Car accidents with pedestrians are a serious issue that often results in devastating consequences. In Florida, the situation is particularly concerning as pedestrian traffic deaths occur at an alarming rate. This article will delve into the intricacies of such incidents, shedding light on critical aspects like legal options available to victims and factors contributing to these unfortunate events.
Understanding who the most commonly involved pedestrians in car accidents are can be crucial for prevention strategies. Drawing on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, we'll explore primary causes of pedestrian accidents and their impact.
We will also discuss the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians and what happens if a vehicle hits a jaywalker in Florida - an aspect that raises many questions about liability and compensation.
The latter part of our discussion will focus on how pedestrians can protect themselves from car accidents and ways victims can seek compensation after such an event, including from driver’s liability insurer or even potentially from at-fault driver’s employer. Stay tuned as we navigate through these complex issues surrounding car accidents with pedestrians.
Do Pedestrians Have Right of Way in Florida?
In the Sunshine State, pedestrians often have the upper hand when it comes to right of way, thanks to Florida Statute 316.130. Under Florida Statute 316.130, drivers must give way to pedestrians in both marked and unmarked crosswalks at intersections. However, they often don't, and that's why there are so many car accidents with pedestrians in Florida every year.
Generally speaking, if a person is legally crossing at an intersection with the walk signal, cars should hit the brakes. But let's be real, not all drivers got the memo, and a lot of folks get hit by cars in Orlando and throughout Florida. In fact, Florida has some of the highest numbers of pedestrian accidents in the entire country.
The Crosswalk Rule
Florida's pedestrian safety laws are all about crosswalks - the marked ones and the sneaky unmarked ones. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), every intersection technically has an "unmarked" crosswalk where pedestrians can legally cross, even if there's no fancy paint on the road. Car accidents with pedestrians often happen at crosswalks, even though it's common knowledge that drivers should exercise extreme caution in these areas.
Intersections Without Traffic Signals
When there's no traffic signal, drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing within a designated or implied crosswalk. That's the law in many jurisdictions. However, intersections with insufficient lights or signals are a major cause of car accidents with pedestrians.
Pedestrians Not Using Crosswalks
If a pedestrian decides to ditch the nearby crosswalks (within 300 feet), they need to be sure and play it safe and avoid jaywalking. Additionally, pedestrians should always yield to the vehicles and wait for the right time to cross the road in a legal manner and without causing a traffic jam. Unfortunately, car accidents with pedestrians are often caused because of jaywalking, and many drivers know just how scary it can be when a pedestrian darts out onto the road unexpectedly.
Who Are the Pedestrians Most Commonly Involved in Car Accidents?
In Florida, just like everywhere else, certain groups are more prone to getting into pedestrian accidents. Let's explore which groups are most likely to be involved in car accidents with pedestrians and discover how we can enhance safety protocols and heighten public knowledge.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable when it comes to car accidents with pedestrians. In 2017, the CDC reported that elderly individuals accounted for 20% of pedestrian fatalities and 10% of pedestrian injuries, emphasizing the need to protect our elderly walkers.
Our little ones also make up a significant portion of car accidents with pedestrians. The CDC report reveals that one in every five children under 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. This emphasizes how critical it is to stay vigilant wherever children could be present.
Pedestrians In Urban Areas
Guess where most pedestrian fatalities occur? Yep, you got it - in urban areas. Nearly 4 out of 5 pedestrian deaths happen in urban settings, and car accidents with pedestrians are remarkably common in urban areas. Maybe it's the fast cars, the crazy traffic, or the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks, but the data certainly doesn't lie.
Pedestrians Under the Influence
NHTSA data shows that alcohol or drugs were involved in almost half (47%) of fatal pedestrian crashes. Looks like substance abuse isn't just a problem for drivers, but for walkers too. Stay sober and stay safe because walking under the influence is a major reason why there are so many car accidents with pedestrians every year.
If you're in a high-risk group, it's important to understand your legal rights if you experience an accident while walking. As experienced lawyers based in Orlando, Florida, we've helped many victims seek compensation after being hit by a negligent driver while walking. Even if you're partially at fault, Florida's comparative negligence law may still entitle you to damages.
What Are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Car accidents with pedestrians are unfortunately common in Florida, resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities. Let's dive into the main causes of these incidents and how we can prevent them.
Distracted driving is a major culprit. Taking your attention away from the road, whether it be due to texting, eating or singing along with music, can have devastating results. This is always one of the leading causes of car accidents with pedestrians.
Zooming down the road like a race car driver might seem thrilling, but it significantly reduces reaction time. Car accidents with pedestrians are often caused because a driver is going over the speed limit or simply going too fast for conditions. The reality is that this is completely avoidable.
Failing to Yield at Crosswalks
Drivers must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. However, this clearly does not happen all the time because crosswalks are one of the most common spots where car accidents with pedestrians occur.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a big problem. Alcohol or drugs might make a driver feel invincible, but they impair the driver's judgment and reaction time. As a result, driving under the influence is a major (and completely avoidable) cause of car accidents with pedestrians in Florida.
Lack Of Visibility
Wear bright clothes and make yourself visible to drivers. Stay out of the shadows and stay in whatever lighting is available as much as possible.
Understanding these pedestrian accident causes helps us create safer roads for everyone. Stay alert, safeguard yourself, and be mindful of others. Let's make the streets a little less chaotic.
What Is the Most Common Injury for Pedestrians?
Car accidents with pedestrians can result in a variety of injuries, some more severe than others. The severity of the injury sustained by a pedestrian in an accident with a vehicle may be determined by various elements such as speed, size and type of car, and reaction time.
When it comes to car accidents with pedestrians, broken bones take the trophy for the most common injury. Legs, arms, hips, and even ribs can suffer fractures, depending on how pedestrian impacts the vehicle and the ground below.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Aside from broken bones, pedestrians can also experience traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) after a car accident. An impact or jolt to the head can disrupt normal brain function, leading to symptoms like headaches, confusion, dizziness, and memory problems.
Spinal Cord Injuries
While not as prevalent as fractures or TBIs, if you're a pedestrian who's been struck by an automobile because of someone else's negligence because they were inattentive while driving, going too quickly, or neglected to cede the right-of-way, the effects of spinal cord injury can be grave and lasting, and it may even include paralysis.
If you find yourself injured as a pedestrian due to someone else's negligence, whether it's distracted driving, speeding, or failing to yield the right of way, remember to seek medical help and legal advice. At Spetsas Buist PLLC, we're here to assist you throughout the ordeal and help you navigate the complexities of Florida law while advocating for the just compensation you deserve.
What Happens If a Vehicle Hits a Jaywalker in Florida?
In Florida, pedestrians are expected to follow rules for their safety, like not jaywalking. But car accidents with pedestrians can still happen when people break the rules. If you're wondering what happens if a car hits a jaywalker in Florida, both parties may share some responsibility, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
The Driver's Responsibility
Even though jaywalking is illegal and unsafe, drivers still need to be careful. They should be ready for unexpected pedestrians, even if they're jaywalking. If a driver is cruising along texting or watching YouTube and hits a jaywalker, the driver would likely share some of the blame.
Jaywalkers who ignore traffic signals or cross outside designated areas increase their risk of getting hit. In Florida, this reckless behavior could reduce any compensation they receive due to shared liability, or what is called "comparative negligence" in Florida.
Potential Legal Consequences
If you've sustained injuries from an event involving jaywalking, there may be potential legal repercussions. It's always a good idea to start seeking professional advice after any motor vehicle accident with injuries, regardless of fault.
Filing an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
Injured parties usually start with insurance claims, but sometimes lawsuits are necessary. If you need help navigating this process, consider hiring experienced and aggressive attorneys that will speak with you when you need them. We specialize in helping victims get fair settlements after accidents in Orlando and throughout the state, and we give our clients their lawyer's cell phone.
How Can Pedestrians Protect Themselves from Car Accidents?
Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility between drivers and pedestrians themselves. While drivers are obligated to exercise caution, pedestrians also need to take proactive steps to ensure their own safety when walking near traffic in Florida. If everyone exercised more caution, we could avoid many car accidents with pedestrians every year, and here's some ways we could do that.
One of the biggest steps towards pedestrian safety is visibility. Wear bright or reflective clothing when walking, especially at night or when the weather is causing decreased visibility. Also, don't forget to make eye contact with drivers - it's like saying, "Hey, I'm here, don't run me over."
Use Crosswalks and Sidewalks
Crosswalks are like VIP areas for pedestrians. They're designed for you when you're walking, so use them. Wait for the walk signal, and remember, even at crosswalks, don't assume drivers will stop - double-check that the coast is clear.
In this digital age, phones are like magnets for distractions. But hey, your life is more important than that text or social media update. Keep your phone tucked away while walking near traffic - save the scrolling for when you're safely off the road.
Drinking and walking don't mix well, just like drinking and driving. So, stay sober when navigating busy streets - it could save your life.
Ultimately, being a safe pedestrian means being aware of your surroundings. Stay sharp; stay safe.
How Can Victims Seek Compensation After a Car Accident with a Pedestrian?
If you've been hurt in a collision with a motor vehicle while you were walking, it is essential to be aware of your legal rights and the processes required for obtaining compensation for your injuries. In Florida, there are several avenues available to victims of car crashes with pedestrians.
Filing an Insurance Claim
The first step is often filing an insurance claim. If the driver was at fault for the accident, their auto insurance should cover your medical bills and other damages up to their policy limits. Just make sure to gather evidence of your injuries and expenses, like medical records or repair bills, and show the driver's negligence.
Additionally, the insurance company's job is to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible, and they begin building their case immediately after the accident. Consider speaking with an attorney before giving recorded statements to the insurance companies or signing their documents.
Additionally, an at-fault pedestrian may be able to use their personal injury protection (PIP) in Florida if they seek medical help within 14 days of the accident.
Hiring an Attorney
In many cases, especially when serious injuries are involved, hiring an attorney can be beneficial. A skilled personal injury lawyer will help navigate complex legal processes and negotiate with insurance companies who may try to deny or minimize claims. Our firm handles cases for injured individuals throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and we make sure every client gets direct access to their lawyer.
Lawsuits & Settlements
Sometimes negotiations fail or aren't enough given severe circumstances; this is where lawsuits come into play. By filing a lawsuit against negligent parties involved in causing the accident, victims can potentially receive compensation beyond what insurance covers, including pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of wages, and future medical costs.
Understanding Comparative Negligence Laws in Florida
Florida operates under comparative negligence laws, which means if both the victim and the driver were partially responsible for the incident, the court will determine the percentage of blame and assign it to each party accordingly. Even if found partially liable, you can still receive compensation, but the amount will be reduced according to your degree of fault. So, understanding these rules is essential for seeking the maximum possible recovery in your case.
FAQs in Relation to Car Accidents With Pedestrians
Q1: Why are pedestrians at risk on the road?
A1: Pedestrians face risks due to factors like poor visibility conditions and inadequate infrastructure design, such as the lack of sidewalks or crosswalks.
Q2: What can drivers do to minimize the risk of accidents involving pedestrians?
A2: Drivers can significantly reduce the risk of accidents with pedestrians by staying vigilant, especially in high pedestrian traffic areas and during low visibility conditions. Obeying speed limits, respecting pedestrian crossings, avoiding distractions, and signaling their intentions in a timely manner are also crucial preventive measures.
Q3: Are there special laws protecting pedestrians?
A3: Yes, there are various laws designed to protect pedestrians. For example, drivers are typically required to yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks and intersections, even if there are no traffic signals present. However, the specifics can vary by jurisdiction, so it's important for both drivers and pedestrians to familiarize themselves with local traffic laws.
Q4: What are the common causes of accidents involving pedestrians?
A4: Some of the most common causes include distracted driving, speeding, failing to yield at crosswalks, turning without proper visibility, and driving under the influence. From the pedestrian's side, accidents can be caused by factors such as jaywalking, walking along highways or other restricted zones, and entering traffic unexpectedly.
Q5: Who pays for medical expenses if a pedestrian is injured in an accident?
A5: Generally, the at-fault party's insurance is responsible for covering medical expenses arising from a pedestrian accident. If the driver is at fault, their auto insurance should cover these costs. If the pedestrian is at fault, their health insurance might come into play. However, the specifics can vary depending on the local laws and the details of each insurance policy. It is recommended to consult with a legal advisor or insurance professional in such situations.
Do You Need to Speak to a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Orlando, Florida?
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Florida, you should speak with a skilled and aggressive Orlando pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website, or you can call our Orlando, Florida personal injury law firm today at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your free consultation by phone.
When you schedule a consultation at our law firm, you will get a consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer, not a customer service representative or intake person. Additionally, if we sign you as a client, you will get your attorney's cell phone. We believe in treating every client like they matter, regardless of whether they have a "billboard case" or not.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, if you’ve been injured in the Southeast, we have you covered. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need us.
For more information on personal injury cases in general, you can download our free personal injury guide: P.I. 101: Your Quick Guide to Personal Injury Claims.