Walking is a way of life for both residents and visitors in Florida. Yet, not enough has been done to protect pedestrians’ safety while they are on foot for vacations, school, church, and work. In fact, a recent report reveals that the metro area of Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach-Miami was 13th among the United States’ most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians between 2010 and 2019. According to the report by Smart Growth America, an organization focused on pedestrian safety, there were 1,675 pedestrian fatalities during this time period (the last for which data is available) or 2.8 deaths per 100,000 residents in South Florida alone. Florida had 5,893 pedestrian deaths during the same decade.
Suppose you or a loved one were recently injured in a pedestrian accident. In that case, you need to know that you have legal rights, including the right to compensation for your injuries. Secure your rights by speaking with an experienced Broward County pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after learning about your injuries.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Being hit by a car while walking can be one of the most traumatic experiences someone might ever face. Unfortunately, with so many pedestrians on Florida roads, these accidents happen more and more every day. Understanding how they happen can help prevent them and help determine who is liable when one occurs.
It’s never been easier to become distracted while behind the wheel. Distractions abound with cell phones, apps, state-of-the-art sound systems, and even other passengers, children, or pets. When drivers don’t ignore potential distractions, they often take their thoughts and eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel, significantly increasing the risk of an accident. By the time they see a pedestrian, it’s far too late to stop on time, if they even see them before they hit them.
Drivers on the road who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even prescription medications put everyone at risk, especially pedestrians. Many impaired drivers drive right through crosswalks, whether they are occupied or not, and make left turns directly into groups of pedestrians resulting in severe accidents.
In most circumstances, pedestrians have the right of way. Even if a pedestrian doesn’t see a vehicle and begins to cross the street against a light, they still have the right of way. Drivers who fail to keep watch for pedestrians on the road or attempt to drive around pedestrians walking in crosswalks cause avoidable accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Reckless drivers are responsible for many pedestrian accidents every year in Florida. Pedestrian safety relies on drivers who drive defensively and ensure they do all they can to prevent accidents. When drivers get behind the wheel only caring about getting where they are going, the chance that there will be innocent victims increases.
Rain can make roads slippery, requiring a farther stopping distance to avoid hitting vehicles. Sometimes downpours can be so extreme that they significantly reduce visibility. High winds can also contribute to auto-pedestrian accidents.
When the Florida sun goes down, it becomes increasingly difficult to see pedestrians. Pedestrians should wear reflective gear whenever possible, or at least light-colored clothing, and carry a flashlight. They often blend in with the background, even with street and traffic lights illuminating the roads. Drivers should always keep in mind that pedestrians could be present and expect them to be on the streets at night.
Road construction is typically an inconvenience, but it can also be a safety hazard. Many motorists don’t realize that construction zones can force pedestrians to walk in areas where they may not expect them to be. Florida drivers should be highly alert to pedestrians in construction areas.
Vehicles Turning Left
Even when a crosswalk has signals, drivers can fail to pay attention to them. One of the riskiest areas for pedestrians is in the path of a vehicle making a left turn. Drivers attempting to negotiate such a turn are often focused only on oncoming traffic to determine when to turn, so much so that they fail to see any pedestrians that could be in their path.
While on arterial roads, drivers must be aware of other drivers changing lanes, speeding, making dangerous lane changes, or even tailgating. Because of this, most drivers are naturally not keeping a lookout for pedestrians or focusing on traffic signals.
Faulty Motor Vehicles
Sometimes, a defective motor vehicle can lead to a pedestrian accident. Suppose a tire was faulty or a vehicle’s brakes failed, leading to an accident. In that case, the injured party may be able to hold the vehicle’s manufacturer or its parts manufacturer liable with the help of a skilled Broward County pedestrian accident attorney.
Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Multiple factors can contribute to a pedestrian accident. However, there are a few types of accidents that are the most common in Florida. A pedestrian accident occurs anytime a car, truck, or motorcycle collides with a person who isn’t inside a vehicle. Walkers, shoppers, runners, and others on foot can be involved in any of the following types of accidents:
- Crosswalk accidents: A pedestrian is legally using a crosswalk at the time of the collision, and a vehicle doesn’t give the pedestrian the right-of-way and hits them within the crosswalk
- Back-over/parking lot accidents: A vehicle backs up, such as pulling into or out of a parking space, and hits a pedestrian while they are in reverse. Back-over accidents are frequent in parking lots where cars may be blocking a driver’s view to either side, and shoppers are quickly and constantly crossing the paths of the parked vehicles.
- Loss of control accidents: Includes hitting a pedestrian after losing control of a motor vehicle or sideswiping a pedestrian on a sidewalk. It’s common for these accidents to cause a pedestrian to be “run-over” and trapped under the car or truck or crushed between the vehicle and another immobile object, such as another vehicle, sign, post, or building. Unfortunately, these kinds of collisions are one of the most perilous to a pedestrian’s health and life.
Often, pedestrian accidents turn into “hit-and-run” accidents, particularly if the pedestrian appears to have suffered severe injuries and traffic is light. Drivers are frequently panicked after hitting a pedestrian. They are aware that even a slight impact from their vehicle could cause severe pedestrian injuries. Florida law mandates that the driver of a vehicle stay at the scene of the crash if they caused personal injuries to a pedestrian. If they don’t, it’s a hit-and-run accident which is a felony in Florida.
What if an Accident Victim Didn’t Use a Crosswalk?
There’s no denying that pedestrians are sometimes partly at fault for their accidents. They may have crossed the street without using a crosswalk, worn dark clothing, been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or failed to adhere to traffic lights. However, any one of these circumstances doesn’t necessarily mean that the victim won’t deserve compensation for their injuries. It’s best for them to meet with a knowledgeable Broward County pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. When an injury accident occurs, multiple parties can share fault. Sometimes, one of those parties is the victim themselves. Unlike in some other states, victims aren’t necessarily barred from receiving compensation. Instead, the fault is apportioned between all at-fault parties. If the victim is one of these parties, their compensation will be reduced by their amount of fault. Other parties will be responsible for paying damages according to their degree of fault.
For example, suppose you were hit by a car in a construction zone while texting on your phone. In that case, you could end up with 20 percent liability, the driver with 60 percent, and the municipality responsible for the construction zone another 20 percent. If your damages totaled $100,000, you would receive $60,000 from the driver’s insurance company and $20,000 from the municipality. You would not receive the other $20,000, which represents your own liability. Don’t leave the money you deserve on the table after a pedestrian accident. Instead, reach out to a qualified Broward County pedestrian accident attorney who can review your case and advise you on your next best steps.
When to Contact a Broward County Pedestrian Accident Law Firm
After sustaining injuries in a pedestrian accident, you should contact a Broward County pedestrian accident law firm to meet with a Broward County pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. Taking action early on serves several purposes.
The Statute of Limitations
In Florida, those who suffer a personal injury, such as pedestrians involved in an accident, have a limited amount of time to file a legal claim. Typically, the deadline, known as the statute of limitations, is four years from the date of the accident. If you don’t take legal action by this deadline, you won’t be able to do so after. While this is a generous statute of limitations compared to many other states, it’s still a deadline that you should adhere to. The sooner you contact a Broward County pedestrian accident attorney, the sooner they can get to work on your accident.
However, if your accident involved a minor victim, a government entity, or your injuries weren’t discovered right away, your deadline could vary. To ensure you don’t miss whichever one applies to your claim, get the help of an attorney sooner rather than later.
Several pieces of evidence may be critical to proving your case, including eyewitness accounts, pictures of the accident scene, and your medical records. The evidence will be the most helpful when it is collected and secured as soon as possible. If you wait, witnesses’ memories can fade, and physical evidence can be lost or destroyed. With a Broward County pedestrian accident lawyer on your side from the start, you can ensure that your evidence will be in the best condition possible and that you won’t be missing any.
Defending Against the Insurance Company
Another reason to hire a seasoned Broward County pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible is so that they can defend and protect you from the insurance company. It’s common for insurance adjusters to call injured victims within a few days of receiving their claim. They may offer you an extremely low settlement, hoping that you will accept it before talking to an attorney and realizing what your injuries are worth. They might also ask you to provide a recorded statement in which they can twist what you say and use it to impact your claim negatively.
When you are represented by a Broward County pedestrian accident law firm, they will deal with the insurance company for you. If there is a reason for them or their attorneys to speak with you, your lawyer will be present, helping to protect you against their antics.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor to catastrophic or even life-threatening. These injuries can leave injured parties with severe pain, scarring, disabilities, emotional trauma, and even clinging to life.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Even though the skull and some fluid protect the brain, it’s often no match for the extreme forces of a motor vehicle accident. Pedestrians lack the protection that motorists and even bicyclists are afforded in many areas, including the head. If the head suffers a severe blow—perhaps by hitting the roadway or the vehicle, it can cause severe bleeding and swelling. Sometimes these injuries are minor, and other times they are severe or fatal. A TBI can leave a victim suffering from headaches, seizures, personality changes, extreme mood swings, and a host of other problems.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
The spinal cord receives protection from the surrounding vertebrae. Still, it’s also quite vulnerable to injuries in such a traumatic accident. A traumatic blow can dislocate or fracture the vertebra causing damage to the spinal cord, including bruising, swelling, or severing. Depending on the level of the spinal cord injury and its severity, the injured pedestrian could become paralyzed and be unable to care for themselves.
Fractures and broken bones are also common as bones can only withstand so much pressure or force. Many fractures heal by being immobilized with a splint or cast for several weeks. However, some require surgery and physical therapy yet still result in chronic pain and long-term problems.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Several different injuries can be categorized as soft tissue injuries, including:
While insurance adjusters would like to think that soft tissue injuries aren’t worth compensating, quite the opposite is true. Although many are self-resolving with little to no medical treatment, they often still result in substantial pain and can keep accident victims from participating in their everyday activities or working. Other soft tissue injuries can cause scarring or disfigurement and impact an injured pedestrian’s emotional well-being. If you are seeking recovery for soft tissue injuries, get a reputable Broward County pedestrian accident lawyer on your side.
Appendages can be amputated either in the course of the accident or due to medical necessity after the accident. Either way, adjusting to living without an appendage or limb can be extremely challenging. Victims often have to re-learn ways of doing things and suffer the emotional consequences of their disfigurement.
Your extremities are quite vulnerable in pedestrian accidents. They often don’t stand a chance against an oncoming vehicle. Fractures, soft tissue injuries, and loss of extremities are common.
Insurance adjusters frequently want to ignore the fact that not all accident injuries are physical. Some are mental and emotional with no outward physical symptoms. Being struck by a motor vehicle is traumatic, no matter how minor or severe your injuries might be. You may suffer depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and body image problems. You deserve compensation for these injuries just like you do for your physical injuries. An experienced Broward County pedestrian accident attorney can help you obtain such a recovery.
Sadly, some of these injuries can be fatal. Pedestrians are at a high risk of death when hit by cars as they lack protection and are much smaller than most vehicles. Suppose you lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident. In that case, our Broward County pedestrian accident law firm could help you pursue justice on their behalf. Since death is involved, these cases can be somewhat different from other personal injury cases, making it imperative to have representation from a knowledgeable attorney.
Meet with a Skilled Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at the Iscoe Law Firm Today
Anyone involved in an accident should meet with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Remember that Florida personal injury claims are subject to a strict statute of limitations that give them a limited amount of time to bring a legal claim. The best way to protect your legal rights and options is to have legal representation immediately after suffering injuries in an accident.
If you are looking for a reliable Broward County pedestrian accident law firm, look no further than the Iscoe Law Firm. Countless victims and their families have relied on us to achieve the best outcome possible in their claim. We are experienced negotiators and litigators who aren’t intimidated by large insurance companies and their legal counsel. When you hire our team, our priority is standing up for you so that you can get full and fair compensation for your damages.
Contact us at 800-800-6500 or online today to receive a complimentary case consultation with a Broward County pedestrian accident attorney and learn about your legal rights and options. We know that accidents can happen at any time on any day and are available to take your call 24/7, 365 days a year. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can begin advocating for you.