Nobody expects to go for a walk and get hit by a car, but it does happen frequently. Many areas in Florida lead the nation in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents happen at intersections, sidewalks, in crosswalks, or on the side of the road. These injuries can be overwhelming or fatal.
The driver may be held liable for damages in a negligence case, which could include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses if the pedestrian passes away
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Pedestrians must obey any official traffic control device unless otherwise directed by a police official. A device would include traffic signs, signals or pavement striping. Additionally, if a sidewalk is readily available, pedestrians should not use the roadway. If sidewalks are not available or are under construction, however, they should use the shoulder on the left side of the roadway facing traffic.
When crossing the roadway, pedestrians are:
- Subject to traffic signals;
- Not allowed to leave the curb until the traffic signal tells them to;
- Not allowed to yield to right-of-way vehicles;
- To keep to the right half of crosswalks;
- To cross the roadway at a right angle or by the shortest route (except within a marked crosswalk);
- Only allowed to cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by an official traffic control device; and
- Not allowed to cross between two adjacent intersections, except when they are in a marked crosswalk.
Drivers often focus on cars and neglect to think about the pedestrians on the road. Some of the more common reasons for these accidents include:
- Slowdowns because of traffic, bad weather, or crowds
- Failure to keep a look for pedestrians
- Yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, but not stopping in time
- Failing to come to a total stop at stop signs
- Drinking and driving
- Failing to maintain vehicle control
Serious injuries can happen when a car hits a pedestrian. The forward momentum from the car is then transferred to the walker, which then causes him or her to be thrown several feet or yards. When the pedestrian strikes the ground, head injuries, broken bones and lacerations can occur. These injuries include brain injuries, fractures, contusions, scarring, lacerations and paralysis. What happens if a pedestrian and a driver are both to blame for an accident? If a pedestrian darted into traffic at a place not designated for pedestrians, and there was no walking light to speak of. The driver had no way to stop in time. What do you do then? Florida follows the pure comparative negligence standard, which means that even if a person is 99% responsible for an accident, he or she can collect that 1% of damages. A jury would look at the situation and apportion fault between the two parties based on the facts of the case.
If you have been in a Florida pedestrian accident, call Rowe Law Offices, PLLC for a free consultation.