In Florida, drivers are supposed to give the right of way to any pedestrian that is legally crossing the street. This includes pedestrians on a crosswalk. Unfortunately, drivers break this rule all the time in Orlando and throughout Florida. As a result, drivers crash into pedestrians all too often, causing serious injuries or death.
Florida is One of the Most Dangerous States for Pedestrians in America
If you’ve been hit by a car, you’re not alone. According to statistics released by Smart Growth America, the number of people struck by vehicles and killed while walking reached a new high in 2020, even though overall driving decreased. More that 6,500 fatal pedestrian accidents occurred in 2020, which comes out to an average of 18 people per day. This constituted an increase of 4.5% over pedestrian accident fatalities from 2019 to 2020. Additionally, estimates show an alarming and historic increase of 11 to 13% in fatal pedestrian accidents from 2020 to 2021, bringing to total number of fatalities to over 7,400.
Florida is particularly dangerous for pedestrians. Overall, Florida was ranked as the #2 most dangerous state for pedestrians in the years between 2016 and 2020. Moreover, data shows that the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach area is ranked #1 as the most dangerous metropolitan area for pedestrians in the entire country. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area ranked #4 in the country, followed by Jacksonville at #6, and the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area at #8.
If you or a family member has been injured while walking on the street, on a sidewalk, or on a crosswalk, you may be entitled to compensation. We have handled a number of cases where people suffered serious injuries after being hit by a car in Orlando. As a result, we’ve noticed a few common patterns that tend to show up in these pedestrian accident cases, and that is what this article is all about. Let’s talk more about what we’ve found representing pedestrian accident victims.
#1. The responsible or at fault driver’s insurance coverage may cover your damages.
If a driver hit you with his or her vehicle, you can file a claim with that at fault driver’s insurance company to cover some or all of your damages. We can typically find the at fault driver’s insurance company after an accident on the police report. However, sometimes drivers give bad insurance information, and we have to track down the driver to get the insurance information. Either way, once we get in touch with the insurer, we can determine the coverage¾the amount of money¾that is available to cover your damages.
Every case is different, and so the damages between pedestrian accidents will vary. In some cases, the pedestrian is killed, and so that person’s family may want to pursue wrongful death claim. However, in most cases, the pedestrian survives and suffers a number of damages, including:
- Emergency room bills;
- Medical bills;
- Missed work and lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
This is not a comprehensive list of damages that could be available to you or your loved one after a pedestrian accident. These are just the most common types of damages people suffer after they’re hit by a car. Thus, you may be entitled to compensation for more than what we listed above.
#2. The police report will often blame the pedestrian for the accident, but the police report is not admissible in court.
Even though drivers are supposed to grant pedestrians the right of way in Florida, the police report will often blame the pedestrian for getting hit by a car, especially in downtown Orlando. This is insanely frustrating. However, there’s good news: Police reports are not admissible as evidence in your pedestrian accident lawsuit. Additionally, if the police officer is a witness in the case, he or she may only testify as to what they saw, and it’s very rare for a police officer to witness a pedestrian accident. Accordingly, police officers will typically only be able to describe what they saw after they arrived on the scene. Thus, a police report cannot block you from filing your pedestrian accident lawsuit, and it can’t be used against you in your case.
#3. There may be more insurance coverage available to you than you think.
In Florida, drivers are not required to carry bodily injury coverage like they are in other states, like South Carolina and Georgia. Florida is a no fault state. Thus, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which typically kicks in and pays up to $10,000 in medical damages, regardless of who was at fault for the pedestrian accident.
Even though bodily injury coverage is not required in Florida, many drivers carry at least a small amount of bodily injury coverage on their auto insurance policy. Thus, there may be $10,000 or more bodily injury coverage available to you from the at fault driver’s insurance policy. However, sometimes $10,000 won’t cover all your medical bills, and sometimes the driver doesn’t have any bodily injury coverage. What do you do then?
There may be other types of coverage available to you, and other parties may also be liable for your injuries. That’s where we come in. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help you uncover all the possible insurance coverage available to you so you don’t get stuck paying your medical bills out of pocket.
#4. The insurance company may try not to pay you, but we may be able to persuade them otherwise.
Insurance companies love to rely on police reports to deny paying out a claim. For example, in pedestrian accidents where the police report blames the pedestrian for getting hit by the car, the insurance company for the driver may rely on that police report to deny the claim and offer you no money at all. This is a risky move for the insurance company because, as we mentioned, they can’t use that police report in a pedestrian accident lawsuit. Moreover, insurance is about risk versus reward. Moving a case through litigation is a big risk for the insurance company and zero risk for us, especially if the facts show that your story makes more sense than a faulty police report. We are happy to take your case as far as we need to in order to get you the value you deserve.
#5. An experienced Orlando pedestrian accident lawyer can help you maximize the value of your claim.
Having a lawyer by your side from the beginning stages of your pedestrian accident claim can help you to get the most value out of your case. Soon after your accident, evidence may disappear. Additionally, the driver’s insurance company will probably reach out to you to get a recorded statement or have you sign some one-sided document or documents. They may also try to settle your case with you for pennies on the dollar, in hopes that you’ll sign a release before you get a pedestrian accident attorney involved.
Our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys can help gather and preserve evidence for your case. Additionally, we can guide you through dealing with the insurance company so that they can’t bully you and so they hear what you have to say. We can help you get justice.
Contact an Orlando Pedestrian Accident Attorney for Your FREE Legal Consultation
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, your case may be way more valuable than you think. We can help you better understand your potential claim and the value of that claim so that you can get the result you deserve. We offer free consultations with an Orlando pedestrian accident attorney, so there’s no risk for you to set up a call and find out more about what you’re entitled to. A short phone call could make a big difference, and we’re happy to help you.
You can call us to schedule your free consultation at (321) 352-7588, or you can fill out a form on our website and set up your consultation over email. When you schedule a consultation at our law firm, your consultation will be between you and one of our lawyers. We will not schedule your consultation with an assistant or customer service representative. You will talk with an attorney, and we are proud of that policy. Give us a call when you’re ready. We’re here to help you when you need us.