Pedestrian accidents are a common occurrence in Florida, often resulting in serious injuries or even death. Statistics by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles tell us that 700 pedestrians were killed and a further 6,000 injured in car accidents across the state in 2020.
Many people believe that pedestrians who have been hit by a car are usually at fault, as they may have been wearing dark clothing, crossed the road somewhere other than designated crosswalks, or weren’t paying attention to oncoming traffic. However, both the driver and the pedestrian could be at fault for the accident, and liability will be determined based on principles of negligence.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident and are unsure whether you or the driver involved were at fault for the collision, you should schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers from The Law Place today. Our law firm can offer you legal advice about your case and figure out who was actually at fault for the accident. We have over 75 years of combined experience in a range of practice areas, and we have built up a strong attorney-client relationship through these years of practice.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24/7.
Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident Case
All injury cases in Florida are dealt with according to principles of negligence. Both a driver and a pedestrian have a duty to exercise reasonable care, which includes a duty to obey traffic laws, follow traffic signals, and take all reasonable measures to prevent an accident from happening.
When determining who was at fault for a pedestrian accident, the insurance companies and parties involved will have to prove the following elements:
- Duty of care – Drivers and pedestrians have a duty of care to not put each other in dangerous situations and take care to prevent a collision from happening, based on the particular circumstances.
- Breach of this duty – It must be shown that either or both parties breached this duty by acting negligently. This could include failing to yield the right of way, driving under the influence (DUI), or a person walking on a motorway or a high-speed road.
- Causation – It is necessary to prove that this negligence caused the other party to suffer damages.
- Damages – The injured person must be entitled to damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, or wrongful death.
Who Can Be at Fault in a Car Accident?
As noted before, both the pedestrian and the driver involved could be at fault for an accident. Pedestrians generally have a better chance to avoid a car accident, as they should not be on the road unless they have the right of way or if it is safe for them to do so. However, a large number of pedestrian accident scenarios are actually caused by the driver due to reckless driving or failure to take reasonable care on the roads.
Some ways a driver can cause a pedestrian accident:
- Distracted driving and failing to watch out for pedestrians walking on the road.
- Not driving at a safe speed.
- Running a red light or traffic signal.
- Failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian.
- Driving under the influence or drunk driving.
- Not slowing down or braking their motor vehicle in time.
- Weaving between lanes and not taking adequate care to protect pedestrians.
Ways that a pedestrian can cause an accident include:
- Not looking for oncoming traffic when crossing a road.
- Walking along a motorway or a high-speed road.
- Wearing dark clothing when walking on the road, particularly at night time.
- Trying to cross a road when drunk or under the influence of drugs.
- Crossing the road when the traffic signal is red.
In general, the person who is hit by a car often suffers far more damage than the driver, as the car may only have some dents or scratches, whereas the pedestrian could have suffered serious injuries. Regardless of this, both pedestrians and drivers can cause an accident to happen, and it is important that both parties take reasonable care when either driving or walking on the road.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Florida
The law in Florida provides that all injury victims can recover compensation through their own insurance provider, regardless of whether they were at fault. However, if the injured person is a pedestrian, they may not have their own insurance policy, or their insurance may not cover injuries sustained as a pedestrian. As such, some injured pedestrians will have to file a claim against the insurance office of the negligent driver or file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation.
Under Florida’s comparative negligence laws, there can be shared fault for any accident on the road. This means that both the pedestrian and the driver can be found partially at fault for the accident, and the amount of compensation each party receives will be reduced accordingly.
Accident victims in Florida are not subject to a contributory negligence system, which means that in most cases, they will be able to receive compensation even if they were at fault. Under a contributory negligence system, a pedestrian could be completely barred from recovering compensation even if they were only 1% at fault.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?
There are certain steps you should take if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Florida to make sure you are safe and that you are able to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
- Seek medical assistance – It is important that you call an ambulance or a medical professional to look at your injuries following an accident. They can write a medical report detailing your injuries and the treatment you will need in order to recover.
- Get a police report filed – You are required by law to file a police report if anyone was hurt or killed in an accident. It is important that you call law enforcement and report the accident as soon as possible, as failure to do so can result in your compensation being denied.
- Keep track of any injuries and losses – You should always keep a record of the injuries you have suffered at the accident scene and any expenses related to these injuries. Documentation will be key evidence when filing an injury claim.
- Contact your insurance company – If you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage with a car insurance company, you should be able to receive compensation through this policy. We always recommend that you notify your insurance of any road accident regardless of whether you were at fault.
- Find personal injury lawyers to help your case – It is recommended that you contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if a car hits you and you suffer injuries. They can help you with your case and prove fault on your behalf.
Contact The Law Place Today
Trying to determine fault in pedestrian accidents can be difficult, and often drivers of motor vehicles have the upper hand as a pedestrian should only be on the road when they have the right of way or when it is safe to do so. However, this does not mean that a pedestrian is always at fault for a collision, and from a legal standpoint, both parties have equal responsibility to each other on the road.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident in Florida and are wondering whether you or the driver was at fault and whether you are entitled to receive compensation for any injuries, lost income, or pain and suffering you’ve endured, you should contact our law firm today. At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of experience, and we have built up a strong confidential relationship with our clients based on our hard work and dedication. We offer a free consultation for you to speak with an experienced attorney about your case and figure out whether you have a valid compensation claim.
Call us today to schedule a free evaluation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open.