What Do I Do if I Was a Pedestrian and Was Hit by a Car?
Due to the high number of vehicles on the road, along with the fact that Florida was largely built for car travel (as opposed to traveling by foot), Florida is the number one most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. According to a report by Smart Growth America, between 2008 and 2017, there were 5,433 pedestrian fatalities in the state.
If you or a loved one were hit by a car as a pedestrian in Tampa, contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Tampa who can fight for you. Your attorney can explain your rights to you, review your case, and develop an action plan so that you can have the best chance at receiving the compensation you need so that you can focus on healing from your accident.
Pedestrians at a High Risk in Florida
As mentioned earlier, Florida is the deadliest state for pedestrians in the country. In fact, Florida cities make up 8 out of the top 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the country. According to the report by Smart Growth America, Orlando is the number one most deadly place for pedestrians in the country, with the Tampa area ranking at number 8. What is it about Florida that makes it so dangerous for pedestrians?
As discussed above, there are two main variables that make Florida so deadly to pedestrians. One factor is the amount of traffic on Florida roads. Not only are there a lot of cars on the road, but there are often a lot of drivers who are unfamiliar with the area due to the high tourist numbers. The other factor that leads to such high fatality numbers is the fact that Florida was primarily designed with car traffic in mind – it wasn’t made to accommodate pedestrians well.
In fact, Florida roads may be more dangerous to pedestrians than the statistics let on. The numbers above just account for pedestrian fatalities but are not inclusive of non-fatal injuries suffered by pedestrians. The CDC reported in 2016 that while there were around 5,000 pedestrian deaths, there were over 129,000 emergency room reports from pedestrian injuries.
Pedestrian accidents can often result in very serious injuries. Those who are walking or skateboarding have very little protection in a vehicle collision, and as a result, are more likely to sustain injuries than the driver of the vehicle. Some common injuries sustained by pedestrians in a car accident may include head injuries, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, internal injuries, and severe cuts and lacerations.
If you have been involved in a car accident as a pedestrian, getting in touch with an experienced attorney can help you understand what the Florida laws are that protect pedestrians, and what steps you need to take in order to file a claim against the liable party.
Pedestrian Statutes in Florida
Under the pedestrian laws in Florida, drivers have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care and caution. However, pedestrians also have rules and regulations to follow that dictate how they are to behave in traffic situations. Section 316.130 is the section of the Florida State Uniform Traffic Control law that deals specifically with pedestrian laws.
Laws about Hitting a Pedestrian in Florida
Florida law states that if a driver that hits a pedestrian is at fault, then the driver is liable for the damages to the pedestrian.
Fault can be determined by the general negligence standard. Florida is also a comparative negligence state, which means the negligence in both the driver and the pedestrian will be considered when looking to determine fault. Though only a jury can decide, it could be that the driver is found to be liable for 60% of the accident, while the pedestrian owns 40% of the liability. If that is the case, then the driver would be liable for 60% of the damages suffered by the pedestrian as a result of the accident.
It is important to have a lawyer fighting for you during this time, as the insurance company will likely try to put as much responsibility on the pedestrian as possible. An attorney will be able to dispute those claims and will work to prove that the driver carried the bulk of the responsibility.
In Florida, the right-of-way laws can help you determine who is at fault. If a pedestrian is crossing the street in a crosswalk, in most cases, that pedestrian has the right-of-way, which means the driver would be found to be at fault. Alternatively, if a pedestrian is not crossing in a crosswalk or at an intersection and fails to yield to oncoming traffic, the pedestrian would likely be found at fault. However, since vehicles can be so deadly, vehicle drivers do have an expectation to avoid pedestrians if they are aware of them. This means that even if you were jay-walking, a lawyer may be able to argue that the driver was partially or even totally at fault.
What If the Pedestrian Was At-Fault? Is There Coverage Still Available?
In some cases, a pedestrian may be determined to be the primary cause of an accident. Common examples include when a pedestrian is crossing outside a crosswalk or makes an unexpected departure from a sidewalk or from behind parked vehicles.
Florida’s no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will cover individuals even when they are pedestrians. If the pedestrian does not have a PIP policy, then the driver’s PIP policy should cover their expenses up to $10,000.
In the event a pedestrian is seriously injured or their costs exceed PIP policy coverage, they are able to file a liability claim against any negligent parties. An investigation can determine who was actually at fault, and in some cases, the pedestrian is found to not actually have been the primary cause of an accident.
Even if a pedestrian is found partially at fault, Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws allow them to still recover damages from any contributing parties. The claimant’s available award will be reduced by their assumed portion of fault, however, which is why it’s important to defend against any allegations of fault with the help of an experienced attorney.
Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Tampa
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as you are able.
At Darrigo & Diaz, we have over 20 years of experience representing personal injury clients in the Tampa area. The sooner you are able to contact our offices, the sooner we will be able to start protecting your rights to seek compensation and conclusively determine who was at fault.
An experienced lawyer from our offices will be able to explain your rights to you and help you file any insurance claims necessary. If applicable, our attorneys would also be able to help you file a claim against the at-fault driver in order to recover damages.
Please contact us as soon as possible to set up your free, no-obligation case consultation. We are happy to meet you virtually or in person. We will give you personalized advice about your case and help you determine the next steps to take in order to give you the best chance to receive the maximum financial compensation available to you. Please contact us by phone at 813-774-3341 or online to set up your free consultation.