A Sarasota pedestrian accident occurs when a motorized vehicle injuries a pedestrian, either by colliding into them directly or causing some other object to collide with them. The injures are almost always more severe for the pedestrian. Therefore, if you are the victim of a pedestrian accident, you likely have the right to claim compensation.
Contact a Sarasota pedestrian accident attorney today so that they can evaluate your case and tell you whether they believe you have a claim. Insurance companies will want to minimize their duty to you. However, an experienced law firm will make sure that you are not taken advantage of and get what you deserve.
What is a Pedestrian Accident?
In the sunny city of Sarasota, where foot traffic is a common sight, understanding pedestrian accidents is crucial for both drivers and those on foot. A pedestrian accident typically refers to any incident where a person walking, jogging, or standing gets struck by a motor vehicle. These accidents can happen in cross streets, designated crosswalks, or even on sidewalks.
At its core, a pedestrian accident underscores the vulnerability of a person walking amidst cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. Unlike those in cars, pedestrians don’t have the protective barrier of metal, airbags, or seat belts. This exposure means that when they’re involved in a car accident, the consequences are often grave, leading to serious injuries or, in worst-case scenarios, pedestrian fatalities.
Several factors contribute to pedestrian accidents. Distracted driving, where a driver is not paying particular attention to the road due to phone use or other distractions, is a leading cause. Similarly, drunk driving poses a high risk to pedestrians, as impaired drivers might not stop at a stop sign or might swerve unpredictably.
Moreover, higher vehicle speeds, especially in urban areas where there’s a mix of cars and pedestrians, can increase the likelihood of accidents. At higher speeds, a car might not stop in time if a pedestrian unexpectedly steps onto the road, or the driver might misjudge the distance. Even in situations where pedestrians have the right of way, such as crosswalks with traffic signals, they’re not immune to potential accidents if drivers are negligent or reckless.
These accidents aren’t just the stuff of statistic reports or pedestrian accidents blog posts; they have real-world implications. Injured pedestrians might face hefty medical bills from emergency room visits, ongoing medical treatment, or even long-term therapy if they sustain catastrophic injuries. Non-fatal injuries, such as fractures or post-traumatic stress disorder, can significantly affect a person’s quality of life, limiting their mobility or causing immense psychological distress. Beyond the physical and mental toll, there’s also the burden of lost wages if the injured party can’t return to work immediately.
On the legal side, the aftermath of a pedestrian accident in Sarasota can be complex. The injured pedestrian might need to gather evidence, such as a police report, to establish fault and understand their legal rights. There could be battles with insurance companies, especially in no-fault states, where the injured person’s own insurer covers medical expenses regardless of who was at fault.
Victims might consider seeking guidance from a Sarasota pedestrian accident lawyer. An experienced lawyer can navigate the nuances of personal injury lawsuits, ensure fair recovery of compensation for medical costs, property damage, and pain, and provide counsel on whether to pursue a wrongful death claim if the accident led to a fatality.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
If you were hit by a car or other motor vehicle, then your injuries could be life-altering. You may even be looking to claim on behalf of a family member who has suffered an injury that prevents them from claiming themselves.
You are likely angry and are wondering how this could happen. There are several reasons why you might need a pedestrian accident attorney. However, some common causes are:
- Distracted driving, such as mobile phone use.
- The driver ignored red lights or stop signals.
- Reckless driving.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, lowering reaction time.
- Failure to check the environment, such as making blind turns or failing to check mirrors.
If the driver involved in the pedestrian accident was guilty of any of these behaviors, their liability should be easy to prove. They have not followed the rules of the road and therefore acted negligently, failing to keep others around them safe.
However, even if liability is clear, you should still seek help from a Sarasota pedestrian accident attorney. Insurance companies are often quick to offer you a settlement, which will likely be much less than what you are entitled to. Once you have accepted their offer, you cannot claim for more, even if you come to realize that the settlement barely covers your medical bills. At The Law Place, our accident attorneys will tell you what we think your case is worth and will fight with you to secure the best compensation.
Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are unfortunately common and can result in a wide range of injuries. These injuries can vary from minor bruises to life-threatening conditions. Below is a detailed look at some of the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians involved in accidents with motor vehicles.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, there’s a high likelihood of the person’s head making contact with the vehicle, ground, or another object. This can result in traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms might include dizziness, loss of consciousness, memory issues, or even long-term cognitive impairments. TBIs can be mild, moderate, or severe, with each category requiring different levels of medical intervention.
- Fractures Given the force exerted by a moving vehicle, bones can easily break upon impact. Common fractures in pedestrian accidents involve the legs, arms, pelvis, and ribs. Depending on the severity of the fracture, treatment can range from casts and physical therapy to surgeries and lengthy hospital stays.
- Internal Injuries The blunt force trauma of being hit by a car can cause internal injuries, even if there are no external signs of harm. Organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys might be damaged. Internal bleeding can also occur, which can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly.
- Spinal Cord Injuries A pedestrian’s spine is particularly vulnerable during an accident. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in temporary or permanent paralysis, either paraplegia (lower body) or quadriplegia (both arms and legs). This kind of injury often necessitates long-term care, specialized equipment, and home modifications.
- Lacerations and Abrasions While they might seem minor compared to the above injuries, cuts and scrapes can still pose serious health risks. Dirt and debris from the accident can embed in the skin, leading to infections. Deep lacerations might require stitches, and in some cases, can leave lasting scars.
- Psychological Trauma Physical injuries are not the only consequence of pedestrian accidents. Many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychological issues after the event. They might experience nightmares, flashbacks, or a persistent fear of crossing streets or being near moving vehicles.
- Crush Injuries If a pedestrian gets pinned between two vehicles or under a vehicle, they can sustain crush injuries. These can lead to significant damage to body tissues, muscles, and bones. In severe cases, amputation might be necessary if blood flow to a limb is compromised for an extended period.
- Soft Tissue Injuries Sprains, strains, and contusions fall under this category. While they might seem minor initially, soft tissue injuries can lead to long-term pain and discomfort if not treated properly.
- Degloving Injuries This particularly gruesome injury happens when the skin is torn away from the underlying tissue, typically due to the forceful scraping against a rough surface like the road. This exposes the underlayers of tissue, and immediate medical treatment is necessary to prevent severe complications.
- Facial and Dental Injuries A pedestrian’s face is exposed and vulnerable in an accident. Broken jaws, fractured cheekbones, lost or damaged teeth, and facial lacerations are all potential injuries. These can be especially traumatic, as they might require reconstructive surgeries and can have lasting aesthetic implications.
What Damages Can a Sarasota Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help Me Claim?
The damages that you can claim for in any accident throughout Florida can be separated into three categories. They are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are designed to cover any financial hardship as a result of your injury case. Injured pedestrians are often left with broken bones, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, or any other accident injuries. The financial expense can quickly accumulate.
- Medical expenses – Medical bills and future medical expenses can be massive in Sarasota, FL. It is easy to forget that expenses could continue for years, and you must make sure you have a legal team who takes that into account and stands up against the insurance company to make sure you are covered now and in the future.
- Lost wages – When someone is injured in a pedestrian accident, they will likely miss work. They may also lose earning capacity if their injuries prevent them from doing the same job. Both of these aspects must be taken into account when you are fighting for a settlement.
- Property damage – If any of your property was damaged in the Sarasota accident, then your injury lawyers will also secure compensation for this. For example, you may have a broken phone, headphones, laptop, etc.
- Additional costs – Additional costs could include transport to and from the hospital, adjustments to your home to aid you because of your injury, or any other expenses resulting from your injuries.
- Wrongful death – In the State of Florida, if you have lost a loved one in a car accident, then you can claim compensation for their funeral expenses and any loss of income to a family household.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to prove and are designed to compensate you for your emotional suffering. Following pedestrian accidents, it is important to seek legal representation from skilled pedestrian accident attorneys who can quantify your non-economic damages and ensure that you are properly compensated.
- Pain and suffering – Following personal injury from pedestrian accidents in Sarasota, FL., the victims must be compensated for their pain and suffering. This includes emotional distress and changes to the victim’s lifestyle, which could have a big impact on their life and emotional well-being. This could also impact the family, who are no longer able to spend time with that individual as they once did.
- Loss of companionship – If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, then you should be compensated for your emotional suffering as well.
Pedestrian accident lawyers at The Law Place will not only take into account your suffering but also the suffering of your family. We will fight to maximize the compensation you receive through our knowledge of Florida law. Contact us for a free case review to find out more about what we could do for your specific case.
Punitive damages or exemplary damages are damages designed to bring justice for the wrong brought against you. They are designed to punish the perpetrator rather than compensate the victim.
If you feel someone’s behavior has grossly wronged you, then you may be entitled to punitive damages. They do not come easily, but if appropriate to your case, your personal injury lawyer will help you fight for justice.
The Importance of Legal Representation in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can be life-altering, leaving victims with both physical and emotional scars. Navigating the aftermath, medical treatments, insurance claims, lost wages, can be overwhelming. That’s where the importance of having dedicated legal representation comes into play. Engaging the services of a skilled law firm, such as The Law Place, can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case and your path to recovery. Here’s why:
Comprehensive Understanding of the Law
Personal injury law, especially pertaining to pedestrian accidents, is intricate. Rules about who is at fault, how compensation is determined, and the deadlines for filing a claim can vary. A dedicated pedestrian accident attorney has a thorough understanding of these laws and will ensure that your case is handled correctly, maximizing your chances of a favorable outcome.
Insurance companies are often more interested in minimizing payouts than ensuring that victims are adequately compensated. An experienced lawyer from The Law Place can accurately evaluate the true value of your claim, accounting for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. They will aggressively negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
To build a strong case, it’s crucial to gather all relevant evidence, such as CCTV footage, eyewitness testimonies, and police reports. We have the resources and skill to conduct a thorough investigation, ensuring all critical details are uncovered and used to bolster your claim.
Beyond the legal aspects, dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be emotionally taxing. A compassionate attorney will provide not just legal guidance but emotional support, helping you navigate the various challenges that arise post-accident.
Contingency Fee Basis
Many victims hesitate to hire legal representation, fearing exorbitant legal fees. However, many law firms, including The Law Place, operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t pay any fees unless they successfully recover compensation for you. This approach allows victims to access top-notch legal representation without the burden of upfront costs.
Efficient Legal Processes
Legal procedures can be time-consuming, with various documentation, filings, and deadlines. A missed deadline or a misfiled document can jeopardize your entire case. By entrusting your case to us, you’re ensuring that every legal requirement is meticulously met, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Not all pedestrian accident cases end up in court. Many can be resolved through alternative dispute resolutions like mediation or arbitration. Having a lawyer can be invaluable in these settings, ensuring your interests are always front and center.
FAQ – Understanding Pedestrian Accidents and Safety
What are the primary causes of pedestrian accidents?
Pedestrian accidents happen due to many factors, including distracted driving, pedestrians not using designated crosswalks, poor visibility during daylight hours, and adverse weather conditions. Another significant reason is car accidents where vehicles lose control and end up hitting pedestrians.
How prevalent are pedestrian deaths in traffic crashes?
Pedestrian deaths constitute a significant portion of traffic fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes in traffic crashes in the United States.
Are there certain groups more vulnerable to pedestrian injuries and fatalities?
Yes, older adults and children are particularly at risk. Due to factors like slower movement, reduced visibility, or not being able to gauge vehicle speeds accurately, older adults often face higher risks when crossing streets. It’s vital for public health officials and community leaders to be aware of these vulnerabilities and implement pedestrian safety measures catering to these demographics.
How does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration work towards pedestrian safety?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dedicates resources towards research, public awareness campaigns, and collaborating with local authorities to improve pedestrian safety. They provide guidelines and resources to reduce pedestrian deaths and traffic accidents.
What’s the significance of a designated crosswalk in preventing pedestrian accidents?
Designated crosswalks are marked areas where pedestrians have the right-of-way to cross the street. They play a pivotal role in injury prevention as they offer a safe space for pedestrians, ensuring that vehicles yield to them. Not using these designated areas increases the risk of pedestrian injuries.
In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, what should one do at the accident scene?
First, prioritize medical care. Even if injuries seem minor, internal injuries or trauma might not be immediately apparent. After ensuring safety, gather evidence if possible, photos of the accident scene, witness testimonies, and contact details. Report the incident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report.
Are pedestrians covered by insurance if hit by a car?
In many places, the driver’s personal injury protection insurance might cover pedestrian injuries. However, insurance laws vary. It’s advisable to consult with a legal representative, especially if you’re building a pedestrian accident case to recover damages.
How can disease control and public health entities assist in reducing pedestrian traffic fatalities?
Disease control and public health agencies can conduct research to understand the root causes of pedestrian accidents and promote pedestrian safety campaigns. By analyzing accident data, they can recommend infrastructure changes or awareness programs targeting specific demographics or areas.
What are wrongful death damages in the context of pedestrian accidents?
If a pedestrian dies due to a traffic accident caused by another’s negligence, their family might be entitled to wrongful death damages. This compensation can cover medical expenses incurred before death, funeral costs, loss of income, and even emotional distress suffered by the family.
How can individuals promote pedestrian safety in their communities?
Community members can advocate for more designated crosswalks, better lighting during daylight hours, and more public awareness campaigns. Collaborating with local authorities and organizations like the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control can also lead to more significant safety measures.
How do traffic accidents involving pedestrians differ from other types of traffic crashes?
While all traffic accidents can result in severe injuries or fatalities, those involving pedestrians are particularly devastating as pedestrians lack the protection a vehicle provides its occupants. Pedestrian injuries are often more severe, ranging from fractures and internal injuries to fatal injuries.
Why is it essential to be more cautious during daylight hours?
Despite the visibility during daylight hours, a significant number of pedestrian accidents occur. This can be due to factors like the sun’s glare, shadows, or simply the higher number of pedestrians and vehicles during the day. Thus, extra caution is advised both for drivers and pedestrians.
Contact The Law Place for a Free Consultation in Sarasota Today
If you have been injured as a pedestrian in Sarasota County, then you deserve compensation. Being hit by a car is a frightening experience, and you should not have to deal with the stress of financial hardship for something that was not your fault.
At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of collective experience. Our Sarasota personal injury lawyers will analyze your case as a team to create an aggressive defense from every possible angle. At the same time, one of our personal injury lawyers will become your advocate and will be there to support you through this difficult time.
So call us today to schedule a free case review. Our practice areas cover the State of Florida, and our phone lines are open 24/7.
Call us on (941) 444-4444 today.