Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Serving Miami
When we step out of our homes to go to the grocery store or walk to the neighborhood park, we don’t expect to be struck by a car. After all, we are not going too far from home. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents happen when we least expect them.
We could even be hit by a vehicle while standing on the sidewalk, at a bus stop, or crossing the street at a crosswalk with a green light. When this happens, we may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party. The services of a Miami pedestrian accident lawyer can be of great assistance.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers is available to assist you with all the legal issues that arise from a pedestrian accident. Contact us if you or a loved one suffers injuries due to the carelessness of a motor vehicle driver.How Often Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7,000 pedestrians died in motor vehicle collisions in 2020. This amounts to one death every 75 minutes. Also, one in six people who died in auto crashes in 2020 were pedestrians.
The center reported that an estimated 104,000 pedestrians visited the emergency department to treat non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2020. That same year, Florida pedestrian accidents totaled 8,117, with over 700 fatalities. In addition, about 1,265 people suffered incapacitating injuries, while 5,039 sustained other wounds.
These numbers show that pedestrian accidents happen not only yearly but daily. Therefore, we must take precautions when on the road to avoid accidents. However, no matter how careful we are, collisions still happen, hence the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party.What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Miami?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 145 million adults now include walking as part of a physically active lifestyle. In addition, more than 6 in 10 people walk for fun, relaxation, exercise, or activities such as dog walking.
However, although walking has several health benefits, the more foot traffic there is on the road, the higher the chances of pedestrian crashes. As with other kinds of road collisions, this accident results from human error, which the law refers to as negligence.
Below, we discuss some of Miami's most common causes of pedestrian accidents.Left-Hand Turns
People risk being hit by cars making left turns at intersections. These crashes occur because drivers focus on oncoming vehicles to know if the road is clear to turn. As a result, they fail to watch for pedestrians.Distracted Drivers
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of traffic collisions. Daily, nine people in the United States die in crashes involving distracted drivers. While motorists are usually the number one culprits in accidents of this nature, the pedestrian could also be at fault.
For instance, a pedestrian may focus on texting while crossing the road and fail to do so within the designated crosswalk. In such a case, the pedestrian may step into the path of an oncoming vehicle, causing an accident.Unmarked Crosswalk
While most intersections have marked lines and designated crosswalks, some do not. As a result, a driver may fail to watch for pedestrians, resulting in an accident.Drunk Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32 people die in drunk driving accidents daily in the United States. This amounts to one person every 45 minutes. When drivers operate a vehicle while impaired, it affects their cognitive function and reduces their reaction time.
Consequently, they may fail to see a pedestrian crossing the roadway or veer off it and strike someone on a sidewalk. However, as with distracted driving, drivers are not the only ones that can be affected by alcohol. For example, a drunk pedestrian may jaywalk into the path of an oncoming vehicle, causing a collision.Speeding
Sometimes children and even adults suddenly appear on the roadway. In such an instance, a speeding driver may be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.
This is why motorists must maintain the speed limit in residential areas and places with heavy foot traffic. In Miami, the speed limit for most residential and business districts is 30 miles per hour.Failure to Yield
Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all times. Therefore, they must stop at designated crosswalks, use stop signs, and obey all traffic laws. Motorists must also avoid making illegal U-turns as they contribute to auto crashes.Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
The high fatality rate of pedestrian accidents lies with the body not being protected when struck by a speeding car. If the person is standing, the car can collide with their lower body, causing it to bend towards the vehicle. The upper body can then strike the vehicle’s hood or windshield alongside the head.
Next, the force of the collision can thrust the body forward into the air before landing on the ground. The distance from the collision point to where the body lands is the throw distance. The longer it is, the greater the likelihood of catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
Pedestrians can sustain different injuries from the point of the collision until their body lands on the ground. Some of these wounds include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries (strains, sprains, tears, and dislocations)
- Spinal cord injury
- Cuts and lacerations
- Road rash
Victims who survive a pedestrian accident may be eligible for financial compensation from the negligent party. If the pedestrian dies, their legal beneficiaries may commence a wrongful death action. Contact our pedestrian accident lawyers who serve Miami to know more about your rights to sue.What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
There are several steps those involved in a pedestrian accident should do immediately after an occurrence. It is also vital for the accident victim to preserve evidence for their best chance of successfully seeking compensation.
Below are steps to take immediately after a pedestrian collision.Stay Calm and Determine Injuries
Being hit by a motor vehicle is one of the most disturbing emotions anyone would experience. While it’s normal to feel frightened, it is essential to stay calm. If conscious, examine yourself for injuries.
If you notice any wounds, call 911 for help immediately. Sometimes doing this may be impossible, especially when the victim is unconscious. In such cases, it is up to the passersby or the vehicle driver to call for help.Call the Police
Having the police arrive at the crash scene is essential for documentation and establishing fault. If liability is in dispute, both parties can rely on the police report to determine who caused the accident. After the police conclude their investigation, you can request a copy of the police report or have our Miami pedestrian accident lawyer handle it.Gather Evidence
Most evidence needed to establish fault is available at the accident scene. Therefore, if you are conscious and can move, gather evidence. Take photos of the vehicle involved and any proof of what caused your injuries.
Next, take photos of your injuries and check to see if there’s a camera within the accident area. Depending on the crash location, there could be traffic, surveillance, or door cameras. While obtaining videos might not be possible immediately, request them within 24 hours of the accident to avoid the footage being deleted.
Also, keep the clothes you had on when the accident happened. It is a crucial piece of evidence that shows the crash’s impact and how hard you fell. Don’t forget to speak to witnesses for their recorded statements of events and contact information.
When you cannot gather evidence yourself, you still have three options. First, ask eyewitnesses for help, or second, wait for the police to conclude their investigation and request a copy of the report as it has key evidence. The third option is hiring a personal injury lawyer to investigate the crash and obtain the required evidence.Obtain the Driver’s Contact Information
Obtaining the driver’s contact information is crucial even in minor pedestrian accidents. This is because delayed injuries may appear later, and you may need to file a personal injury claim against the motorist. Therefore, obtain the driver’s name, contact information, insurance information, and license plate number.
While asking the driver for these details, don’t talk about fault; be cautious of what you say. This is because the driver may have been distracted, which caused them not to see you in time to avoid the accident. Allow your Miami pedestrian accident lawyer to speak on your behalf when possible.Seek Medical Treatment
Let the emergency medical responders treat your wounds, and if there’s a need for more extensive treatment, it’s recommended to go to the hospital. Although pedestrian crashes are more likely to end with catastrophic or fatal injuries, there are times when victims sustain minor wounds.
In such cases, it is still crucial to receive medical care. Some wounds, such as internal injuries or hemorrhages may not manifest immediately. A thorough check-up can detect further injuries and prevent fatal complications. Also, medical records are essential proof when seeking compensation from the at-fault driver.File an Insurance Claim
Florida law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. The coverage applies primarily to the policyholder, but it also covers pedestrians. Therefore, file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurer to seek monetary compensation.Hire a Miami Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Another step that victims are recommended to take is to obtain legal representation. It is noteworthy that it is beneficial to hire a lawyer before commencing the insurance claim process. Insurance companies are not on the side of victims, so they will do all they can to reduce claims. An experienced lawyer can level the playing field during negotiations.How Do I Prove Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
Being injured in a pedestrian accident does not mean you will seek compensation alone. Establishing fault and showing that the driver is the sole liable party is vital. To do this, you need to demonstrate the four elements of negligence.
You must show that the at-fault party:
- Owes you a duty of care
- Breached the duty of care
- The breached duty caused the injuries sustained
- The injuries resulted in damages
A driver would have breached their duty of care if they drove while distracted and failed to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. Note that all the elements of negligence must be present to recover.The Role of the Comparative Fault Rule
As mentioned when we discussed the causes of pedestrian accidents, there are times when you might be partly at fault for the collision. In such cases, the Florida comparative negligence rule will apply. Under this law, a victim’s settlement is reduced by the percentage of fault allocated to them.
For instance, suppose you were jaywalking when the accident happened. Then, you could be 30% to blame. As a result, you would only recover 70% of the compensation awarded. Therefore, for a $100,000 settlement award, you will recover $70,000.What Compensation Can I Recover in a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
There are two broad classes of compensation available to pedestrian accident victims. These are compensatory and punitive damages, explained below.Compensatory Damages
As the name implies, compensatory damages are awarded to compensate victims for their injuries and losses. They are grouped into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the monetary losses incurred from the accident.
These losses are tangible since they have a fixed dollar amount, making them easily calculable. Examples of economic damages are:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Cost of medical equipment
- Cost of rehab and therapy
- Cost of improvement on a residence
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses where the victim died
On the other hand, non-economic damages are intangible losses that are more difficult to calculate because they do not have a fixed dollar value. Examples are:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Disfigurement, etc.
Florida law does not cap how much victims can claim as non-economic damages for pedestrian accidents.Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are the opposite of compensatory damages. Rather than compensate the victim for their injuries and financial losses, it punishes the at-fault driver. As a result, insurance companies do not pay punitive damages.
Only courts award it, and the victim’s lawyer must have asked for it. Also, punitive damages serve as a deterrent to the liable party and others. However, it is only sought when there is clear evidence of willful or gross negligence.Is There a Time Limit for Filing My Pedestrian Accident Case?
Yes. Since there must be an end to litigation, the Statute of Limitations stipulates how long a victim has to commence their claim. In Florida, it is two years from the day the accident occurred. If you fail to file an action within this time, you will be statute-barred, and the courts will likely not entertain your claim.Do I Need to Hire a Miami Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
Sometimes, pedestrian accident victims believe they can handle their claims themselves. Although this is true, we often see people jeopardize their cases and start looking for an attorney to fix them. The person could have often done irreparable damage or signed a lowball settlement agreement.
Don’t let this be your story. Avoid falling for insurance company tricks and harming your case by contacting a Miami pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. Among other benefits, the attorney will ensure you do not file your claim after the allotted time.
Here’s what you can expect when you hire our services:
- Protect your rights
- Compassionate representation
- Case analysis, investigation, and legal advice
- File insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit or both
- Sit in on negotiations
- Argue your case in court
- We work on a contingency fee basis and offer complimentary initial consultations.
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.