West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
One way to enjoy the views of West Palm Beach, Florida, is by walking on the beach or on a sidewalk. There's a lot of hospitality and comfort you don't want to miss in the city's warm climate and fun sights. However, accidents can happen anywhere, so you should always be cautious as a pedestrian.
If you have been injured in this kind of accident, a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer is ready to help you fight for justice. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we help injured pedestrians seek compensation from at-fault parties. Contact us to learn how we will help you with our services.Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in West Palm Beach
There are numerous ways pedestrian accidents can occur in West Palm Beach, FL. However, there are some common causes:Driving under the influence
To date, driving under the influence is a major cause of pedestrian accidents. Every day, about 32 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that's one person every 45 minutes. In 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths — a 14% increase from 2019.
West Palm Beach is busy, so driving through the city requires utmost care and alertness. Unfortunately, driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs impairs one's mental alertness.
Intoxicated drivers struggle with blurred vision. Additionally, drivers lose the ability to make sound decisions on the road, disobeying traffic lights and disregarding crosswalks. Therefore, they become prone to causing pedestrian accidents.Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is another major cause of pedestrian accidents in West Palm Beach. Some drivers hold the steering wheel with one hand and use their mobile phones in the other. Eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, and looking at something else are also different examples of a driver who can be distracted.
West Palm Beach roads can be unpredictable. Drivers can lose concentration, even for a few seconds, which can be dangerous. For this reason, it is standard advice that drivers avoid making phone calls, sending text messages, or operating their mobile phones while driving.
Pedestrians could also be distracted on the sidewalks and crossways. For example, pedestrians could be prone to accidents if they become distracted while operating their mobile phones. Additionally, walking across a street with headphones on can block out the sound of an oncoming vehicle.
Distracted driving could also cause pedestrian accidents to occur in parking lots. When a driver reverses their car, they should look at all of their surroundings. Pedestrian accidents can result when a driver backs up into an unsuspecting person.Impatient Driving
In a busy city such as West Palm Beach, driving requires a lot of patience, especially because pedestrians have the right of way. Unfortunately, many pedestrian accidents occur when drivers are not patient enough to obey traffic stop signs or watch out for pedestrians on crosswalks.Poor Visibility
Many pedestrian accidents happen due to poor visibility. Weather conditions hinder drivers from having a good view of the road. Sun glare, smoke, and fog can all limit road visibility.
When drivers have visibility challenges, they may not identify a pedestrian crossing the road or see a crosswalk ahead. Another reason for poor visibility is nighttime driving because streets may be poorly lit.
To compound this challenge, pedestrians may also have dark clothes on. Even on well-lit roads, many drivers cannot see very clearly. Wearing dark clothing can make pedestrians blend into the darkness and become invisible to drivers.Slippery Roads
When roads are wet and slippery after downpours, drivers struggle to stop their vehicles on time. Additionally, wet sidewalks can be slick, causing pedestrians to fall on the road and onto the path of an oncoming car.Road Construction
When a part of the road is under construction, pedestrian accidents are usually higher. This is because pedestrians may walk on portions of the road near traffic.Over Speeding
Driving at high speeds increases the likelihood of pedestrian accidents. Drivers should drive at speeds that are safe for other road users. Otherwise, drivers sometimes cannot stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian.Who Pays My Bills After a Pedestrian Accident in West Palm Beach?
People can be injured while walking or even standing at a bus stop in West Palm Beach. If you are struck by a car, you may wonder who is responsible for footing the medical bills. Thankfully, Florida law has it covered.
Florida law says that every vehicle owner that drives needs insurance coverage. This coverage is called personal injury protection (PIP). A PIP coverage must carry a minimum of $10,000. If you are injured in an auto accident, your insurance company, through your PIP, is responsible for covering your medical bills.
One important feature of Florida's PIP system is that you do not need to prove that the driver was responsible for the accident. As a result, everyone who suffers an injury can benefit from PIP.
While many other states do not make PIP a requirement, Florida does. The reason is that Florida is a "no-fault" state. A no-fault state allows injured accident victims to access treatment funds from their insurance companies on time.Can Pedestrian Accident Victims Benefit From PIP?
Yes. As mentioned, if you have been involved in an accident as a pedestrian, you can receive PIP benefits.
However, your injury must have resulted from an accident involving a car. Also, a pedestrian accident does not require direct contact with a vehicle. As long as the car played a significant role in causing your injury, you may deserve PIP benefits.Can I Sue the Responsible Party for Damages?
Remember that your insurance company's PIP policy covers your expenses after an accident. However, there are limits to the amount of compensation you can receive which can be quite problematic. PIP benefits may not be sufficient to cover your costs.
PIP might only cover about 80% of your medical expenses such as hospitalization, medical examination, and transportation under $10,000. This is also only if your injury is an emergency medical condition (EMC).
For your injury to qualify as an emergency medical condition, it must be severe enough to threaten your health. An EMC can potentially endanger bodily functions or cause a disability if left untreated. If your injury isn't an EMC, your PIP benefits may be $2,500.
But that's not all.
Besides medical care, PIP will also pay for lost wages, disability, and death benefits. However, PIP benefits do not cover non-economic benefits such as pain and suffering.
These restrictions can be very disadvantageous. Fortunately, there are other options available to you.Can I Sue Outside Florida's No-Fault System?
If you want to step out of the limitations and believe your injury qualifies as a “serious injury,” you have this option. Note that Florida law classifies injuries according to their severity. Therefore, only the most severe injuries qualify as serious.
You can only file a personal injury claim if your injury is severe. However, you should keep in mind that this classification is open for interpretation. Therefore, even when your injury isn't a clear-cut severe injury, it is left to your lawyer to prove with relevant proof that it meets the qualifications.
For an injury to be deemed severe under Florida law, it must meet the following conditions:Death
If a pedestrian accident results in death, the victim's family can file a wrongful death claim. Our West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyers can handle this kind of claim and help you seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses alongside other incurred damages.Permanent Injury
If a pedestrian accident victim suffers an injury that will last for the rest of their life, they can sue for damages. Spinal cord injuries, crush injuries, and traumatic brain injuries are examples of permanent injuries.Permanently Losing the Ability to Perform a Body Function
A disability that arises from a pedestrian accident can qualify as a severe injury. Examples of permanent loss of body functions include limb loss and loss of sight.Permanent Disfigurement or Scars
Bruises from pedestrian accidents can lead to scars. Body parts may also have permanent disfigurements after an accident. These injuries could be severe enough to warrant a personal injury lawsuit under Florida law.What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, you must make the right decisions at the scene. Making the wrong move could pose significant risks to your health and compensation claim. Here's what you should do after a pedestrian accident:Find a Safe Spot
After the crash, the first thing you should do is find a safe spot. A collision could throw you to an unsafe portion of the road where you stand the risk of being hit by another motorist. You could also land on hot pavement that could burn your skin. However, before you move, make sure your injury isn't severe. If it is, you should remain where you are. Any further movement could worsen your condition.Call 911
Usually, witnesses call the police after an accident. If they haven't, then you can make the call to have an emergency medical team and the police arrive at the scene. The police are responsible for creating an official report of the accident. The police report can be very helpful when filing a personal injury lawsuit.Receive Emergency Treatment
It is common for pedestrian accident victims to think they are unhurt. Adrenaline can block feelings of pain from an injury, making an accident victim unaware of their injuries. Even if you aren't injured, it is recommended to have the medical team decide.
Additionally, accepting medical attention is advantageous for your compensation claim. If you reject medical attention and later decide to file a personal injury claim, the responsible party's insurance company could capitalize on your decision. The insurance company can argue that you refused to receive medical attention because you did not suffer any injuries due to the accident.Collect Details of the Responsible Motorist and Witnesses
You should obtain the contact information of the responsible motorist if they remain at the scene. Information such as the vehicle's license plate, color, and model is vital to your personal injury claim. If the driver has fled the scene, witnesses can help you with this information.
Another source of information you should write down is the driver's insurance details. Having the driver's information helps you trace their insurer. Also, try to obtain the contact information of any eyewitnesses. A witness's testimony can help prove your claim.Collect Evidence From the Accident Scene
The accident scene usually holds enough evidence to swing a personal injury lawsuit in your favor. If you can, take photographs and video recordings of the accident scene. If you are too hurt to do so, ask someone to help you if you can.
All information about the crash can help you win your suit or recover merited compensation. Florida law awards compensation based on the degree of fault. These sources of evidence can prove that the driver is more at fault for the accident than they claim to be.Call a West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
It is well-advised that you contact an attorney after a pedestrian accident. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge about the specific Florida laws that apply to your case. Your attorney can be your best advisor on what to do next.
An attorney will have also gained valuable experience from handling other cases similar to yours. Finally, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, the opposing side will likely have legal representatives themselves.Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
Fault refers to the level of one's responsibility in an accident and is a key concept in Florida personal injury cases. This is because Florida operates on a comparative negligence system.
Negligence insinuates that the driver acted inappropriately behind the wheel. The comparative negligence law states that people injured in accidents can receive compensation based on their degree of fault.
For example, if you deserve $100,000 in compensation after a pedestrian accident, your degree of fault determines the percentage that your outcome will be. For example, if the court finds that you are 40% at fault, your award will be reduced by 40% and you will be left with $60,000.
To prove that the driver is at fault, you must show that they caused the accident intentionally or were careless in their driving.What Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
If you secure the services of a pedestrian accident lawyer, here are the responsibilities they can perform for you.Carry Out Investigation
A pedestrian accident lawyer can investigate to find out how the accident occurred. Among other information, a lawyer can review the faults of the parties involved and determine if you need to hire an investigator.Gathering Evidence
If you were too injured to obtain enough evidence from the accident scene, your lawyer could do so. Your attorney needs all the evidence they can to build a strong case before the driver's insurance company or the courts. The police report, one of the most influential pieces of evidence, can do a lot. Lawyers typically obtain police reports faster than someone that isn’t a lawyer.Talking to Witnesses
Your lawyer will also interview witnesses to receive their account of the accident. Then, if possible, they can secure their presence in court to give their testimony.Talking to Insurance Companies
You can seek compensation outside PIP without going to court. Instead, your lawyer can meet with the insurance company of the driver who is at fault to discuss a potential settlement. Your lawyer can illustrate how you deserve to be compensated so that you have the best chances of a fair outcome.Filing a Lawsuit
If your lawyer and the insurance company fail to reach an agreement, you can file suit. The process of filing a lawsuit can be tedious. However, with the experience and skills of your lawyer, you shouldn't be too concerned with the legal process, as they will take care of the legal matters.
Your lawyer will file the necessary paperwork, secure a date for the hearing, and represent you in court. Your attorney will also illustrate the relevant evidence so you can seek the full compensation you deserve.Do You Need Expert Legal Representation? Our West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help
Pedestrian accidents could be devastating and life-altering. If your PIP isn't enough to cover the damages, you could be left to suffer for someone else's mistakes. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we help victims seek legal justice.
Our legal team has succeeded in helping pedestrian accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. Our expertise and years of experience make us qualified to help you too. Call us now at (561) 800-8000 to speak with one of our attorneys.