It should be safe for a pedestrian to walk down a sidewalk, use a crosswalk or walk along the shoulder of the road in Tampa, Holiday or anywhere in the state of Florida. But there were 490 pedestrian traffic fatalities in the state in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Only to California saw more pedestrian deaths.
Being hit by a car, truck or another motor vehicle often is caused by a driver’s negligence. When pedestrians are injured in accidents that were not their fault, they or their families are entitled to compensation for their losses.
Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities in Florida
In Florida, pedestrians have the right of way when a vehicle approaches them in a crosswalk. Even if there are no crossing signals, a driver is required to allow the pedestrian to cross a roadway once the pedestrian has stepped into a crosswalk.
But Florida law also requires pedestrians to yield to motor vehicles if they cross the street in any area that isn’t a crosswalk.
It is important for Florida residents to understand their responsibilities as pedestrians. Florida is a “comparative fault” state. This means that any personal injury claim will involve consideration of whether the pedestrian contributed even partially to the accident. So, a pedestrian who crossed in the middle of the block or darted out into traffic might have a reduced claim.
Because of comparative fault, having an attorney who will aggressively stand up for your rights is crucial in a pedestrian injury case in Florida.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents often occur because car drivers:
- Speed or drive too fast for conditions
- Drive while distracted by texting while driving or talking on a cell phone
- Drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs (drunk or drugged driving) or by fatigue (drowsy driving).
Any of these acts could cause a driver to hit someone who is legally in a crosswalk or simply walking or standing on a sidewalk or the shoulder of a road.
In some cases, a driver sees a pedestrian in a crosswalk but does not stop, thinking he or she can get past the pedestrian without hitting them.
Another unfortunate type of pedestrian accident occurs when a driver chooses to pass a stopped school bus and hits a child who is boarding or leaving the bus. Passing a stopped school bus is a violation of Florida law.
Holding Drivers Accountable for Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian hit by a car will likely suffer some form of injury, if not death. Depending on the vehicle’s speed, the pedestrian’s injuries could range from cuts and bruises to broken bones or catastrophic injuries. For instance, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injuries often result from pedestrian accidents.
A pedestrian can seek to recover through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage.
There are many ways to demonstrate a driver’s liability for a pedestrian accident. Possible evidence includes:
- Red light cameras or security cameras
- Event data recorders (“black boxes”)
- Police reports
- Accident scene evidence
- Eyewitness accounts.
Other records, including the driver’s cell phone records and debit or credit card receipts, can indicate the driver’s activities or whereabouts in proximity to the crash. These records may provide evidence of distracted driving, drunk driving or even fatigued driving.
In cases of hit-and-run or an uninsured motorist, an injured pedestrian would seek compensation through their own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
Contact Our Florida Accident Lawyers Today
Whether you are seeking to recover from a driver’s liability coverage or your own UM coverage, you should have an experienced legal team looking after your rights.
The Disparti Law Group, P.A.. is here to serve you. Contact us and receive a free case review today.
For More Information
- Pedestrians; Traffic Regulation, Fla. Stat. Ann. ch. 316.130 (2012), Florida General Statutes
- Pedestrians, Traffic Safety Facts, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration