No accident is simple, especially if insurance companies or lawsuits are involved. Since there are so many car crashes in Florida every year, though, there is a lot of information out there about what to do after an auto accident and how PIP comes into play.
Pedestrian accidents are a little more complicated. The driver (probably) has insurance, but (obviously) the pedestrian wasn’t using a car when they were hit. So what happens next? Is there PIP for pedestrians? Sort of.
Pedestrians Can Use PIP for Accident Coverage
If you have personal injury protection and you are a Florida resident, you can still file a claim with your auto insurance after a pedestrian accident. For fast and efficient compensation, it is best to file with your provider first, whether or not the other driver has PIP coverage.
If you do not have personal injury protection, you should start by filing a claim with the driver’s insurance provider. If the driver does not have personal injury protection, you can file a claim using uninsured motorist coverage.
Know that all of your medical bills and lost wages will not be covered by personal injury protection alone. Expect for PIP to cover 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages – and only then up to $10,000. If the car caused serious injury, that may end up being a drop in the proverbial bucket.
So what should you do? After PIP benefits are exhausted, you have a couple of potential options. First, if you possess other types of insurance coverage, you can see if it will help with your bills. For example, medical payment insurance will over expenses for accidental injuries that were not fully covered by PIP. Unfortunately, many people may not have that option – or even it won’t cover all of your damages. If you find yourself in this situation, you will likely need to file a claim claiming that the driver who hit you was negligent.
Suing Someone for Negligence in a Pedestrian Accident
When you sue someone for negligence, you can ask for compensation to cover things like lost wages, medical bills, and intangible damages like pain and suffering that resulted from the accident. Getting this compensation isn’t simple or straightforward, though, and you will definitely want to seek out the advice of an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.
Together, you will have to prove that the driver was behaving carelessly or recklessly. Was the driver speeding? Texting? Did they have their lights on? Would their past record lead the judge to believe that the driver is habitually reckless or careless? Your lawyer can help you build this case.
Something else to understand about personal injury claims in Florida is that it is possible that you might be held partially responsible for your own accident. For example, let’s say that the driver was speeding when they hit you, but that you entered into a crosswalk before the “Walk” light appeared.
Because both of you acted negligently, you are both partially responsible. Florida adheres to comparative negligence laws, which state that if a defendant (the driver) can prove that the plaintiff (you) was partially at fault for the accident, the plaintiff can still win the case, but their rewards will be reduced. These rewards will be based on a percentage of fault.
In other words, if you ask for $100,000 and win your claim, but you are also found to be 20 percent at fault, your actual compensation will only be $80,000.
If you work with a lawyer, they will be able to help you prepare for situations like that and possibly even come up with counter-arguments that prevent you from being assigned any fault whatsoever, as well as making the overall process so much more smoothly and increase your likelihood of winning your claim.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.