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Posted 08/02/2023 in Personal Injury by Erik Abrahamson

Determining Liability In Florida Pedestrian Accidents

Determining Liability In Florida Pedestrian Accidents

Being involved in an accident as a pedestrian is undeniably one of the most terrifying situations an individual can ever experience. The vulnerability of being on foot amidst fast-moving vehicles creates an overwhelming sense of fear and helplessness. In the blink of an eye, lives can change drastically, as the consequences of such accidents can be truly catastrophic. The impact of a collision with a car or any other vehicle can lead to severe injuries, permanent disabilities, or even fatal outcomes. Not only does the physical trauma take a toll, but the emotional and psychological scars can linger for a lifetime. It serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of road safety and the need for drivers to be vigilant and responsible, ensuring that pedestrian zones are respected, and safety measures are strictly adhered to. Every effort must be made to prevent such accidents, as the consequences are far-reaching and deeply devastating for the individuals and families involved.

In the unfortunate event that you find yourself injured in a pedestrian accident, having a skilled Florida pedestrian accident lawyer by your side becomes crucial. The impact of such accidents can result in substantial losses, which may continue to escalate over time. To fully recover from these losses, obtaining fair compensation becomes imperative. However, this process involves proving liability and dealing with the driver's insurance company, which is not inclined to support your recovery fully. Their primary objective is to minimize their payouts and pay you as little as possible, rather than providing the compensation you rightfully deserve. That's why having an experienced Florida pedestrian accident attorney who can advocate for your rights and negotiate on your behalf is essential to ensure you receive the rightful compensation to aid your recovery.

When Are Pedestrians Liable For An Accident?

In certain circumstances, pedestrians can be held liable for an accident, despite the expectation that drivers should exercise reasonable caution to avoid collisions. Several situations may arise where a pedestrian's actions contribute significantly to the accident:

  • Walking On A Highway With Dark Clothes On - When pedestrians choose to walk along busy highways in low-light conditions while wearing dark clothing, they become less visible to drivers, making it difficult for the latter to spot them and avoid a collision.

  • Suddenly Darting Out In The Street - If a pedestrian unexpectedly darts into the path of an oncoming vehicle, the driver may not have sufficient time to react and avoid the accident.

  • Walking On A Highway, Bridge, Or Road Where Pedestrians Are Prohibited - When pedestrians ignore signage or rules prohibiting pedestrian traffic on certain roads or bridges, they put themselves at risk and create potential hazards for drivers.

  • Suddenly Crossing Against The Traffic Signal - If a pedestrian decides to cross a road against the traffic signal's indication, it can catch drivers off-guard, leading to an accident.

In cases where the driver has taken all reasonable measures to prevent an accident with a pedestrian, yet the collision still occurs due to the pedestrian's actions, the pedestrian may be found partially or wholly liable for the accident. Consequently, this could limit their ability to recover compensation for injuries suffered in the accident, as their actions contributed significantly to the occurrence of the collision. In such situations, liability may be shared between the driver and the pedestrian, depending on the circumstances and the laws governing the jurisdiction.

What Happens When Both The Driver & Pedestrian Are At Fault?

In many accidents, both the driver and the pedestrian can share some level of fault. For instance, a pedestrian may be crossing the street against the signal, but the driver might have been speeding and unable to stop in time to avoid the collision. In such cases, both parties may bear some responsibility for the resulting injuries and damages.

Florida follows a modified comparative negligence rule when it comes to determining liability in accidents involving shared fault. If you, as the pedestrian, are found to be no more than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still pursue compensation, but your recovery will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. For example, if the court determines that you were 20% at fault, you can still recover 80% of your damages in a lawsuit. However, if your percentage of fault exceeds 50%, you will be barred from any recovery under the law. This means that if you are deemed to be primarily responsible for the accident, Florida law prevents you from seeking compensation from the other party, even if they were also partially at fault.

In cases where both the driver and pedestrian share fault, determining the exact degree of responsibility for each party can be a complex legal matter. Insurance companies and legal teams will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, and assess the actions of both parties to determine the appropriate level of liability. As such, it is crucial to have legal representation to protect your rights and interests if you find yourself in a situation where fault is shared between a driver and a pedestrian.

Pedestrian Rights After Being In An Accident In Florida

Being involved in a pedestrian accident can be a harrowing experience, and as the victim, you have important rights that can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Pedestrian accidents can occur in various settings, from busy downtown streets to quiet residential neighborhoods, and distracted driving has become a significant risk factor for such incidents. When drivers engage in activities like texting or talking on their phones while behind the wheel, their inattentiveness can lead to life-changing accidents for pedestrians.

As the injured pedestrian in Florida, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for the losses you have suffered. All drivers have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care on the roads, and this duty extends to pedestrians as much as it does to other drivers. If the driver who struck you is found to be at fault, either fully or partially, in the accident, you have the legal right to seek damages for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related losses. By asserting your rights, you can hold the responsible party accountable and obtain the necessary support to aid your recovery.

Navigating the legal complexities of a pedestrian accident case can be challenging, but with the help of an experienced Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer, you can stand up for your rights and pursue the compensation you are entitled to. A skilled Tampa personal injury lawyer can advocate on your behalf, negotiate with insurance companies, and build a strong case to ensure your voice is heard and your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Most Common Types Of Pedestrian Accidents In Florida

Pedestrian accidents in Florida encompass a range of unfortunate situations that can lead to devastating consequences. Among the most prevalent types of pedestrian accidents are collisions involving pedestrians and cars, posing a significant risk due to the inherent vulnerability of pedestrians compared to the mass and speed of vehicles. These accidents can occur not only on sidewalks but also while pedestrians are crossing roads or using designated crosswalks. While many of these accidents are caused by drivers' inattentiveness, some can be attributed to negligent actions by pedestrians, such as crossing roads without caution or being under the influence of alcohol, which further increases the risks. The hazards faced by pedestrians are amplified during nighttime when limited visibility poses a considerable challenge for drivers to detect pedestrians in time to avoid collisions. 

Tragically, children are particularly susceptible to pedestrian accidents, often darting into traffic impulsively or failing to exercise caution when crossing roads. Their smaller size and unpredictable behavior make them more vulnerable to accidents, necessitating heightened vigilance from both drivers and parents.

Effectively addressing the root causes of these common pedestrian accidents requires a multi-faceted approach. It involves educating drivers on the importance of attentiveness and adherence to traffic laws, as well as promoting safe crossing practices for pedestrians, with a particular focus on children. Furthermore, implementing adequate lighting and safety measures in high-risk areas can play a crucial role in reducing the frequency of these devastating accidents on Florida's roadways. By proactively addressing these issues, we can strive towards creating safer environments for pedestrians and drivers alike.

What To Do After A Pedestrian Accident

If you find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident, taking certain crucial steps can help safeguard your claim for maximum compensation. 

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

The first and foremost priority should be seeking prompt medical attention. Your health is of utmost importance, so it is essential to visit a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Describe the incident and detail your symptoms thoroughly to ensure a comprehensive diagnosis and proper medical treatment.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Following your doctor's advice is vital for both your well-being and your claim for compensation. Adhering to their recommendations, even if they seem cautious, will strengthen your case and demonstrate that you are taking your recovery seriously.

Avoid Talking About The Accident

It is important to avoid discussing the accident with anyone other than your pedestrian accident attorney. Steer clear of posting details on social media, as insurance companies may use this information against you. Refrain from giving a recorded statement to the at-fault driver's insurance company without the guidance of your attorney, as they may attempt to use it to minimize your claim.

Seek Legal Assistance From A Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorney 

Seeking experienced legal representation is a crucial step in protecting your rights and obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Consulting with a Florida pedestrian injury lawyer can provide you with essential guidance and support during this challenging time. They can help you:

  • Navigate the legal process

  • Gather evidence

  • Negotiate with insurance companies

  • Ensure your best interests are represented 

If you have questions or concerns about your case, do not hesitate to contact a reliable attorney to get the answers and assistance you need. Remember, they are available 24/7 to advocate for your rights and provide the necessary legal support.

Having a Florida pedestrian accident attorney on your side can be a vital asset in navigating the complexities of your claim and securing the rightful compensation you deserve. A Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer will be committed to supporting accident victims throughout the process of recovering their losses.

Case Consultation

The journey begins with an initial consultation, providing accident victims with a valuable opportunity to engage in a free and no-obligation discussion with an experienced legal professional. During this meeting, the attorney will address any inquiries, clarify available options, and begin gathering essential information to assess the claim for compensation thoroughly.

Speaking With The Insurance Companies

Working with an attorney offers significant advantages, particularly when it comes to handling interactions with the at-fault driver's insurance company. By representing the victim, the attorney shields them from direct dealings with the adjuster and efficiently manages all communications on their behalf.

Gathering Evidence & Investigating

A dedicated and diligent Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer will waste no time in launching a comprehensive investigation into the accident, recognizing the time-sensitive nature of gathering evidence. Contacting the firm promptly enhances the chances of securing critical evidence to establish the driver's liability effectively.

Filing The Claim

Once sufficient evidence is obtained to support a potential compensation claim, the attorney takes the initiative to file the claim on behalf of the victim. The firm fully understands the importance of adhering to Florida's statute of limitations, ensuring that the claim is submitted within the required timeframe.

Negotiating With Insurance Claims

Negotiating with insurance companies is a pivotal aspect of the attorney's role, leveraging the victim's statements, medical records, and the evidence uncovered during the investigation to strive for the maximum value of the claim settlement.

Constant Communication 

Throughout the entire process, the attorney maintains open lines of communication with the accident victim, keeping them apprised of the progress and any settlement offers received from the insurance company. This enables the victim to stay informed and make well-informed decisions regarding settlement acceptance or exploring further legal actions, including pursuing the case to trial if necessary. With the unwavering support of a skilled pedestrian accident attorney, victims can focus on their recovery, reassured that their legal rights and interests are being fiercely advocated for by a dedicated legal team.

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