Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The sunshiny weather in Florida seems perfect for walking, jogging, running, or strolling. Many kids and adults here prefer walking to their school and work. However, there are instances when a simple walk under the sun can turn into a tragedy. Recently, there have been many Florida pedestrian accident cases reported. Pedestrian accidents happen as a result of a mishap between a pedestrian and any type of vehicle, may it be truck, bus, car, motorcycle, or bicycle.
Are pedestrian accidents really common in Florida?
Nationwide, fourteen percent of all road deaths in 2013 resulted from pedestrian accidents. This indicates that pedestrian accidents are more prevalent than what the society thinks. Seventy-three percent of pedestrian accidents happen in dense urban areas where there are more people on the streets and drivers get easily distracted.
According to 2013 national statistics, out of the 32,719 fatal road accidents reported, 4,735 pedestrians have been killed. The statistics also show that men have more than 60 percent chance of being in a pedestrian accident compared to women. Around 49 percent of the reported accidents have been caused by drunk driving. These accidents usually happen at night. This is why darkness is one of the main factors contributing to pedestrian accidents. Florida is the top 3 state with the highest pedestrian fatality rate, which is around 3.23 per 100,000 people. In 2013, 476 pedestrian fatalities have been reported in Florida. This makes up 20% of all the pedestrian fatalities in the country for that year.
What are the laws governing pedestrian accident and safety?
According to Florida Statute 316.003, a “pedestrian” is simply anyone who moves along the streets on foot. There are many laws in Florida that deal with pedestrian accidents and safety. Both the pedestrians and drivers can be held liable when they violate laws on the road. They have equal rights to use the roadway, so they have a duty to respect and observe each other.
Drivers are required to exercise due care towards pedestrians. He is required to avoid a collision and give a warning if necessary, especially to children and incapacitated person. If the driver fails to meet this duty due to negligence or disobedience to the law, he will be held liable for all the physical, mental, and emotional damages of the accident.
The driver can also face criminal charges such as vehicular homicide or reckless driving resulting in serious physical injuries. Reckless driving is different from simple negligence. For example, if the driver has not been able to see the pedestrian because of darkness, he may not be charged with a criminal violation. However, if the driver hits the victim because of drunk driving, he can face criminal charges. Drivers are responsible for driving with a proper licence and obey traffic laws. If they see a pedestrian suddenly crossing the street, they are responsible for avoiding any collision. This is despite the fact that drivers also have right of way. However, in the case of accidents, pedestrians should prove that the driver failed to stop in time to avoid the impact even if he has the opportunity to do so.
Drivers are also required to be extra careful with child pedestrians. Children get special protection under Florida’s pedestrian rules. Drivers have a higher responsibility to observe careful measures when he knows that children are on or near the street. This is usually applied to places like schools or parks. Road signs instruct drivers to slow down.
Pedestrians can also be found at fault for road accidents. However, they would have to face non-criminal traffic violations instead of criminal charges. For example, if a person jaywalks and is suddenly hit by a car, the driver might not be held responsible because there is also a violation of the pedestrian’s part. Pedestrians are required to obey stop signs, traffic lights, and traffic enforcers. They should use the designated sidewalks, footbridges, and crossing lanes. Most of the times, the fault can be found on both the side of the driver and the pedestrian. There are also cases where the fault is on the dangers of the road itself.
How can I file a complaint?
If you or your family member has been hit by a vehicle, you have the right to sue the vehicle’s driver and ask for damage compensation. You may be able to get compensation for medical expenses after the accident, lost wages, or funeral fees in case of death. However, you should prove first that there are negligence and disobedience to the law on the part of the vehicle’s driver.
In cases where the cause of the accident is hazardous road condition, there will be limits on how you can sue the authorities who are responsible for maintaining the road.
Proving negligence or disobedience to law is the most important part of filing a complaint. You should have evidence that the driver has not followed the safety precautions that have been mentioned above. You can use police reports, CCTV road footages, and witness testimonies to prove your claim. On the other hand, the defending party can also use these evidence to prove that you have also violated a law.
If you win the case, compensation fees may vary depending on the extent of the damages caused by the accident. Serious physical injuries such as disfigurement, paralysis, or in worst cases, death, would lead to higher settlement fees. With these injuries, you can get a settlement for non-physical damages such as suffering, depression or trauma. Meanwhile, if your injury is not life-long debilitating, you can still get damage compensation but only for lost wages and medical bills.
If you have a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, the insurance company may pay for the damages. If the driver who hit you has PIP, his company might also pay you. Determining the compensation is usually done after the court has decided who is at fault for the accident. It is highly recommended for you to consult a personal injury lawyer before filing a complaint. Personal injury lawyers can give you advice on which actions you should take to get due compensation. They can help you win the case given proper evidence.
Other articles you might be interested in:
Beyond Looking Both Ways: Child Pedestrian Safety
Ft. Lauderdale Pedestrian Killed After Car’s Breaks Fail
$1 Million Settlement