Accidents happen all the time, especially when we least expect it. Numerous types of road accidents inevitably cause a lot of harm and loss to the victims. Pedestrian accidents are one of the most frequently occurring accidents in Florida. The state records the highest number of accidents in the country. The statistics are alarming, and it is an unfortunate reality. Often, there are varying causes of pedestrian accidents. Most of the reasons do not result from a pedestrian’s carelessness or negligence on the road but are caused by a driver’s recklessness. However, this is not to say that pedestrians do not have a role to play in causing such accidents. We advise our clients to always be on high alert while accessing roads as a pedestrian to avoid these instances.
Victims involved in pedestrian accidents suffer a great deal because of the high impact between the vehicle and the person. We understand the gravity of the situation, coupled with stressful times ahead. Luckily, some are lucky enough to escape with minor fractures and injuries, depending on the nature of the accident. Regardless of the degree of injuries sustained, you deserve compensation for the trouble caused after such an occurrence. Clay County Personal Injury Attorney offices consist of well-trained lawyers who are experts in the field of personal injury suits. We are dedicated to finding solutions to our clients as we give professional legal advice as well as litigation services to you.
Nature and Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Firstly, different types of pedestrians use the roads daily. It is essential, therefore, to note that the term pedestrian does not merely mean a person walking along the way for that matter, but includes any other person who is not inside a vehicle or a moving bicycle and motorcycle. A pedestrian can be:
- Someone who is walking
- A person using roller skates
- A jogger
- A skateboarder
- A segway rider
After establishing this clarification, cyclists and motorcycle riders cannot be placed in the same category as pedestrians because they have access to roadways, unlike pedestrians.
Accidents often happen very quickly in a way that prevents the victims from making any quick reactions that may be useful in protecting themselves. Most reported cases record adverse effects in pedestrian accidents, with most of them causing fatalities. On top of that, the liability of causation of the accident is hard to determine sometimes. This is because the events may occur very quickly and consecutively. Your lawyer has to ensure that due diligence is done when such investigations are underway. He or she does this to establish the just cause of the accident and therefore raise a rightful claim of compensation on your behalf.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
All accidents differ from each other because the leading causes of the accidents differ. Despite this, there are common factors that are widely observed, and when consolidated, bring forth the common causes of pedestrian accidents.
Some causes are highly dependent on the attention drivers give on the road, while others happen to be unfortunate events that are not necessarily preventable. They are:
- Busy Intersections
The state of Florida is often bustling with loads of traffic heading into and out of the central business district. Due to this, roads are always occupied by numerous vehicles heading in different directions. The busy streets pose a significant risk for pedestrians who may need to cross the streets at such intersections. The problem becomes more complicated because the design of such road intersections mostly consists of a four-way junction. In such a configuration, vehicles move in all directions. Should you find yourself in such an intersection, it may be tricky to establish the right timing for you to cross. You should, therefore, exercise a high level of caution because a mishap may quickly arise, especially when vehicles are moving in every direction.
- Reckless Driving
Time and time again, drivers are warned against trying out dangerous stunts that lead to recklessness on the road. A good example is speeding beyond the prescribed limit in a location where pedestrians are bound to walk around. A reckless stunt poses a threat not only to the driver but also to such innocent pedestrians. When a driver speeds over the limit, he or she is unable to have adequate reaction time if he/she requires to apply brakes immediately. When a lack of prompt reaction ensues, a pedestrian accident will occur.
There are many reported cases of drivers knocking down people trying to cross the road, with the cause of such an accident pointing to reckless driving. Besides speeding, a distracted driver also acts recklessly because his or her mind is not fixed on navigating the road. For example, a driver on a phone call or texting draws attention from viewing possible oncoming pedestrians. It is therefore expected that such a driver will inevitably hit a pedestrian due to lack of focus.
Besides, motorists who recklessly drive under the influence pose a threat of causing pedestrian accidents, because they are not competent enough to drive at that given time. Numerous DUI pedestrian accidents are reported daily because of the unstable nature of such drivers. These kinds of accidents are potentially the most dangerous since a driver is unable to fully register the results of his actions even as he/she has already hit you.
- Lack of Sidewalks
Some roads are not well designed to accommodate sidewalks, where pedestrians are designated to walk. If a person has to walk slightly off the edge of the way because of such a lack of sidewalks, he or she risks being involved in a gruesome accident should a driver fail to see him/her or control the vehicle in the right direction. However, as a pedestrian, you can take additional safety measures by keeping left. This way, you can see oncoming vehicles and, at the same time, stay on the opposite lane from vehicles moving in the same direction you are. Although this measure is not a full assurance of preventing an accident, you have better chances of avoiding it by implementing it as you walk.
Some pedestrians are usually in a hurry and are willing to take chances with moving vehicles, giving them an allowance to cross. Jaywalking involves crossing roads in undesignated areas like those with no marked crosswalks. Jaywalkers also tend to ignore traffic lights that control pedestrian movement and opt to move in when they feel it is safe to do so. Jaywalking is a dangerous practice that has brought about a high number of pedestrian accidents.
- Unattended Children Crossing Roads
Unfortunately, children make up a significant number of pedestrian accident cases recorded each day. Most of the accidents involve knocking down unattended children who are prone to wandering around. Some are usually innocently playing and get carried away running to the road. Moreover, some children have to walk to school without adult supervision. In such a case, they are unable to tell when it is safe to cross or even what boundary of the road they should not pass. It is also essential to note that pedestrian accidents involving children mostly also include negligent drivers who may not be keen on the streets.
Other times, however, the events happen too fast, and a driver may be unable to break on time. Such incidents are mostly recorded in school zones where children are primarily found in big groups. If they do not have adult supervision, they often become victims of pedestrian accidents.
- Failure to Indicate and Yield to Pedestrians
Some drivers are usually absent-minded on the roads, and fundamental driving functions are difficult to remember for them. It is imperative to indicate where you would like to turn, as it gives other motorists and pedestrians a sense of direction as well as the purpose to give way. When a driver does not indicate and instead makes a sudden turn, he or she may cause a pedestrian accident. The leading cause will be the pedestrian’s assumption that the driver does not intend to move in the same direction as him/her.
Additionally, some drivers fail to give pedestrians a chance to pass even when they have the right of way. Such cases are recorded even on designated and marked crosswalks. It is quite unfair for a driver to move unbothered with a pedestrian’s right of way, and should an accident occur, he/she will have to carry most of the blame.
- Wearing Dark Clothes at Night
As a pedestrian, you should try to wear bright and reflective clothing, especially, when it is dark. Visibility is not apparent to all motorists, and many pedestrian accidents occur because a driver has not seen you on the road. However, this does not give him/her an excuse to escape liability primarily if he or she acted in other negligent ways.
- Inaccurate Traffic Lights
Some traffic lights on the roads may be faulty, giving drivers and pedestrians the signal to go. If you are unable to observe and learn of the misguided signs quickly, you may find yourself involved in an accident as a pedestrian. The occurrence of such an event should not deter you from seeking compensation. The board in charge of maintaining traffic lights should be responsible enough to ensure that they are well maintained.
Laws Governing Pedestrians
The state of Florida has implemented the Florida statutes. It has codified many laws, including those that relate to pedestrians. Legislators are keen to prevent the occurrence of accidents of all forms, because of the numerous stressful events that follow them.
Section 316.130 of the Florida Statutes states that pedestrians should always use sidewalks where provided and should never walk on the road. The provision is for clear reasons, aimed at preventing or significantly reducing the risk of accidents occurring dramatically. The section further states that where a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian is allowed to walk on the road. However, he/she should exercise a lot of caution and be on high alert. An excellent hack is always walking on the left side of the road, as mentioned above.
Section 316.130(13) deals with pedestrians and the right of way. It states that, despite having the right of way, pedestrians should always be cautious of proceeding to the road and only do so using the right half of the crosswalk.
The harsh reality is that you cannot fully predict that a driver has you in mind as he or she approaches the crosswalk. Therefore, you should always have your safety in mind and as the main priority when crossing the road. Try not to assume that a driver sees you, and he/she will give you the way.
The law also prevents pedestrians from standing in between road lanes and trying to advertise their businesses to drivers on the road. They are prohibited from selling goods, passing pamphlets, or merely loitering at risky, dangerous intersections and lanes. Signaling drivers on non-designated roadways to try and get rides is also not allowed, because pedestrians expose themselves to high risks. If such an activity is permitted, and a pedestrian accident occurs, circumstances are analyzed in court, and liability is established.
Section 318.14 (4), (5) makes provisions in cases where pedestrians are found liable for violations. Where they violate the provided rules, the situation is treated as an infraction. That means that no criminal charge will be placed on you. Besides, when in violation, you are expected to pay a small fine of $15, according to section 318.18. The pedestrian in question may pay the fine in person or choose to send it by mail to the relevant authorities. He or she must ensure that he/she makes payment within 30 days of the findings.
Injuries Sustained in Pedestrian Accidents
Victims of pedestrian accidents are directly exposed to impact from vehicles or bikes, and that brings about numerous fatalities. Luckily, some cases are minor, and victims involved do not sustain serious injuries. However, not all victims are fortunate to survive, and they end up suffering. Common injuries are:
Once a pedestrian is knocked down, he or she is bound to suffer bone fractures depending on the nature of the fall. Other fractures are sustained because of the hard impact when a vehicle comes into contact with the body. The fractures are because of the vehicle’s greater force. Victims may suffer bone fractures involving arms, legs, and even pelvis.
The pelvis is located around the hip and supports the hip muscles. Most victims are prone to such fractures because vehicles mostly hit pedestrians from a side angle where the pelvic bone is located.
Lacerations are body injuries. The injuries may be grave or minor, but in either case, they may develop into serious injuries. They come about by pricking and roughing up the skin by sharp or serrated surfaces as a pedestrian falls or is hit by a vehicle. Once your soft body tissue is raptured, you are prone to bleeding and exposure to bacteria. Open wounds will, therefore, often lead to infections and more severe illnesses. An accident victim should, therefore, seek medical attention immediately.
- Spinal Cord Injuries
Due to the massive force, a pedestrian suffers after a moving vehicle or bike hits him or her, he/she may fall and injure the spine. The spinal cord is a susceptible body part because it holds many vital nerves together. Spine injuries, therefore, are linked to paralysis. The case is an entirely different injury altogether.
It drastically changes the life of a victim who can no longer use all the parts of the body, generally as before. In adverse cases, paralysis arising from spine injuries may cause full-body disease. The condition rendered the victim disabled, and he/she is barred from getting back to using automotive bodily functions. The situation created by such occurrences is very tough on the affected person, and you deserve services from a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will ensure that you receive rightful compensation for the suffering caused.
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Similarly, your head may suffer injury from a fall caused by an accident. The skull’s purpose is to protect your brain from injury. However, sometimes it may crack and cause brain harm. The results of this injury vary based on the different circumstances that led to the accident. Minor traumatic injuries cause occasional concussions, while in severe cases, a traumatic brain injury may cause severe headaches and even memory loss.
- Internal Bleeding
When an accident occurs, you may not suffer any external bleeding. That does not mean that certain blood vessels have not been raptured inside your body. Getting a check-up is essential even if you feel that you are fine. The reason for this is the danger posed by internal bleeding. When the blood solidifies, it causes blood clots, which may end up causing heart attacks. As a result, internal bleeding may be fatal if left unattended.
- Wrongful Death
Sadly, most pedestrian accidents are fatal. The force exerted on a person from a car is incomparable. A human being can only withstand too much impact. Death may not be directly caused by the actual force or effect from a vehicle but may result from failed medical procedures. Other severe injuries often lead to the passing away of an accident victim, some of which are discussed below.
A doctor may not always tell if a victim will survive or not, and a patient may remain under observation for long but eventually succumb to accident injuries.
Who is Liable for Pedestrian Accidents?
For the court to establish liability of accidents on parties, your lawyer should prove certain factors against the defendant. The parties liable may be a driver who hit you or the party tasked with maintaining roads and traffic signs.
A driver has specific duties while on the road, and if not observed, he or she will be fully liable for your accident. Your lawyer should state the duties the driver owes to you, and weigh them against the given facts to establish whether he or she followed them.
Drivers should always:
- Signal when turning
- Yield to pedestrians
- Drive at a reasonable speed
- Obey traffic signs and lights
- Stay focused on roads
If your personal injury attorney successfully proves that the defendant neglected any or all these provisions, liability will fall on him/her.
On the other hand, the authority in charge of maintaining roads should not be negligent. Their negligence in duty operations is established if they knew of an existing problem on the streets, such as faulty traffic lights. If they did not do anything about it for a long time, they would be found negligent because they have a duty of care to you and other road users at large.
Claims of Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Victims
Should you find yourself wrongfully aggrieved by a pedestrian accident, you have the right to sue for compensation. You deserve to get your life back in order, and payment received will significantly help.
Compensation for Loss of a Loved One
The wrongful death of a loved one is one of the worst things that you could face in your lifetime. We understand the trying times brought about by the passing away of a significant person in your life. We usually advise you on specific claims to raise, such as the covering of medical expenses to be imposed on the defendant.
The amount paid should be enough to cater for the entire funeral process and cover the earnings the deceased would have brought in. Additionally, you can sue for the pain and suffering caused by the death of the victim. It is never easy to accept the loss of a person, and you need compensation for the ordeal you go through.
Medical bills often sum up to significant statements that you have to clear before releasing from the hospital. When you sustain severe injuries that require you to remain in the hospital for long, you can expect that the bills will be significantly higher than an outpatient’s medical expenses.
None of these occurrences is your fault. Because of the uncertainty, it is crucial to seek monetary compensation or seek a specific performance remedy that requires a defendant to clear the outstanding amount.
Loss of Future Income
When you undergo life-altering changes because of severe accidents, you may be unable to continue working. Some of the injuries, as mentioned, include paralysis or severely fractured limbs. Due to your loss of a source of income, you should be able to make a claim against the defendant liable for your accident.
The monetary compensation availed should be enough to cover the earnings you would have received until you retired. The defendant, therefore, has an uphill task to ensure he or she covers the entire amount or else is otherwise held to be in contempt of court.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Pedestrian accidents cause a load of subsequent problems and stress to the victims and their loved ones. Sometimes, the liable parties usually try to evade responsibility and shift the blame on the victims. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, our lawyers have to ensure that our clients get the best legal services they can access. We are actively involved in seeking redress to personal injury cases and promise you the best compensation. If you are currently a victim of pedestrian accidents, contact us at 904-494-8242. We will be happy to serve you and help you get the justice you deserve.