Pedestrian accidents can have devastating consequences, leading to severe injuries or even fatalities. While traffic laws are in place to protect pedestrians, the question of who has the right of way in every situation is not always obvious.
Understanding when pedestrians have the right of way is essential if you have suffered injuries in a pedestrian traffic accident someone else caused and you plan to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. Reach out to a Miami pedestrian accident lawyer.
When Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way?
In Florida, pedestrians generally have the right of way when crossing a street within a marked crosswalk. The law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Florida has several laws in place to protect the rights of pedestrians and ensure their safety on the roadways. Some of the fundamental Florida laws that protect pedestrians include:
Yielding to Pedestrians
Florida law requires drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the road in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. According to Florida Statute § 316.130, drivers must stop and not begin moving again until any pedestrian has safely crossed the road.
Right-of-Way at Intersections
Florida law gives pedestrians the right-of-way at intersections when they have a green light or a walk signal. According to Florida Statute § 316.075, drivers must come to a complete stop before turning right on a red light and must yield to any pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Prohibited Actions by Drivers
Florida law prohibits drivers from engaging in actions that can endanger pedestrians, such as driving under the influence, reckless driving, or distracted driving. According to Florida Statute § 316.1925, drivers must maintain a safe distance from pedestrians and must not pass other vehicles that have stopped at a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross.
What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, but some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted driving – Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, or whose attention is otherwise not on the road are more likely to overlook pedestrians in crosswalks or fail to see them crossing the street.
- Speeding – Traveling at high speeds gives drivers less time to react to pedestrians, making them more likely to cause severe injuries if they hit someone.
- Failing to yield – Drivers who do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or turn into a crosswalk without checking for pedestrians can cause devastating accidents.
- Intoxication – Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to cause pedestrian accidents due to impaired judgment and slower reaction times.
- Poor lighting – Pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur at night or in poorly lit areas, as it can be difficult for drivers to see pedestrians in these conditions. Nevertheless, motorists have a responsibility to use extra caution when driving in areas of poor visibility.
What Injuries Can Occur When a Driver Does Not Yield the Right of Way to a Pedestrian?
When a driver fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, the consequences can be devastating. Pedestrians’ vulnerability puts them at a significant disadvantage in a collision with a motor vehicle, and the injuries they can suffer are often severe or even life-threatening.
Some of the most common injuries that can occur when a driver does not yield the right of way to a pedestrian include:
- Broken bones – Pedestrians can suffer broken bones when a car hits them, especially in the legs, arms, and hips. These injuries can be excruciating and require significant time to heal.
- Head injuries – When a car hits a pedestrian, the person’s head can strike the pavement or the car itself, causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe, life-altering brain damage.
- Spinal cord injuries – Pedestrians can also suffer spinal cord injuries when a vehicle strikes them. These injuries can cause paralysis or loss of sensation in the limbs and can require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- Internal injuries – A pedestrian accident can subject a body to extreme forces, which can cause internal injuries such as organ damage or internal bleeding.
- Cuts, bruises, and abrasions – Even if a pedestrian does not suffer catastrophic injuries in a collision with a car, they may suffer cuts, bruises, and abrasions from contact with the vehicle or the pavement. These injuries can have significant consequences on an individual’s life.
All injuries from pedestrian accidents can be harrowing and have long-lasting effects on the victim’s quality of life. They may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and the accident victim may be unable to work or engage in their normal daily activities while they recover.
If you have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not believe your injuries are serious. A qualified medical professional can evaluate you and recommend a course of treatment to help you recover as quickly and fully as possible.
Who Is at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?
In most cases, the driver is at fault for a pedestrian accident. Motorists are responsible for being aware of their surroundings and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. If a driver fails to do so and causes an accident, they may be liable for the pedestrian’s injuries or losses.
However, a third party can be at fault for a pedestrian accident in certain circumstances. For example, if the driver’s car has a mechanical defect, such as faulty brakes, the car’s manufacturer or the company responsible for maintaining the vehicle may bear liability for the accident.
Additionally, if the motorist is a delivery driver or a commercial trucker who is working at the time of the accident, the driver’s employer may bear some responsibility for the accident under the legal theory of “vicarious liability.” Under this theory, the employer is responsible for their employees’ actions while the employee is performing their job duties.
In some cases, a third party may also be at fault for a pedestrian accident if they have created a hazardous condition on the roadway or sidewalk. For example, if a construction company fails to properly mark off a construction zone, causing a pedestrian to trip and fall before a car strikes them, the company may be liable for the pedestrian’s injuries.
Determining fault in a pedestrian accident can be complex, and multiple parties may share responsibility. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your legal options and identify all potentially liable parties is crucial.
What Should I Do if I Suffer an Injury in a Pedestrian Accident?
If you sustain an injury in a pedestrian accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, it is vital to have a medical professional ensure that there are no invisible issues.
Once you have received medical treatment, you should also speak with a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you work through the legal process of seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. They can also help you determine who may be at fault for the accident and the extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Florida. Generally, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim, although there may be exceptions depending on the circumstances of your case. As such, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to protect your rights.
What Are the Steps in a Florida Pedestrian Accident Claim?
Understanding the basic progression of a pedestrian accident claim in Florida can help you get through the process and figure out how to get fair compensation for your injuries. Here are the steps in a Florida pedestrian accident claim:
Report the Accident
Report the accident to the police, even if the driver has left the scene. The police will create an official accident report you can use as evidence in your case.
Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene, including:
- Photos of the area and any damage to vehicles or property
- Medical reports from your injury and treatments
- Photos of your injuries
- Contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident happen
Furthermore, you might also want to keep a journal with notes about your daily levels of pain, treatments you receive, and how the injury has affected you psychologically. Make notes in your journal about how the injury affects your ability to perform daily tasks and how it changes your ability to do your job.
Contact an Attorney
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide legal support and work to protect your rights. Your attorney will review the evidence, determine liability, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
File a Claim
Your attorney will help you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This claim will include all the losses you have suffered due to the accident.
Negotiate a Settlement
Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement that compensates you for your losses. If the insurer refuses to offer you the full compensation you deserve, your attorney may recommend taking your case to court.
If your case goes to court, your attorney will represent you before a judge and jury. They will present evidence and make arguments in your favor. Ultimately, the judge or jury will decide the outcome of your case.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Injuries?
Depending on the nature of the accident and the severity of the injuries you have suffered, you may claim various forms of compensation.
Your compensation package may include money for:
- Medical expenses – These expenses include the cost of any medical treatment you have received, including hospital bills, doctor’s appointments, medications, and physical therapy.
- Lost income – If you have needed to take time off work to recover from your injuries, you can claim compensation for your lost earnings.
- Pain and suffering – This category refers to the physical pain and emotional distress you have experienced due to the accident.
- Property damage – If the accident damaged your personal property, such as your phone or clothing, you could claim compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Disability or disfigurement – If your injuries have given you a permanent disability or disfigurement, you can seek compensation for the impact this has on your life.
- Wrongful death – If a pedestrian loses their life in an accident, their family members may claim compensation for their loss.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
If you have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process of seeking compensation for your losses. They can help you determine who may be at fault for the accident and the extent of your damages, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary.
Additionally, an attorney can work to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses. They can also provide valuable guidance and support throughout the duration of your case, giving you the peace of mind you need to focus on your recovery.
Understand Your Rights
Pedestrians have the right to feel safe on Florida’s roadways, and drivers are legally obligated to yield the right of way to them. When drivers fail to do so, serious accidents and injuries can occur. Pedestrians who have suffered injuries in such accidents deserve to hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions. Reach out to a Miami personal injury lawyer.
By understanding Florida’s pedestrian laws and taking the proper steps after an accident, pedestrians can protect their legal rights and pursue fair compensation for their injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process and fight for the justice you deserve.