Tallahassee isn't just the capital city of Florida but also a college town with more than 70,000 students attending Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College. These factors, combined with the year-round mild weather, make Tallahassee a vibrant city for pedestrians. Unfortunately, vulnerable pedestrians must share space near heavy traffic, making pedestrian accidents far too common.
If a pedestrian accident injured you or killed a loved one, a Tallahassee pedestrian accident lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. In that case, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can evaluate your case for free and explain the process of seeking compensation for your injuries or loss.
Many law firms are merely settlement mills where attorneys churn out a high volume of low-value cases and avoid the expense and hard work of litigation. Our legal team is devoted to fighting for the maximum compensation available for your claim whether that involves settlement negotiations or litigation.
Table of Contents
- Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
- Types of Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
- Pedestrian Accident Injuries Can Affect Every Facet of Your Life
- Seeking Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident
- Contact a Tallahassee Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Tallahassee
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are more than 150 pedestrian accidents each year in Leon County, resulting in more than 100 injuries and several deaths.
Between tourism and business brought to the capital, university students and others who take advantage of the relative ease and affordability of walking to nearby locations even during nighttime hours, the increase in alcohol-impaired driving that often accompanies college towns and sporting events, and the overall increase in traffic on the roadways, Tallahassee is among the most dangerous cities in the state for pedestrians.
Some of the areas of the city that the Tallahassee Police Department has identified as dangerous to pedestrians include:
- Monroe Street from Balsam Terrace to Callaway Road
- West Pensacola Street from Appleyard Drive to Flamingo Way
- West Tennessee Street from Tennessee Capital Boulevard to Anole Drive
- S. 90 from Macomb Street to Meridian Street
Motorist Actions that Result in Pedestrian Accidents
Many pedestrian accidents in Tallahassee occur as a result of careless or reckless actions of motorists, such as:
- Distracted driving. Driver distractions include anything that causes the driver to look away from the road (known as visual distractions), take their hands from the wheel (known as manual distractions), or draw their thoughts from the task of safe driving (known as cognitive distractions. One of the most dangerous driving distractions of all is texting and other use of a handheld device, as it is simultaneously a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction. In the seconds it takes for a driver to read or reply to a text, they can travel the length of a football field without looking at the road—plenty of time for a group to step off a sidewalk after a Seminoles game.
- Alcohol impairment. One of the unfortunate aspects of a town heavily inhabited by university students is the amount of alcohol-impaired driving in neighborhoods close to campus. Alcohol impairment creates significant deficits in drivers' skills to operate their motor vehicles safely, including tracking moving targets such as pedestrians, signal detection, speed and lane control, and the ability to make good driving decisions.
- Speeding. Speeding vehicles create several hazards for pedestrians. It not only offers less time for the driver to see a hazard such as a pedestrian crossing the roadway but also can increase the distance that the vehicle will travel after braking as the brakes will have to work harder to pull it to a complete stop. Additionally, it is harder for pedestrians to judge a safe gap in traffic to cross intersections that do not feature crosswalk signals if the vehicle is going faster than expected.
- Failure to yield. Florida law requires a driver approaching a pedestrian legally crossing an intersection to stop and allow the pedestrian to cross. All sides of an intersection are crosswalks, whether marked or not, unless the local government has posted signs prohibiting crossing. It is also illegal for drivers to pass other vehicles stopped at crosswalks. Also worth noting, however, is that pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way in Florida. They must yield if they face a red light and a steady DON'T WALK signal. If the sign is flashing, DON'T WALK, drivers must allow pedestrians to cross.
- Inattentional blindness. This term does not refer to a condition but rather how the brain prioritizes chaotic scenes such as busy intersections. A driver in a situation like that will generally focus on the most significant hazards around—such as large trucks or buses—while overlooking other roadway users such as pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists who are also present in the intersection. This can result in a driver turning into the path of a pedestrian crossing the road.
- Lack of visibility at night. Not all of the streets and intersections in Tallahassee have ample lighting for drivers to see pedestrians walking on the roadside or attempting to cross a roadway outside an intersection.
The Types of Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accident injuries are often severe due to the size discrepancy between a vehicle and a person and the speed at which the car is moving when the collision occurs. In recent years, traffic safety experts have seen a more significant number of pedestrians killed by SUVs and full-sized trucks as the hoods on these modern vehicle types are 24 percent taller than in 2000.
A taller hood not only places the point of impact on the pedestrian higher—increasing the risk of dangerous head and chest injuries—but also creates a frontal blind spot that makes it difficult for the driver to see pedestrians crossing directly in front of them quickly.
The most severe injuries to be sustained in pedestrian accidents are traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Both of these are considered catastrophic injuries due to the high likelihood that the sufferer will incur permanent disabilities that will impair their ability to earn an income.
The brain and the spinal cord make up the body's central nervous system, controlling voluntary movements and involuntary responses. Unfortunately, these parts of the body only have a limited ability to heal from damage.
Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are often secondary injuries in pedestrian accidents. This means they don't result from the impact itself but from what happens after impact, when the pedestrian is either thrown onto or against the vehicle's hood or thrown through the air and onto the ground.
Other types of pedestrian accident injuries that can be considered catastrophic include traumatic limb amputations, severe damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs that can result in instability in the spine, and the loss of vision or hearing resulting from the accident. Catastrophic injuries require a higher level of compensation to account for the loss of future earning capacity experienced as a result of physical disabilities.
Broken bones are extremely common in pedestrian accidents, mainly where the vehicle or ground struck the body. In sedan-type vehicles, the point of contact with an adult is generally in the legs, and broken bones in the lower extremity—including the legs, hips, and pelvis—are common. Additionally, many pedestrians suffer broken bones in the arms and hands due to the body's instinctive urge to outstretch the arms to "catch itself" when falling.
If the point of impact between the vehicle and the pedestrian is in the abdomen area—where it would likely be for a child or an adult struck by a higher profile vehicle—there is an extreme risk of damage to the internal organs. Internal injuries are hazardous, as they can result in dangerous blood loss that you cannot see without diagnostic imaging at the hospital.
Road rash refers to a deep skin abrasion caused by contact between the skin and a rough surface, such as asphalt. While this condition often heals with minimal treatment or scarring, the injury carries a risk of infection.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries Can Affect Every Facet of Your Life
A pedestrian accident can affect every facet of the sufferer's life, resulting in medical expenses, missed work, loss of future earning capacity, loss of the ability to enjoy activities and hobbies, and even the relationships the sufferer has with their family members.
When an individual dies in a pedestrian accident, it can leave a family deprived of the services and support that the deceased provided them, resulting in unpaid medical expenses along with the costs of funeral services and burial or cremation. It can also leave loved ones emotionally distressed and without the guidance and companionship the deceased provided to them.
While compensation will not take away a permanent injury or bring back the life of a lost loved one, it may help those injured and the family members of those killed attempt to move forward with their lives.
Seeking Compensation After a Tallahassee Pedestrian Accident
Most personal injury protection (PIP) policies that Florida requires upon registering a vehicle will also provide partial coverage of wage loss and medical expenses associated with pedestrian accidents resulting in injuries to the policyholder or other household members. Additionally, the policy provides a death benefit. This can provide early financial relief for the sufferer or family as they seek compensation from the at-fault driver's liability insurance policy through Florida's personal injury claims process.
The Personal Injury Claims Process
Most Tallahassee personal injury claims begin when the claimant's attorney submits a demand to the at-fault party's insurance provider. The insurance provider will generally assign a claims adjuster to the claim.
The adjuster's job is to protect the insurance company's bottom line by evaluating the claim details and determining the compensation owed to the claimant. It bears repeating: the adjuster works for the insurance company. Their job is to cut costs for the company by finding ways to reduce or eliminate payouts on claims. They have an interest in keeping the payout as low as possible.
Upon receiving the demand, the insurance provider can choose to pay the claim, deny the claim, or settle the claim. Out-of-court settlements are the most common resolution for personal injury claims. However, the initial settlement offer from the insurance company will not cover the claim's value. The claimant's attorney can negotiate with the claims adjuster to get them to increase their offer.
Suppose the insurance company fails to fairly compensate the claim either through paying its total value or making an offer that the claimant believes fairly reimburses them for the expenses and impacts of their injury or loss. In that case, you may file the claim can be filed in Tallahassee as a lawsuit.
Settlement negotiations usually continue even after you file the case. If you can't settle before the court date arrives, the claim goes to a judge or jury to determine. In Florida, you must file claims in court within four years of the accident.
Wrongful Death Claims
When an individual dies in a Tallahassee pedestrian accident, their family members can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of the loss through a wrongful death claim. This claim—filed by a personal estate representative on behalf of surviving family members—is similar to a personal injury claim. However, claimants only have two years after the date of the deceased's death to file the claim in court.
Contact a Tallahassee Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Let an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, help you understand the claims process in greater detail and answer your questions about your case for free by contacting us online or calling 850-790-5830.
2707 Killarney Way, Suite 205
Tallahassee, FL 32309
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