Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Fort Lauderdale
Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Are Committed to Representing Injured Clients in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Across Florida
Whether you regularly walk to work or just occasionally park your car and walk to a downtown location, you have been a pedestrian at some point in time. And with year-round warm weather and vibrant cities that encourage exploration, Florida should be the perfect place to be a pedestrian.
Sadly, that’s not the case. Of the five worst cities for pedestrian accidents, four of them – Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami – are right here in the Sunshine State. It’s not exactly a ranking our state should be proud of.
Of course, it’s not just Florida that has a problem with pedestrian accidents. Nationwide in 2010, there was a pedestrian death every two hours and a pedestrian injury every eight minutes. In 2011, while the number of car crashes decreased, the number of pedestrian accidents went up.
When pedestrians are involved in an accident with a motorcycle, car, or truck, the results are often horrifying. Even vehicles traveling at relatively low speeds can do serious damage, and the pedestrian fatality rate nearly doubles when vehicle speed increases from just 25 to 35 mph. Those pedestrians who do survive an accident with a larger vehicle often suffer bad injuries that require expensive medical treatment and a long time to recover – if they ever fully do. If you or a loved one has been a pedestrian in a traffic accident in South Florida, call Lawlor, White & Murphey to learn more about the compensation you may be entitled to.
Why Are There So Many Pedestrian Accidents in Florida?
After reading the statistics above, you may be wondering why there are so many pedestrian accidents every year, especially in Florida. There are a number of potential factors at play, many of which are interconnected. A few major reasons for these accidents include:
- Distracted drivers. Florida has banned texting while driving, but it’s only a secondary offense and the fine is low enough that the law isn’t much of a deterrent. Texting isn’t the only potential distraction for drivers, either. Talking on the phone, fiddling with GPS settings, putting on make-up, turning to talk to a passenger in the back seat – anything that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, may cause them to miss seeing a pedestrian in their path.
- Alcohol. Because alcohol impairs judgment and slows reaction time, a drunk driver may not be able to react in time to a pedestrian crossing the road, may not see the pedestrian, or may swerve off the road because they can’t control their car. Drunk driving is a problem nationwide, but it is particularly bad in Florida’s big cities, where the thriving nightlife may result in people getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.
- Lack of pedestrian safety education. Both drivers and pedestrians put themselves at greater risk of getting into an accident by not understanding the rules of the road as well as general safety precautions. For example, some pedestrians may assume that because they are entering a crosswalk with the signal, they will be safe. In reality, pedestrians should always look in both directions before crossing, even when they have the right of way. Likewise, drivers need to realize that it is the law to stop at crosswalks and flashing red lights to let pedestrians cross.
- City infrastructure. With high speed limits and not enough pedestrian-specific walkways, there are some urban areas in Florida that put pedestrians at risk simply because they are not able to stay far enough away from vehicle traffic. Walkers or joggers who travel along the side of the road in the same direction of traffic are at an increased risk for being hit by a car or truck.
- Limited visibility. Individual pedestrians are a lot smaller than motor vehicles and can be particularly hard to see after dark or at dusk. Additionally, drivers may not be looking for pedestrians as they back out of a parking space or driveway, or may not see a pedestrian entering the intersection as they make a turn.
What Kinds of Injuries Do Pedestrians Suffer?
The impact of a vehicle hitting a body at even just 20 or 25 miles per hour can cause debilitating injuries, and a high speed collision almost always results in death for the pedestrian. Some common injuries that those pedestrians who live may experience include:
- Road rash. Some of a pedestrian’s skin may be scraped off against the rough pavement, leaving the area raw and potentially bleeding. Road rash can get worse if it becomes infected, and anyone who experiences severe road rash should seek medical attention.
- Blood loss. If victims are cut in the collision with a vehicle or the skin is punctured by protruding bones or other causes, they may lose a significant amount of blood quickly.
- Broken or fractured bones. Pedestrians can break bones either from colliding with a vehicle or the pavement. Even hairline fractures can be excruciatingly painful, and the pelvis, sternum, ribs, and skull may all be fractured in bad accidents.
- Brain injuries. People who suffer a brain injury in a pedestrian accident may find that their ability to think, reason, and remember has been diminished, or that they can no longer perform basic functions on their own and require long-term care.
- Spinal cord injuries. If a pedestrian’s spinal cord is crushed in a traffic accident, they may become paralyzed in the legs, upper body, or both.
Get a Florida Accident Attorney on Your Side
Being in a pedestrian accident or losing a loved one in this way can be devastating, and you may not even know where to turn next. In addition to attempting to recover, you may also be struggling with medical expenses, the loss of the ability to earn an income, or even funeral expenses. During this difficult time, you shouldn’t have to worry about your financial situation on top of everything else.
Lawlor, White & Murphey is here to help the victims of negligent or reckless drivers. We work on a contingency basis, meaning that our clients pay nothing until we recover the compensation they deserve. Schedule a free consultation with us today.
Pedestrian Accidents Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQ: What should I do immediately following an accident with a pedestrian?
If you’ve been in an accident with a pedestrian, the first thing you should do is to check if anyone involved in the accident requires medical attention. If people require medical attention, once emergency responders have arrived on scene, if possible you should take photographs of the accident scene, including road lines, traffic controls, and the weather and lighting conditions. You should avoid speaking with any insurance adjusters who arrive on the scene without first conferring with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, who can help you understand your legal rights and options following a pedestrian accident and advise you on how to best protect your interests.
FAQ: What are some common causes of pedestrian accidents I should be on the lookout for?
Some of the common causes of pedestrian accidents that our attorneys have seen include distracted drivers, speeding, drivers operating their vehicles under the influence, drivers failing to stop or yield to pedestrians, drivers failing to observe a pedestrian while making a right-hand or left-hand turn, or drivers impacting a pedestrian while backing their vehicle up. Other causes of pedestrian accidents include lighting conditions and weather conditions that can make it difficult to see pedestrians.
FAQ: Is there a statute of limitations for filing my pedestrian accident case?
Yes. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for compensation. If a minor is injured in a pedestrian accident, he or she has seven years from the date of his or her accident to file a lawsuit.
FAQ: Who is at fault in a pedestrian accident?
The party or parties that may be at fault for a pedestrian accident depend on the facts and circumstances of the accident. In most pedestrian accident cases, the driver of the vehicle that hits a passenger is found to be at fault for the accident, usually because the driver is speeding, driving carelessly or recklessly, or fails to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian. However, other parties may be at fault for a pedestrian accident, such as a bicyclist who forces a pedestrian to jump into the street to avoid the bicycle. Or the pedestrian may be partially at fault for the accident himself or herself if he or she fails to follow the laws governing pedestrians’ use of the roads.
FAQ: Can I go to jail for hitting a pedestrian?
Yes, depending on the circumstances of the accident. If you hit a pedestrian and leave the scene without rendering assistance to the pedestrian, you can be charged with a hit-and-run. Hitting a pedestrian while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also result in a charge of DUI. Causing a pedestrian accident while driving recklessly could potentially lead to an assault-by-auto charge. Finally, if a pedestrian dies due to injuries suffered in a pedestrian accident, the driver can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
FAQ: What is the “law of negligence?”
A person is negligent when he or she owes a duty of care to another person (in the context of pedestrian accidents, both drivers and pedestrians owe duties to one another to use the roads together with care and in accordance with the law) and then breaches that duty of care. If the person’s breach of his or her duty of care is a direct and proximate cause of injury to another person and that person suffers compensable damages, then the breaching party is considered negligent.
FAQ: Can both the driver and the pedestrian be at fault?
Yes. Although drivers are expected to yield to pedestrians in all circumstances, a pedestrian’s actions may be found to have contributed to the accident. For example, a pedestrian who fails to cross a road at a point other than a designated pedestrian crosswalk may be found to be partially at fault for the accident since a driver is less likely to be on the lookout for pedestrians outside of crosswalks. A pedestrian can also be partially at fault for an accident if the pedestrian is walking along or on roadways not designated for pedestrians, such as limited access highways.
FAQ: What documentation do I need following a pedestrian accident?
To successfully pursue a claim for compensation following a pedestrian accident, you will require documentation proving that the other party is at fault for the accident, that you suffered injuries in the accident, and that you incurred damages that you can obtain compensation for. This documentation can include accident scene photographs, the police’s accident investigation report,
FAQ: How do I file a pedestrian accident case?
A pedestrian accident claim often starts by notifying your insurance company and the insurance company of the alleged at-fault driver of your claim. This usually starts the process of negotiating a settlement of your claim. If a negotiated settlement is not possible, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in court to pursue your claim.
FAQ: Do I need a pedestrian accident attorney?
Although you do not need an attorney to file a claim for compensation following a pedestrian accident, having an attorney to represent you in your case can put you in the best position to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. A pedestrian accident attorney can communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring that your interests and rights are protected and fighting to get you full and fair compensation for the losses you’ve incurred.
FAQ: How do insurance claims work for the pedestrian struck in the accident?
A pedestrian who is injured in an accident may have several sources of insurance to look to for compensation for his or her damages. The medical expenses that an injured pedestrian incurs may likely be initially paid for by the pedestrian’s health insurance. The health insurance company may then seek reimbursement from a responsible auto insurance policy. If the pedestrian has his or her own auto insurance, he or she may have to look to the personal injury protection coverage under his or her policy. Otherwise, the injured pedestrian can also make a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
FAQ: What are my injuries worth in a pedestrian accident?
The amount of compensation that you might receive following a pedestrian accident will depend on the kinds of damages that you incur after you accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, or lost quality of life.