When you think of Florida, you probably think of beautiful palm-lined streets near crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches. But, as beautiful as the state is, it’s ranked as one of the worst states for pedestrian safety, according to a report from Smart Growth America.
When the pandemic hit a few years ago, it brought an unprecedented change in our daily lives. One of those changes was how people get around. But, with that change also came an alarming increase in the rate of pedestrian fatalities. Data from Smart Growth America shows that over 6,500 people were struck and killed while walking in 2020. That translates to an average of nearly 18 pedestrian deaths per day, and a 4.5% increase from 2019.
If you get hit by a car as a pedestrian, it can be a traumatic experience. But, unfortunately, it’s not a rare occurrence. Florida’s streets and busy intersections are some of the most dangerous zones for pedestrians. About 1 in every 15 Florida pedestrian accidents ends in a fatality.
If you were struck by a car, you can seek compensation for your damages. Read on to learn about the basics of personal injury law and why you need an attorney after a pedestrian accident.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal claim you can file for compensation from liable parties that caused harm to you. To recover your damages, you must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. In addition, you must prove that your injuries directly resulted from the accident.
What Are Damages In a Personal Injury Claim?
Damages are any losses you suffered from the accident. You could seek financial compensation and win an award if you sustained injuries and other damages. Other types of damage for which you can seek compensation include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Is There a Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
Yes. The time limit imposed by Florida law to file a personal injury claim is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is four years from the date of the accident. If you don’t file a claim within the statute of limitations, you might forfeit your right to file a claim for that incident. That being said, if you wait days, weeks or months to set up your claim, you are wasting your time. It is imperative to get your claim going or it will have little to no value.
How Do I Prove Fault in a Florida Pedestrian Accident?
You can prove fault in a Florida pedestrian accident case in many ways. For starters, you will need solid evidence to validate your claim. Examples of evidence include:
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Surveillance footage
- Police reports
- Expert testimonies (medical professional, etc.)
Is It Worth It to Hire a Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
Yes. If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, an attorney could help you thoroughly investigate the accident. Furthermore, they can assist you in gathering necessary evidence and building a strong case to support your claim. Then, you will have the best chance of recovering fair compensation for your losses.
What are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Florida?
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates 7,485 pedestrians were struck and killed in 2021. That’s a 13% increase over one year and the highest in 40 years. However, most accidents are avoidable and can be prevented with more caution. The biggest contributors to pedestrian accidents are human error due to distracted or reckless driving.
Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted driving: Cell phone use is the leading cause of distracted driving accidents. Whether people are texting, using a navigation system, or changing music, it only takes one second to cause a severe accident. Even the slightest lapse in attention can cause severe injuries that are always worse for pedestrians than vehicle occupants.
- Speeding: drivers who rush to get somewhere and exceed the speed limit put pedestrians at high risk for catastrophic injuries.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: alcohol and other drugs impair our reasoning abilities, cause slow reaction time, and pose a danger to everyone on the road.
- Failing to obey traffic laws: if a driver fails to yield or runs a red light, they have a higher chance of hitting a pedestrian. Many pedestrian accidents happen at crosswalks or intersections where a car disregards the traffic signal.
- Poorly maintained roads: while less frequent, sometimes road conditions can cause a car to lose control and hit a pedestrian. Potholes, cracks, and other hazards could cause pedestrians to trip and fall into the road.
What to Do After a Florida Pedestrian Accident
After you get hit by a car, your safety should be a top priority. Make sure you get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you have serious injuries, go to a doctor. Sometimes, injuries take a while to present symptoms. After you get appropriate medical treatment, you need to hire a legal professional to help protect your rights. Contact an experienced Florida pedestrian accident lawyer.
The Most Common Injuries in Florida Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian injuries can vary greatly depending on how fast the car was traveling. But in most cases, the pedestrian walks away with serious injuries. In the worst cases, a pedestrian could end up with catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, or even death. Some of the most common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Broken bones and bone fractures
- Internal bleeding
- organ damage
- Head injuries (e.g., concussions, traumatic brain injury)
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries (spinal cord injury)
- Burns (from skidding on the road)
- Scrapes, bruises, scratches
What Can a Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Do For Me?
The extent of injuries for pedestrians struck by a car can be overwhelming. The effects can be life-changing. The last thing you need while trying to heal and recover is dealing with the legal aftermath of it alone. That’s where a lawyer can come in and help. They will also help you get adequate compensation for all the damages you incurred
Insurance companies often try to cheat injury victims out of getting a fair payout. That’s another reason why it will benefit you to have strong legal representation on your side. Your attorney will fight to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
After being hit by an inattentive, careless, or negligent driver, you have a right to file a personal injury claim. Hiring an attorney is the safest way to ensure you navigate the legal process correctly and effectively. Here are some things a Florida pedestrian accident lawyer can help you with:
Conducting a Thorough Investigation of the Accident
This will involve talking to witnesses, reviewing police reports, and collecting other evidence to strengthen your case.
To have a successful personal injury claim, you need proof that the driver who hit you was at fault. In addition to gathering evidence, your attorney will help establish liability or fault.
If the vehicle was speeding or made an illegal turn and then hit you, they were not driving responsibly. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, your attorney could help determine how much fault you have based on Florida’s comparative fault statute. Even so, they might still be able to help you collect a percentage of your compensation for damages.
Calculating Your Damages
After you establish fault, your attorney can help calculate the full extent of your damages and determine a value. Your damages might include economic and non-economic damages. Examples of damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- And more
Non-economic damages like pain and suffering are harder to put a price tag on. However, that’s where your attorney can be extremely helpful and ensure you get compensated fairly.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to lowball injury victims to settle the case quickly and cheaply. However, a good attorney will not settle for anything less than what you deserve.
Likewise, insurance companies might try to call you to discuss the case. Again, it’s best to consult your attorney before dealing with them. If they find any discrepancies in your story, they might try to deny your claim. Attorneys understand insurance company tactics and are skilled in the art of negotiating.
Helping Decide the Best Course of Action for You
If the insurance company refuses to give you a fair settlement, your attorney could take your case to court. Then, a judge or jury can determine how much to award you for your injuries. Unfortunately, most injury victims who try to take their case to court without a lawyer don’t win. Finding an attorney who knows the law and how to handle your case is your best shot at getting a fair outcome.
Contact a Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
A Florida personal injury attorney could help ensure you get the maximum compensation for damages if you were injured in a Florida pedestrian accident. We offer some of the leading legal services in the area and have vast experience helping clients with cases similar to yours. We know the statute of limitations, when to settle, and when to sue. In addition, our legal team knows how to develop a winning strategy for your unique case.
Contact us today for a free consultation.