Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
If you reside in Florida, especially in Fort Lauderdale, the pedestrian accident challenge is likely more serious than you’ve thought. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a person can be considered a pedestrian at any time of the day.
The agency reported that in 2020, 6,516 pedestrians were killed in traffic collisions, and an estimated 55,000 pedestrians were injured nationwide. Seeking compensation following a pedestrian accident can be complex. Taking precautionary measures and knowing what to expect can help.
When seeking the full compensation you need, having a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer on your side can be beneficial. Victims should focus on recovering while their lawyers handle the legal aspects of the case.Can I Claim Compensation for Pedestrian Accident?
Any victim injured by a vehicle while walking or standing on a sidewalk can seek compensation for their injuries. The first option for a settlement after a pedestrian accident is personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Additionally, Florida law allows certain categories of pedestrian accident victims to claim different types of compensation.
Florida’s $10,000 PIP coverage is required by Florida driving laws for vehicle registration. A pedestrian can also seek compensation from their vehicle’s PIP coverage for their medical expenses. Additionally, since Florida is a no-fault state, injured pedestrians don’t have to prove that the driver is responsible for their accident before seeking PIP benefits.
Your PIP may likely cover 80% of your immediate medical treatments. PIP can also cover 60% of wages lost due to time spent away from work. In addition, if someone loses their life in a pedestrian accident in Florida, PIP could cover $5,000 to the family.
However, PIP is often inadequate to fully compensate a victim. Fortunately, there are other legal options to seek adequate compensation.What if I Don’t Have a PIP or Own a Car?
If an injured pedestrian doesn’t own a PIP-insured vehicle, they face a challenge because PIP insurance only covers pedestrians whose vehicles are insured.
If the injured pedestrian doesn’t own a vehicle, there’s still a way for them to potentially benefit from PIP insurance. Florida law allows injured pedestrians to benefit from PIP if they live with a relative who owns a car and is insured.
There is also the case when the injured pedestrian doesn’t own a car and doesn’t live with a relative who is insured. In this case, the PIP of the responsible driver could cover a portion of the medical expenses and lost wages.Who Can Sue for Damages Beyond Florida’s PIP?
If a PIP compensation offer isn’t sufficient, you may be able to sue for damages. Firstly, however, you must prepare to prove that the driver was negligent or took wrongful actions that caused your injuries.
Not every injured pedestrian can file a personal injury lawsuit after benefitting from PIP. Florida law allows pedestrians who have suffered severe injuries to file a lawsuit. However, some conditions must be met for a pedestrian’s injury to be deemed severe.
The severe injury must lead to:
- The death of the pedestrian
- Cause a lifelong loss of a major body function
- Lead to a disability that medical experts predict will last for a lifetime
- Cause a lifelong disfigurement or a scar on the pedestrian’s body
Your attorney can lead the negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. During negotiations, the Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer will show that the driver was responsible for the accident. They will also prove that you deserve adequate compensation for your injuries. The attorney can fight for you in court if negotiations fail by filing a lawsuit.Florida Statute of Limitations for Pedestrian Accidents in Fort Lauderdale
There is a time frame within which you can take legal action for pedestrian accidents. Under Florida’s Statute of Limitations, the time frame begins from the day of the accident until the next four years. For pedestrian accidents that result in death, the law allows the family to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party two years from the date of death.
You should contact a lawyer as soon after the accident as possible to avoid missing any deadlines. However, if you aren’t sure you can still file a lawsuit, let a lawyer give you an expert and accurate opinion. Some exemptions to the Statute of Limitations may apply to your case.What Do I Do After a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accidents aren’t pleasant experiences by any means. Besides the resulting injuries, achieving mental clarity could take a while. Therefore, it is challenging to decide on what to do afterward.
You must take several actions right on the spot at the accident scene. These actions are crucial and will speed up your recovery and boost your chances of seeking financial compensation. These actions include:
- Go to a Safe Place if You Can
When a pedestrian accident occurs, the injured victim will likely find themselves on a surface. This could be the hard and hot surface of a tarred road. Unfortunately, the road isn’t the best place to be in after an accident. It’s less safe from oncoming traffic and could heat your body and worsen the pain. If you can, you should move to the safer sidewalk or a lawn (if there is one). Before you move, you must ensure it's safe for your health. Several kinds of injuries demand that the victim stay put where they are.
Even the slightest movement of the affected body part could worsen the situation. If you notice a slight resistance to your movement, remain stationary, and wait for help.
- Call 911
You will need all the help you can obtain after a pedestrian accident. If the people around the scene haven’t already called for help, you should if you can. Dial 911 to report the accident to emergency services. Afterward, the police and an emergency medical team should be on their way.
The police will do their job of filing a report. The police report is necessary and official documentation of the accident. It helps in proving liability when seeking compensation. When the police report backs up your account of the pedestrian accident, it's a plus.
Some information found in the police report includes the time, date, and location of the accident, the vehicle plate number of the driver, and the identity of the parties involved in the accident. The police report also contains other identification information such as names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information.
- Receive Emergency Treatment
On arrival, the emergency team will assess the extent of your injuries and provide first-aid care and other necessary treatments. You should allow the emergency medical team to attend to you even if we feel you don’t feel injured.
Many times, injuries may be internal and invisible. Also, the adrenaline rush could block out any feelings of pain for a while. Another reason why you should accept medical intervention is for the sake of your potential compensation claim.
In many cases, refusal to receive medical attention has harmed compensation claims. Insurance companies can argue that you didn’t accept treatment because you were not injured during the accident.
- Obtain the Driver’s Information
Another step you should take after a pedestrian accident is obtaining the driver’s information. If it’s a hit-and-run accident, try to take a good look at the other driver, the make, model, and color of the fleeing car, and the license plate number, if possible.
Also, it is important to know that the driver that hit you is a potential opponent. They are likely aware that they (or their insurance company) could owe you compensation. Therefore, they can find ways (including your words) to deny or reduce liability.
For this reason, you should watch what you say while interacting with the driver. Don’t be too conciliatory or play down the seriousness of your injuries in any way. Only receive their information and use as few words as possible.
- Obtain Eyewitness Information
You should not leave out eyewitness information either. Eyewitness testimony is a weighty record and will strengthen your compensation request. You should obtain the names and contact info of any eyewitnesses at the scene. This way, your lawyer can easily reach out to them to obtain their testimony.
- Gather Evidence
This is perhaps the most overlooked accident scene activity. Many people believe that gathering evidence is solely law enforcement's or the lawyers' responsibility. However, the scene of the accident, just after it has occurred, is the best chance of collecting relevant proof.
Photos, voice, and video recordings are crucial pieces of evidence. They can make a lot of difference in your compensation claim.
If you aren’t strong enough to take photos or record the accident scene, you can tell someone else to help you. Also, collecting accident scene evidence makes the compensation claims less strenuous and helps save time.
- Receive Comprehensive Treatment
The emergency medical services you receive at the scene of the accident aren’t usually sufficient. Even if your injury is minor, you should seek comprehensive treatment in a more equipped healthcare setting. A hospital will make better documentation of your injuries, prescribe medication, and provide rehabilitation assistance.
- Contact a Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
After a pedestrian accident, you should contact a lawyer involved as soon as possible. This seemingly unimportant step has saved many accident victims from losing out on their compensation.
Immediately after a pedestrian accident, insurance companies of the responsible driver can reach out to you with an offer. Unfortunately, these compensation offers are usually insufficient compared to what you deserve. Therefore, don’t speak to the insurance company directly; rather, have a lawyer handle them for you.What Compensation Is Available to Me After a Pedestrian Accident?
As we’ve seen, the damage pedestrian accident injuries cause isn’t only physical. There is an equally serious emotional and psychological aspect to it. Therefore, you must acknowledge these aspects when you file your pedestrian accident claim. You may be elegible to claim different kinds of damages after an auto-pedestrian collision.
The common ones are:
- Medical Expenses
Medical expenses are the most common damages from a pedestrian accident suit. As previously stated, the PIP pedestrian accident coverage is often insufficient. For people who have suffered severe injuries, the challenge becomes more unbearable.
No one should suffer for the inaction or wrongful actions of another, especially when it has resulted in a serious injury. To receive adequate compensation, your claim should contain every additional medical expense that PIP doesn’t cover.
- Lost Wages
Pedestrian accident injuries might make it impossible to show up for work. You may either be busy pursuing your claim or receiving treatment. Either way, employers are not obligated to pay for these periods. In the process, you lose out on what you could have earned in wages had the accident not occurred. Again, while the PIP covers a portion of the lost wages, in severe cases, PIP lost wages benefit could be extensive. Lost wages shouldn’t be missing from your pedestrian accident lawsuit if you want to recover adequate compensation.
- Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is a type of pedestrian accident damage that combines physical and psychological aspects. Pedestrian accident injuries mostly come with a lot of physical pain. Sometimes, this pain may last for a long time or even a lifetime.
The injured pedestrian may lose their ability to see, walk, or move other body parts. In other cases, limbs and arms can be cut off, and the pedestrian may be confined in bed for long periods. All these inflict a measure of both physical pain and suffering that could justify compensation.
- Loss of Future Income
Pedestrians who have suffered injuries from accidents can lose future earnings. In some cases, physical impairment can limit workplace productivity. For example, workers might lose their ability to perform certain roles or carry them out at the same level. When this happens, earnings can be reduced.
In other cases, the loss of body function can lead to a loss of employment. All these scenarios can lead to compensation by claiming future income damages.
- Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims can be filed if a pedestrian accident leads to a loss of life. The family or loved ones of the deceased can seek this compensation for their loss.
Also, several other types of pedestrian accident damages fall under a wrongful death claim. For example, the funeral cost, loss of companionship (especially if the deceased left a spouse behind), and loss of care and guidance are other claims that go along with a wrongful death claim.Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Away in Florida?
Part of the job of a pedestrian accident lawyer in claiming damages is proving that the driver was at fault for the accident. An important factor in identifying fault is the “right of way.” Florida has right of way laws that help resolve road usage disputes.
According to Florida law,
- When pedestrians cross the street at an intersection, they have the right of way. Therefore, every oncoming vehicle should wait for them to walk across.
- Pedestrians should only cross when the traffic light allows it. Likewise, pedestrians shouldn’t cross the road when the light states not to cross.
- Pedestrians should not enter crosswalks suddenly. Instead, they must give drivers enough time to notice their intention and adjust accordingly.
- “Don't Walk” signals only apply to pedestrians who cross the street after and not before the signal lights up.
Yes. A lawyer performs several functions, including:
- Protecting your rights
- Offering legal advice and creating a winning strategy
- Investigating the facts of a claim and gathering evidence
- Filing a compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit
- Negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Appealing unfavorable judgments
- Explaining legal terms and jargon
Injuries from pedestrian accidents do not only affect victims physically. There is, in many cases, more serious emotional and psychological damage. This is why we have been a dependable ally to pedestrian accident victims at Frank Kominsky Injury Lawyers for many years.
We do not only provide legal representation and assistance. We understand that one of the major needs of a pedestrian accident victim is a listening ear. Our clients receive nothing short of that.
We are ready to help assess your case, determine if it is meritorious, gather evidence, and represent you. We won’t leave any stone uncovered. We offer free consultations by appointment. If you are ready to begin the legal process, call us at (561) 800-8000 to schedule a time that works for you.