If a motorist hit you while you were on foot, you know the severe, life-altering injuries a pedestrian accident can cause. Common pedestrian accident injuries such as soft tissue injuries, broken bones, back and spinal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may require weeks or months of medical care and rehabilitation. Even once you finish treatment, you may still have permanent disabilities or chronic complications that can interfere with your ability to work or participate in activities and reduce your quality of life.
The type and severity of injuries you suffer in a pedestrian accident may affect the compensation you can recover in insurance and legal claims. Working with a Miami pedestrian accident lawyer can help you preserve your legal options for pursuing financial relief and make the claims process smoother, allowing you to focus your time and energy on your medical treatment and rehab.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 7,000 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in one recent year, for a rate of one fatality every 75 minutes. In addition, approximately 104,000 emergency department visits involved pedestrians who suffered non-fatal crash injuries.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that pedestrian accident fatalities have increased by more than 59 percent over the past 14 years, accounting for about 17 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths. People aged 20 through 69 have the highest rate of pedestrian accident fatalities of any age cohort.
Common Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Because they have little protection from a collision with a motor vehicle, pedestrians can suffer a wide range of injuries, such as:
- Severe lacerations and excessive bleeding
- Road rash/skin abrasions
- Degloving injuries (skin torn away from underlying muscle and bone)
- Crush injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Ligament sprains/tears
- Muscle or tendon strains/tears
- Broken bones
- Whiplash injury
- Nerve damage
- Spinal disc herniations
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Facial and head injuries, including vision or hearing loss
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Traumatic amputation, dismemberment, or limb loss
The Recovery Process for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Depending on the severity of the injuries you suffered in a pedestrian accident, you may have a medical recovery period that involves a single visit to the ER or urgent care clinic followed by recovery at home, or you may need surgery followed by months of medical care and rehabilitation.
Many pedestrian accident injuries require follow-up care with a doctor, who may prescribe a course of physical therapy to help the patient recover from injuries such as soft-tissue injuries, broken bones, or herniated spinal disc injuries. If you’ve suffered severe permanent disabilities, you may need ongoing medical care to help manage complications from those disabilities.
Severe pedestrian accident injuries that result in physical disabilities or permanent scarring and disfigurement may result in:
- Chronic debilitating pain may limit your ability to work or participate in activities you previously enjoyed. You may need indefinite pain management care that involves pain-relieving medications, muscle relaxers, or trigger point/steroidal injections.
- Limited mobility caused by chronic pain and stiffness, permanent soft tissue damage, or scar tissue over joints that restrict flexibility.
- Emotional and mental health consequences, including anxiety and depression, or more serious mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the development of new phobias.
Your pedestrian accident lawyer can seek compensation for all of those impacts.
Common Types and Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Some of the most frequent kinds of pedestrian accidents include:
- Crosswalk accidents
- Intersection accidents, including left- or right-turn accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
- Backing up accidents, including backing out of a parking spot or driveway
- Failure-to-yield accidents
- Reckless driving accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
Many pedestrian accidents occur due to the negligence of motorists.
Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for road/weather/lighting conditions
- Reckless driving, including excessive speeding, street racing, or swerving around traffic stopped for a pedestrian
- Distracted driving, including handheld use of a cell phone, eating, drinking, or grooming/applying makeup
- Drowsy/fatigued driving
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Disregarding yield signs or pedestrian crossing lights
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to signal before turning
- Backing out of a parking space or driveway without looking behind
- Turning right without checking mirrors for oncoming pedestrians
Legal Options for Recovering Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
As a pedestrian injured in a collision with an automobile, you may have several options for recovering compensation for your medical bills and other expenses.
These options include:
- Filing a claim for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you have an auto insurance policy, you may turn to your insurance provider if the pedestrian accident resulted in you suffering a covered injury under the terms of your policy. In Florida, drivers must carry at least $10,000 of PIP coverage. You can recover PIP coverage for a covered injury regardless of fault for the accident. PIP pays 80 percent of medical bills and prescription costs and 60 percent of lost income.
- Filing a claim against the at-fault driver. When you suffer a qualifying significant loss from a pedestrian accident, you can step outside the PIP no-fault system and file a claim against the driver who hit you. However, Florida does not require drivers of personal automobiles to carry bodily injury liability insurance, so if the at-fault does not have that insurance, you may need to pursue financial recovery from the driver’s other assets.
- Filing claims against other liable parties. You may have legal claims against others responsible for the pedestrian accident and your injuries. For example, if the at-fault driver hits you while on the job, you may have a claim against the driver’s employer. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can review your case, identify potentially liable parties, and help you file claims against each.
Compensation Available for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When you have a legal claim against an at-fault driver or other liable parties, you can pursue compensation for:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation, including emergency care, hospitalizations, surgeries, prescriptions, doctor’s appointments, and physical/occupational therapy
- Costs of long-term care you need after suffering permanent disabilities, such as home health care, housekeeping services, or installation of disability accommodations
- Lost income if you need to miss time from work while recovering from injuries or go on part-time/light-duty work that pays you less than you earned before the accident
- Lost future earning potential or job benefits if you develop permanent disabilities
- Physical pain and emotional distress
- Lost enjoyment and quality of life caused by disabilities or permanent scarring/disfigurement that interferes with daily activities or causes you embarrassment or humiliation
What Steps Should You Take After Suffering Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
After a pedestrian accident, to protect your right to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses:
- Report the accident to the authorities, and request a copy of the police accident report in the days following the accident
- Seek immediate medical attention, if you have not already done so, to let a doctor examine you for any injuries you may have suffered in the pedestrian accident
- Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment recommendations and instructions, including any medical restrictions
- Do not put off any recommended medical procedures or rehabilitation
- Keep any bills, invoices, and receipts of expenses you incur due to the accident and your injuries
- Gather copies of your pay stubs or income statements if you miss work or have reduced earnings while recovering after the accident
- Keep a diary or journal of your recovery to document the physical pain, emotional distress, and changes to daily living that you experience due to your injuries and medical treatment
- Avoid posting on social media during your recovery and ongoing case since insurance companies sometimes monitor accident victims’ social media accounts for posts that may contradict their injury claims
Finally, contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options for recovering compensation and to get started with your case.
How Long Do You Have to File a Pedestrian Accident Injury Claim?
Under Florida’s revised statute of limitations on injury claims, you typically have two years from the date of a pedestrian accident to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver and other liable parties. Filing a lawsuit after the statutory deadline risks having your case dismissed by the trial court regardless of the merits of your claim. If this happens, you could lose your right to seek compensation in civil court for your injuries.
In addition to the statute of limitations, if your pedestrian accident involves a vehicle owned by the state, county, or city government, Florida’s Tort Claims Act requires you to provide written notice of your claim with the appropriate government agency within three years of the accident. You may only file a lawsuit against the government once it denies your claim or six months have passed. However, you still must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
Due to the strict deadlines for filing a pedestrian accident claim, you should speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you can file your claims on time.
What Happens if You Bear Partial Responsibility for the Accident?
Even if the driver who hit you tries to claim that you stepped into traffic against the light or walked around distracted by your cell phone or music on your headphones, you can still pursue a pedestrian accident injury claim if you bear some fault for the accident.
Under Florida’s comparative negligence law, having partial responsibility for the pedestrian accident does not bar you from pursuing a compensation claim. However, any share of fault you may have for the accident can diminish your compensation.
When the driver or other liable party tries to shift blame for the accident onto you, you should talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible to help you push back against the driver’s claims and fight to secure maximum compensation for your injuries.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Recover Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
After suffering severe pedestrian accident injuries, you deserve to focus on your treatment and rehabilitation to return to everyday life after an accident. A pedestrian accident lawyer can take care of the details of preparing and pursuing your legal claims while you spend your time on your physical and emotional recovery.
A lawyer can help you with each stage of the claims process, including:
- Thoroughly investigating the facts and circumstances of your claim to recover key evidence such as accident scene photos/videos, police accident reports, surveillance/traffic camera footage, or eyewitness testimony
- Identifying the at-fault and other potentially liable parties, along with applicable insurance coverages you might seek compensation from
- Documenting your injuries and losses to figure out how much compensation you might recover
- Preparing you for what to expect during the claims process
- Drafting and filing insurance claims and demand letters on your behalf
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to fight for a fair settlement of your pedestrian accident injury claims
- Taking your case to court and trial when necessary to demand a favorable outcome for you
Pedestrian Accidents Frequently Cause Life-altering Injuries, but Injury Victims Have Legal Options for Securing a Financial Recovery
Pedestrian accidents cause tens of thousands of injuries yearly, with thousands of pedestrian accident victims suffering fatal injuries. A pedestrian accident can cause a wide range of injuries, including severe injuries that lead to physical disability, permanent scarring, and reduced quality of life. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
You may have several options for recovering compensation for your medical treatment, reduced earnings, and other losses, including seeking insurance coverage or pursuing legal claims against an at-fault driver and other liable parties.
Begin treating your injuries and collecting information and evidence to build your legal claim. A pedestrian accident lawyer can take over that claim process for you, advocating for a fair financial recovery for your injuries.