Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Serving Hialeah
Known as "The Sunshine State," Florida features great year-round weather that seems perfect for walking, jogging, or strolling. Many Florida residents prefer walking to work or school. However, a simple stroll could quickly turn into a tragic event.
Florida is among the most dangerous states for pedestrian accidents. Multiple pedestrian accidents happen daily in the United States, from joggers, employees heading to work, and distracted walkers. Sadly, incidents involving pedestrians sometimes result in life-threatening injuries.
An automobile-pedestrian collision can result in wrongful death in numerous situations. Survivors of car-pedestrian accidents may have devastating injuries such as fractured bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, back injuries, and lacerations that may result in lifelong scars. Victims are frequently unable to work, face growing medical expenditures, and struggle to make ends meet.
When a pedestrian accident results in injuries, a victim may seek compensation from the responsible driver. Our Hialeah pedestrian accident lawyers can help preserve your legal rights by building a solid case.
Read on to learn all about pedestrian accident laws in Florida.Who Is a Pedestrian?
Laws defining pedestrians differ from state to state. In Florida, a pedestrian is any person on or close to a roadway while:
- Traveling on foot: walking, jogging, or running.
- Riding roller blades, roller skates, or a skateboard.
- Riding a foot-powered scooter.
- In a wheelchair.
A person on a bike is not always considered a pedestrian. This area of law can be difficult to understand. The law considers bicycles on the road with other cars as human-powered vehicles. You can ride your bike on the sidewalk, but cyclists still have to give way to people on foot.
Knowing the differences between a car accident and a pedestrian accident involving a car is essential because the laws differ for each. Regarding car crashes, Florida is a "no-fault" state. If you are hurt, or your vehicle is damaged in an accident with only another vehicle, you will need to turn to your insurance to seek compensation.
If you are a pedestrian, you might be able to seek financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. Depending on the situation, the pedestrian may also be able to file a claim through their car insurance.
In Florida, if a pedestrian is hit by a car and is a state resident, the driver's personal injury protection insurance may pay for the pedestrian's medical bills. Medical costs for tourists are not covered in the same way. However, both residents and non-residents can sue.Florida Right of Way Pedestrian Laws
Unless otherwise ordered by a police officer, Florida pedestrians must follow any official traffic control devices. Traffic signs, signals, and pavement striping are examples of devices according to local pedestrian laws.
If a sidewalk is nearby, pedestrians should avoid using the street and use the shoulder of the road facing traffic if sidewalks are not available or are under construction.
Florida pedestrian laws on crossing roadways state pedestrians should:
- Follow traffic signals.
- Not leave the curb until traffic signals say so.
- Keep to the right half of the
- Cross roadways at a right angle or by the shortest distance unless on marked crosswalks.
- Cross an intersection diagonally unless ordered by a traffic control device.
- Not cross between two adjacent intersections unless using a marked crosswalk.
These and other laws help protect the lives of pedestrians and drivers on Florida roadways.Understanding Right of Way for Pedestrians
Vehicles should cede the right of way to pedestrians in numerous situations. Pedestrians are also expected to surrender the right of way to cars in certain situations. Pedestrians and drivers have a general duty of care in all situations. Therefore, they should always be aware of their surroundings and remain cautious.
Pedestrians have the right of way most of the time when they cross roadways at marked crosswalks or when they cross streets at junctions. If an intersection has pedestrian traffic signals, the pedestrian has the right of way when the sign indicates it. If there is no signage at the junction, the pedestrian has the right of way but should be cautious of vehicles that may not obey the law.
Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks as well if they are on areas of the highway that are not designed for vehicles, such as a paved shoulder when there aren’t any sidewalks.What Must I Prove to Seek Compensation for Florida Pedestrian Accidents?
Although they may seem simple, pedestrian accident claims are not open-and-shut cases. When a car hits a pedestrian, the vehicle's driver is not always to blame. It's possible that the driver, pedestrian, both driver and pedestrian, or a third party is to blame. Having legal representation can help protect the rights of the involved parties.
Victims must provide clear evidence of negligence in all injury cases. If another party's negligence causes the pedestrian accident, the victim can hold them accountable for the damages incurred.
Injured pedestrians must prove:
The person at fault owes a duty of care to the victim.
This element of a personal injury claim proves that the negligent party was obligated to operate as safely as possible given the circumstances. If the person at blame is a driver, state traffic regulations that require drivers to be capable and vigilant at all times serve as evidence of this obligation.
The defendant breached their duty of care.
Duty of care violations include carelessness, such as driving while distracted, speeding, disobeying traffic signs or signals, and driving under the influence.
The victim suffered injuries due to the at-fault party's carelessness.
Negligence alone is insufficient. The negligence must have directly contributed to the pedestrian's injuries. For instance, texting at the moment of the accident may be a direct cause, although sending a text three minutes before the accident is probably not a cause.
The victim sustained genuine injuries.
Victims must produce proof of the economic damages they incurred due to their injuries, including financial hardship, higher medical expenditures, permanent impairment, and other costs.
Proving negligence helps determine who is at fault for the car crash. Although most pedestrians file injury cases against the driver of the car that hit them, other parties who may have contributed to a pedestrian accident include:
- Local municipalities or city governments
- Product manufacturers
- Another entity or individual
- The pedestrian
Pedestrians that contribute to their injuries may be partially negligent. In such cases, the damages get reduced by a percentage proportional to their blame.
Florida law states that drivers must be more careful when driving in places where they know or should know that children are present. Parks, residential neighborhoods, or school zones are where this might occur.Common Florida Pedestrian Accidents
If a car traveling at a fast speed hits a pedestrian, they are more likely to have life-threatening injuries. A pedestrian may suffer fatal injuries in a collision with a vehicle traveling as slowly as eight miles per hour, depending on the angle at which the pedestrian's body hits the ground. Accidents between cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians are always risky, but the most prevalent types are:Intersection Accidents
These collisions can occur because a pedestrian tried to cross an intersection too rapidly and gave the motorist too little time to respond.Dart-out Accidents
Dart-out accidents happen when the pedestrian jumps out into traffic and the motorist does not have time to stop. This may occur through no fault of the pedestrian.Passing Accidents
Passing accidents happen when a bus or other vehicle stops to let people cross the street, and a careless driver cannot notice the pedestrians due to the obstruction. A pedestrian might be hit if the reckless driver tries to go around the stopped vehicle.Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents happen in parking lots as drivers back up without checking their blind spots for pedestrians.Vehicle Turns and Merge Accidents
These kinds of incidents typically occur while the motorist is preoccupied with performing other maneuvers, such as changing lanes or turning. Drivers frequently overlook pedestrians because they constantly switch their gaze between the road and the mirrors.Vendor Accidents
These incidences often happen on neighborhood streets when kids run to catch ice cream trucks, or people wait in line for food trucks.Top Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Whether walking or jogging, pedestrians should always follow pedestrian safety rules. However, pedestrians can't always be safe from a driver who isn't paying attention.
Thousands of American pedestrians die annually from car accidents. Most accidents involving a vehicle and a pedestrian are the driver's fault. Below are the top causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Distractions: If a driver looks away from the road, even for a second, they could hit something. Distracted driving is often caused by texting, eating, adjusting the radio, or looking in the mirror.
- Impaired driving: Anything that makes it difficult for someone to think clearly can make driving dangerous. People who are intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs may not be able to react quickly or see well enough to avoid pedestrians.
- Failure to give way: Cars must give way to people walking on crosswalks. It is against the law for cars to drive dangerously close to people on crosswalks.
- Turning at a crosswalk: When the walk signal is on for pedestrians, cars on the street next to the crosswalk should be cautious in case the walking lights malfunction.
- Reversing drivers: Back-up cameras and other safety features can help keep drivers from being involved in accidents while backing up.
- Speeding: Drivers who go over the speed limit may not be able to stop in time if a pedestrian crosses the street in front of them. When a car crashes, the injuries can worsen if the vehicle goes faster.
Unlike drivers and passengers who are protected from the impact of a vehicle’s safety features, pedestrians are often exposed to the full effect of a crash. Pedestrians usually suffer severe injuries such as:
- Soft tissue injuries: These kinds of injuries occur to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Most pedestrians sustain soft tissue injuries after an accident. Even though these injuries are considered minor, they can cause long-term pain and suffering without timely medical care.
- Fractures and broken bones: Bone injuries are common in pedestrians involved in an accident. These kinds of injuries can be very painful and may need surgery to help a person recover.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): In accidents between cars and pedestrians, head injuries are one of the most common reasons for long-term disability and death. Some people can recover quickly after a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury in an accident, but others with worse TBIs may need extensive medical care for the rest of their lives.
- Spine and back injuries: Since a car does not protect pedestrians, they are more likely to have a severe injury such as a spinal cord injury. Car accidents are one of the most common reasons people injure their spinal cords. Spinal injuries can cause paralysis, trouble breathing, and loss of control over bodily functions. Victims may have to pay a lot for medical care, depending on the injury's severity.
Our Hialeah pedestrian accident lawyers can help victims seek the compensation they deserve (by appointment only).Compensation for Injuries in Florida Pedestrian Accidents
Individuals injured in a pedestrian accident may seek non-economic, economic, and possibly punitive damages.
Economic damages are payments for monetary losses that can be objectively proven, such as past and future medical costs, loss of past and future earnings, loss of use of property, costs of repair or replacement, the economic value of domestic services, and loss of employment or business opportunities.
Non-economic damages are compensation for subjective, non-monetary losses. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages may be awarded to punish negligent behavior or malicious actions. Punitive damages are neither economic nor non-economic damages because they are not provided to compensate for loss.
Family members of pedestrians killed in an accident can file a wrongful death lawsuit.Steps to Take After a Pedestrian Accident in Florida
What a person does after an accident can significantly affect how well someone can protect their physical and financial recovery. Immediately after an accident, victims may not know if they must sue the person who caused the damage for compensation.
Following these steps improves the likelihood of a successful result in a pedestrian accident case:1. Call 911
After being injured in a car accident, pedestrians should call the police right away and tell the truth about how the accident happened. Be cautious not to say anything that claims you were at fault. The other person's insurance company will use any police reports to determine who was at fault for the accident based on who was cited in the accident report.2. Seek Medical Care
A hurt pedestrian's responsibility is to seek medical help immediately. Don't assume that someone else will call for help. If a victim waits too long to see a doctor, it will be more difficult for them to prove that the injuries are related to the accident.3. Ask for Information
All involved parties should obtain as much information as possible before leaving the accident scene. These include:
- The name and contact details of the officer
- Copies of the police report or directions on how to obtain a copy
- Name, license plate number, and insurance information of the driver
- Witnesses' names and contact information
If victims are feeling well enough, it is best to take some photos of any visible injuries, the accident scene and area around it, and any property damage. Photos are the best way to clearly illustrate what happened and who was at fault in an accident.5. File an Insurance Claim in Time
Time is a critical factor when filing insurance claims. The statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims in Florida is two years after the pedestrian accident, and the deadline for filing a wrongful death claim is two years.6. Keep Accurate Expense Records
Accident victims should keep track of all the money they spend because of the accident. Medical bills will show how much their injury, pain, and suffering have cost. Having proof of lost wages and other out-of-pocket costs related to the accident will also help victims seek fair compensation.7. Hire a Hialeah Pedestrian Attorney
Talking to a lawyer helps victims figure out what to do next with the driver’s insurance company and driver when involved in a pedestrian accident. Depending on what happened, victims may also be able to file a claim against the city or town government.Discuss Your Negligence Claim with an Attorney
If you have been harmed because of someone else’s carelessness, there is no substitute for having dedicated legal representation on your side. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we are committed to helping injured victims. Our firm has over 40 years of combined experience handling accident and injury cases, and we know what it takes to try and prove a negligence claim. You can expect the utmost respect and professionalism from our licensed attorneys and legal staff.