Determining fault in a pedestrian accident may appear deceptively simple. The driver of a car, traveling at higher speeds and facing lower risks of injury, is often assumed to bear responsibility in the victim's mind. However, these injury claims rarely offer swift compensation because they are rarely clear-cut cases.
In other words, there are often others who can share in the blame. Even if there are no other potential defendants, the insurance company will often blame the pedestrian for the accident, claiming the pedestrian was at fault or partially at fault for the accident.
To obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress, pedestrians must establish a direct link between someone else's actions and their injuries and losses. Accordingly, proving causation is a critical component of Orlando pedestrian accident cases.
What Do Injured Pedestrians Have to Prove to Recover Damages in Florida?
In all personal injury cases in Orlando, the victim has the burden of proving the elements of negligence. These elements are (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages.
Negligence is essentially just a legal term that refers to actions or inactions that fall below the level of "reasonable care." In other words, we ask: What would a reasonable person have done in a same or similar situation? Another way to say a person was "negligent" is to say they were careless.
If someone's negligence caused or contributed to pedestrian accident in Orlando, Florida, or anywhere else in Florida, they may be held accountable for the associated costs of their negligence.
In a Florida personal injury case, the injury victim must prove the four key elements of negligence, which we will discuss more below.
- The person at fault for the pedestrian accident owed a duty of care to the victim. This fundamental aspect of a Florida injury case establishes that the negligent party was responsible for exercising the utmost caution and safety under the given circumstances. In the case of a driver, this duty is outlined in state traffic laws that mandate drivers to be attentive and capable at all times.
- The person at fault for the pedestrian accident breached that duty of care. Numerous actions can constitute a breach of this duty, including distracted driving, speeding, disregarding traffic signs or signals, texting and driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The negligence of the at-fault party caused the victim's injuries. Mere negligence alone is not enough to win pedestrian accident case in Orlando. The breach of duty must have directly and proximately resulted in the injuries sustained by the pedestrian. For instance, texting or playing on a phone at the time of the crash may establish a breach of duty, and that breach of duty must have led to the accident and thus the injured person's injuries.
- The victim suffered harm (damages). It is crucial for victims to provide evidence of the economic and non-economic losses they have suffered due to their injuries. Some common types of damages in Orlando pedestrian accident cases will include things like medical bills, the cost of rehabilitation, lost income, and pain and suffering. Other damages may include things like permanent disability or disfigurement.
As we walk through these elements in a personal injury case, keep in mind that each and every element must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, we need all 4 elements of negligence to establish a viable personal injury claim.
Who is Liable for a Pedestrian's Injuries in Florida?
Determining fault for an Orlando pedestrian accident involves a legal process that revolves around proving negligence. In most cases, pedestrians file injury claims against the driver who struck them. However, it's important to consider all the potentially-liable parties who may have played a role in the accident because each defendant may have additional insurance coverage.
Below are some of the common culprits in an Orlando pedestrian accident claim:
- The Driver of the Vehicle: The driver of the vehicle that hit the pedestrian may be liable if the driver caused the accident by acting carelessly, negligently, or recklessly.
- The local municipality: City governments may share responsibility for accidents caused by poorly-placed crosswalks, malfunctioning traffic signals, inadequate sidewalk maintenance, and other safety hazards that could lead to a pedestrian accident.
- Product manufacturers: With all the Lime scooters and Bird scooters around Orlando, you might guess that these devices can sometimes malfunction. If a malfunctioning device, like a motorized scooter, caused you to get into an accident with a vehicle, you may be able to file a product liability claim.
- Insurance companies: After a pedestrian accident, victims often rely on their insurance providers to cover medical expenses, especially in those cases where the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage or flees the scene of the accident. Florida is a no-fault state, and thus pedestrians may be able to access their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage after a pedestrian accident. Additionally, victims may be able to access their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
- A Business Entity: Pedestrians are often hit by commercial vehicles in Orlando, and these vehicles may be covered as part of a business entity. Additionally, pedestrians may be forced off the sidewalk by a restaurant or construction company that is blocking the sidewalk. If a business entity contributed to a pedestrian accident in Orlando, that business entity may be partially liable for the pedestrian's injuries.
- The Pedestrian: Pedestrians can (and often do) cause pedestrian accidents by jaywalking or not obeying traffic signals at a crosswalk. In Florida, even if a victim is partially responsible for an accident, they may still be able to win an injury case if they are less than half (50%) at fault. However, their damages will be reduced based on their percentage of fault for the crash.
If you're facing challenges after an Orlando pedestrian accident, we are here to help guide you to justice, and we will fight to get you get the compensation you're entitled to. At our firm, you don't pay anything unless we win, so there are no up-front costs. Additionally, our clients get their lawyer's cell phone number, and they have direct access to their attorney throughout the duration of their case.
Common Injuries Suffered in an Orlando Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries due to the sheer force of the impact and the lack of protection pedestrians have compared to vehicle occupants. Here are some of the most common injuries an Orlando pedestrian accident attorney encounters in these cases:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): TBIs can range from concussions to more severe forms of brain injury. These injuries can have long-term effects on cognitive function, mood, and other aspects of brain health.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: These are particularly serious as they can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis. Injury to the spinal cord can drastically affect a person's mobility and quality of life.
- Bone Fractures: Pedestrians can suffer broken bones in many parts of the body, including the legs, arms, ribs, and pelvis. Recovery from these injuries can be long and painful.
- Internal Injuries: Accidents can cause internal bleeding or damage to organs, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
- Lacerations and Abrasions: These can range from minor cuts and scrapes to more serious wounds that require stitches or even surgery.
When you're dealing with any of these injuries after a pedestrian accident, it's crucial to have an experienced Orlando pedestrian accident attorney on your side to help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve.