely an accident will occur. If a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is often badly injured. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in one recent year; 400 of these fatalities were pedestrians. (NHTSA) There are three types of distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive (CDC). Texting involves all three types.
- Impaired driving. Nearly half the pedestrian accident deaths involved someone who was driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Speeding. Driving over the speed limit plays a part in nearly 55 percent of accidents in the U.S. A driver who is speeding has less time to react; it takes longer to stop, and the car hits a pedestrian with much more force.
- Drowsy driving. Driving while fatigued is similar to driving under the influence. Drivers’ ability to pay attention, reaction times, awareness of hazards, and judgment all become worse.
- 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 hit them.
- Failure to come to a complete stop.
- Failure to signal before turning. Even if a pedestrian has taken proper precautions when crossing the road, if a driver turns without signaling, there may be an accident.
- Failure to back up safely. Backing up without checking carefully to see if a person was behind the vehicle is extremely dangerous. Victims of these accidents are often small children.
- 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. Drivers must obey school regulations and exercise extreme caution, especially when school is starting or ending. Children who are walking near moving traffic get special protection under Florida laws. A driver has a higher duty when they know or should know that children are on or near a street. This rule usually applies near schools or other places where children tend to congregate.
The Scope of the Problem
A recent study from Smart Growth America shows that the Orlando area is the deadliest metro area in the nation for pedestrians. Victims of pedestrian accidents are often seriously injured. Worse, pedestrian deaths account for 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of pedestrian fatalities has increased by over 50 percent in the past ten years. Recently, annual fatalities were the highest in more than 30 years. Five states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas) accounted for almost half—47 percent—of all pedestrian deaths. Florida saw a 3 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in just one recent year.
Factors That Contribute to Pedestrian Accidents
Most of these accidents happen in densely populated areas or on busy roads. They often happen outside of intersections, suggesting the need for safer road crossings and better visibility. Civil engineers typically design roads to handle motor vehicle traffic, rather than pedestrians, which puts pedestrians at risk. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. According to the CDC, one out of five children between the ages of 5 and 9 who died as a result of motor vehicle accidents were pedestrians, and persons aged 65 and older account for 18 percent of all pedestrian deaths. Factors contributing to pedestrian accidents include:
- Busy roads. Nearly 2 million people live in Orlando. The streets are busy, and accidents are more likely to happen. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center reported that almost three out of four pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas.
- Beautiful weather. Florida is famous for its wonderful weather and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, as the number of pedestrians increases, so do the number of pedestrian accidents. In many areas, there are no sidewalks available for safe foot traffic, and there is a greater likelihood of a crash.
- Tourism. Orlando is home to over a dozen theme parks. Millions of people vacation in the Orlando area each year. When driving, many tourists are confused or disoriented, trying to find their way to a destination.
- Road debris. Road construction is a fact of life in Florida. Unexpected lane changes and detours may confuse both drivers and walkers. Construction debris may force drivers to swerve suddenly.
- Pedestrians who are walking after dark or in poor visibility conditions. Nationwide, 76 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred after dark.
- Type of vehicle. If an SUV hits a pedestrian, the victim is twice as likely to die than if an average passenger car struck them.
- Device use. Whether someone is walking or driving, using devices such as cellphones or earbuds, increase the risk of an accident.
Florida Laws Regarding Pedestrian Accidents
Florida Statute Chapter 316, State Uniform Traffic Control, addresses the rights and responsibilities of drivers and pedestrians in the State of Florida. The law states that “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 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. Pedestrians also have responsibilities. Walkers must also adhere to all official traffic control signs, signals, and pavement markings unless a police officer instructs them otherwise. Pedestrians should cross a road as directed by the traffic lights, but the pedestrian must make sure that cars are stopping. Walkers must use the sidewalk if one is available. The legal definition of a sidewalk is “that portion of a street between the curb line, or the lateral line, of a roadway and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.” Unfortunately, if there is no sidewalk, the available road shoulder or strip of grass may be challenging to walk on due to tall grass or other landscaping. Pedestrians do 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.
It comes as no surprise that when a large, fast vehicle hits an unprotected person who is walking, the pedestrian is likely to be badly injured or even killed. The type of vehicle, its speed, and the walker’s physical condition affect the severity of the injuries. However, in a pedestrian accident, injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, and extremities are likely. Common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents include:
- Head trauma. Injuries to the head and brain may be minor, but in many cases, they are catastrophic.
- Spinal cord injuries. These are often catastrophic injuries, resulting in serious, long term disability.
- Internal injuries. Injuries such as kidney damage or internal bleeding, are very serious, but may not be detected right away.
- Pelvic injuries.
- Bone fractures.
- Cuts and bruises
- Wrongful death.
Fault in Pedestrian Accidents
For the driver of a motor vehicle to bear a liability to the injured pedestrian, the pedestrian must prove that the driver was driving negligently at the time of the crash. The law typically defines negligence as “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” These four key factors establish negligence in a pedestrian crash case:
- The person at fault 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. Each pedestrian accident is different, and the determination of the legal duty placed upon the driver will depend upon the unique circumstances of that situation.
- The person at fault breached the duty of care. For example, the motorist may have been distracted, speeding, or driving while intoxicated.
- The negligence of the party at fault caused the victim’s injuries. When the party at fault breached the duty of care, they caused the victim’s injuries.
- The victim suffered harm as a result of the negligence. It is important for a victim to keep records, such as medical records, to prove the nature and extent of their losses.
In a pedestrian accident, it is important to identify all parties who may be at fault. The driver of the car that struck the pedestrian is the most obvious at-fault party. However, many other parties may also bear liability for damages following an accident, including:
- Driver’s employer. Employees who injure a pedestrian in the course of their employment may not bear liability to the injured party alone; depending on the facts of the case, the driver’s employer may bear liability as well.
- The local government. Inadequate crosswalks, malfunctioning traffic control devices, missing traffic signs, or other dangerous conditions may result in an accident, and the victim may have a cause of action against the appropriate government entity.
- A product manufacturer. If a defective device in a motor vehicle caused the accident, a product manufacturer might be liable.
- Another person or entity. For example, a construction company that did not provide a way for pedestrians to cross safely during road repairs may be liable.
Compensation in a Pedestrian Accident
If a pedestrian sustains serious injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle, a lawsuit may seek to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses: This can include both present and future expenses reasonably related to the injury sustained in the accident. Hospital bills, ambulance fees, rehabilitation, therapy, surgery, and other related costs may be covered.
- Current and future lost wages: If the injury sustained causes the pedestrian to miss time at work, they may recover compensation for the money they would have earned, had the accident not occurred.
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish: Accidents can also cause psychological and emotional pain, such as depression or anxiety.
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses: If the victim of a pedestrian accident died, surviving family members might seek compensation to cover funeral costs under a wrongful death claim.
In some cases, the court may also award punitive damages.
What Should You Do if You Have Suffered a Pedestrian Accident?
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, the first and most important step is to obtain medical treatment. Even if you think your injuries are minor, you should not delay treatment. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, proof of proper diagnosis and treatment is essential; more importantly, serious conditions may not present symptoms until the days or weeks following a collision. Following your accident, if possible, 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. If you cannot do so, ask someone else to do it on your behalf. After the accident, avoid discussing the accident with anyone except for law enforcement officers, medical personnel, and your attorney. Resist the temptation to post pictures or comments about the accident on social media. Do not accept settlement offers or sign documents without first obtaining legal advice.
Were You in a Pedestrian Accident in Orlando?
Pedestrian accidents can happen to anyone at any time, and liable parties must be held accountable. All states have a statute of limitations, which limits the time you have to file a lawsuit. If you have been injured as a pedestrian in Orlando, it is important to consult an experienced, dedicated pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. Our personal injury attorneys can review your case and discuss your legal options. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.
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