Pedestrians, whether walking, running, jogging, or sitting in a public place, are prone to get into accidents with negligent drivers. It is critical to know the types of injuries that you can sustain if involved in a crash and stay safe to avoid them. You also should know what to do if a careless driver causes a collision that leaves you with injuries. While nobody can undo an injury already sustained, Florida personal injury laws provide a means for the harmed person to become whole again. Usually, relief for the injuries you suffer comes in the form of financial compensation, also known as damages. Often, injury claims are solved out of court with insurance companies, before the judge makes a ruling.
However, to get this relief, you need help from an expert personal injury attorney. A lawyer is capable of negotiating on your behalf with the insurance provider of the negligent party for a better settlement offer. If you need to solve a pedestrian accident injury case in Clay County, lawyers at Clay County Personal Injury Attorney can help. We will assist you in gathering proof, and through the entire process of filing your claim if you suffer any injuries and damages.
Florida Pedestrian Laws
Pedestrian crashes are among the most deadly types of accidents. They can lead to severe injuries that may take a long time to heal, while others may even lead to death. While motorists have to be attentive to prevent crashes on the roadway, pedestrians have an equal obligation to be alert at all times when crossing the road or walking on walkways. Here are the rules of the roadway a pedestrian should obey to avoid accidents that may result in severe, long-lasting injuries.
First of all, a pedestrian is any person on foot. This includes any individual on roller skates or a wheelchair.
Apart from governmental or maintenance personnel, any other person is prohibited from walking on a freeway, highway, or ramp linking a highway/freeway to other streets or highways.
As per Statute §316.130 of the Florida law, where there are sidewalks, a pedestrian shouldn’t walk on the roadway but needs to use the walkways. And where there are no sidewalks provided, a pedestrian may use the roadway. But, the pedestrian should always be careful and keep in mind that sharing roads with vehicles always puts a person in substantial danger. When sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road, on the left roadside, as it relates to the direction of walking of the pedestrian, facing approaching traffic. When a pedestrian and motorist are facing one another, they are much aware of one another’s presence. This awareness reduces the chances of any form of collision.
pedestrians have the right of way when it comes to marked crosswalks. A pedestrian crossing a roadway at any place other than at marked crosswalks should give way to automobiles. This is referred to as yielding the right-of-way. Before crossing, a pedestrian should first look left, then right, and then left once more to make sure that the path is secure to cross.
Also, pedestrians have to obey all the traffic signals and signs and cross only when the traffic lights turn green. Although, even when the light turns to green, a pedestrian must still ensure that autos are stopping. Pedestrians should note that even when they have the right-of-way, not all vehicles will break. A motorist might be unfocused and fail to notice traffic or a pedestrian light. Thus, a pedestrian ought to make eye contact with the motorists before crossing to make sure they are seeing him or her. After he/she has checked that the traffic light is green and that it’s secure to get across, a pedestrian should walk on the right -hand side half of the crosswalk (Statute §316.130(13) of the Florida law).
Florida law forbids an individual from standing on the roadway paved for vehicle traffic to solicit employment, business, or a ride from the occupants of any given auto. Additionally, a person can’t stand near or on a highway/street to solicit the guarding/watching of parked automobiles or an auto that is about to be parked on a highway or street.
Violating the laws we have mentioned above may not only cause you injuries but will also attract penalties. Failure to obey these rules is a non-traffic infraction that’s punished as a pedestrian offense. You may choose to either pay the delinquent fee or civil penalty, if applicable, either in person or through mail or appear before an appointed official within thirty days from the date you are issued with the citation. As per the law, the penalty amount for violating pedestrian laws is $15. The good news, though, is that if you followed all these rules and still got hit, or the accident that made you sustain injuries wasn’t your fault, you can sue the at-fault party for damages with the help of a personal injury attorney.
Any pedestrian should keep in mind that safety is always a priority. You should stay visible at all times and put on clothes with bright material during the night. Additionally, you should avoid blind spots and always stay alert. Wearing headphones may lower your capability of hearing noise or horns from the approaching traffic. Adhering to the law, being attentive as well as being cautious of your surroundings may help you to avoid risky situations and dangerous or sometimes fatal accidents.
Types of Injuries a Pedestrian Can Sustain After Being Involved in an Accident
Generally, the faster the motorist is driving, the worse the force will be in case of an accident. Even when moving at slow speeds, a vehicle’s mass can crush the pedestrian’s bones, leading to massive internal damage due to the impact. In case the auto is large, for instance, a bus, it can throw a pedestrian many feet away or sweep him/her under the wheels, causing horrific injury. At higher speeds, colliding with a vehicle often leads to death. Even those who survive will most likely be incapable of recovering fully.
pedestrians that have been knocked over by a vehicle mostly sustain injuries to their chest, abdomen, head, and extremities. Apart from the driver’s speed, vehicle type and age and health of the pedestrian also determine the severity of the injuries. The types of injuries a pedestrian can suffer both at low and high speeds include:
1. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Brain and head injuries, including concussions and TBIs, can be life-changing injuries that are common in crashes involving pedestrians. These injuries happen due to a forceful blow from the collision to the body or head, causing severe damage, for instance, the dysfunction of the brain. Common signs of a TBI are headaches, loss of consciousness, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, drowsiness, sleep problems, difficulty speaking, loss of coordination, dizziness, sensitivity to sound or light, depression, mood swings, problems concentrating, clear fluid leaking from the ear, and anxiety. Whereas a few TBIs can be slight, others have serious medical consequences.
2. Bone Fractures
Bone fractures occur when the physical impact applied to the bones is stronger compared to the bones themselves. Even though it’s treatable, this injury may cause long-lasting pain as well as medical issues that can affect the well being of the victim and his or her quality of life.
3. Spinal Cord Injuries
Whereas car collisions are the leading reason for spine injuries in Clay County, thousands of spine-related injuries happen in pedestrian crashes every year too. Spinal cord injuries arise from an unexpected traumatic blow to the spinal cord, which could dislocate or fracture the vertebrae. Since one of the functions of the spine is to transmit signals from the brain to the body and vice versa, even minor damage could have life-altering results. For instance, it could lead to paralysis or even death. Generally, an injury to the spine requires long-lasting care.
In particular cases, the force involved in a pedestrian crash can have severe, long-term consequences on the body of the victim, for instance, the unintentional amputation of extremities and limbs.
5. Soft Tissue Injuries
Several injury types can be considered soft tissue injuries. They include contusions, lacerations, strains, bruises, tears, sprains, and dislocations. While most soft tissue injuries can heal themselves with less medical treatment compared to other pedestrian crash injuries, they can also cause severe pain. They might also prevent a victim from performing his/her daily activities or going to work for several weeks or months. Additionally, these injuries can leave a victim with unpleasant scars or other permanent problems that can affect their emotional health.
6. Injured Extremities
A pedestrian’s extremities are also exposed to the risk of being injured too. The force from an auto can cause pedestrians to sustain injuries like broken bones, scrapes, or in extreme instances, the loss of extremity due to a severe injury.
7. Broken Bones Injuries
Broken bones are also inclusive of the most common injuries a pedestrian can sustain after being hit by a car, truck, or any other motorized vehicle. These injuries happen when the external impact creates a break in bone continuity. Severely broken bones occur whereby the broken bone punctures through the skin. Broken bone injuries can be exceedingly painful and may require comprehensive medical treatment so that they can be corrected. In a severe case, one may need to undergo amputation.
A pedestrian being knocked over by a motor vehicle is at a higher risk of passing away. This mainly happens because of two reasons. One of these reasons is the size of the auto. The other one is that pedestrians lack any protection to shield them from the impact of the crash. As a result, pedestrians are among the few groups of people witnessing an elevation in traffic deaths.
9. Skull Fractures
A skull fracture refers to a break in the cranial bone, which is also called the skull. We have several forms of skull fractures that can occur with only one primary cause: a blow or an impact (from the accident) to the head that is strong enough to break the skull. Apart from a skull fracture, a brain injury can also occur along with the fracture. However, this is not always the case.
Skull fractures aren’t always easy to notice, but symptoms that may show one has a fracture are:
- Facial bruising
- Tenderness and swelling around the place of impact
- Bleeding from the ears or nostrils
There are several types of skull fractures one can sustain. The type suffered depends on:
- The shape of the object that’s making an impact with the head
- The effect of the blow
- The location of that force on the skull
A sharp object will most likely penetrate into the skull more compared to a blunt, hard surface like the ground. Different kinds of fractures result in varying degrees of trauma and injury. The various types of skull fractures include:
- Closed fracture - A closed fracture is also referred to as a simple fracture. With this kind of fracture, the skin covering the fractured area is not cut or broken
- Open fracture - An open fracture is also called a compound fracture. It happens when the skin breaks and the bone protrudes
- Depressed fracture- This kind of fracture makes one’s skull extend to the brain cavity or indent.
- Basal fracture - Basal fractures occur in the skull’s floor. That’s the area surrounding the ears, eyes, nose, spine, or at the top of the neck
Skull Fracture Symptoms
In particular cases, for instance, when you have suffered a depressed or open fracture, it’s easy to notice that your skull is broken. Other times, however, the fracture is not evident. Severe signs that show you have a fractured skull include:
- Bruising in the area surrounding the site of the trauma, under your eyes, or behind your ears
- Bleeding, which originates from the wound created by the trauma, around your ears, nose, and ears, or close to the area of the trauma
- Severe pain around the site of the trauma
- Swelling around the location of the trauma
- Warmth or redness at the place of the fracture
Symptoms that are less severe or those that might not necessarily seem to be connected to skull fractures may include:
- Blurred vision
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
- Pupils failing to react to light
- Excessive drowsiness
Lacerations occur when glass cutting or sharp edges cut through the skin in the course of an accident. Depending on where the laceration is and how deep it goes, this kind of injury could have lasting and painful consequences. For instance, they could cause long-term disfiguration, damage, or sometimes death. Generally, lacerations require stitches accompanied by continued medical treatment to make sure no infection develops.
11. Pelvic Injuries
pedestrians that get knocked over by auto may sustain one of the four kinds of pelvic injuries/fractures. The design of the vehicle involved in the accident is a contributing factor to these injuries. The vehicle hood generally hits just in the right place when an automobile comes into contact with a pedestrian. Injuries to the pelvis can be hard to treat.
12. Head Trauma
Every time the brain gets involved in an accident, the chances of suffering head trauma are exceedingly high. Head traumas can be slight, but they have to be attended to with extreme care.
13. Internal Injuries
Internal injuries can also occur after a pedestrian crash. Brain bleeds, rib fractures, injuries to internal organs, internal bleeding, etc., are all possible kinds of internal injuries that arise in these types of accidents. It can be challenging to spot a few of these injuries, let alone treating them. At the same time, these injuries require immediate treatment, and a few of them may not show apparent symptoms at first when your adrenaline is still high.
14. Herniated Disc
Like it’s possible to suffer broken bones in a pedestrian accident, you can also sustain a herniated disc injury. This kind of injury happens when vertebrae in the spine either shift out of place or rupture. A herniated disc may result in pain and several other complications.
15. Knee Trauma
The unexpected impact of an accident can make your knees hit the car. This may result in pain to the ligaments and the kneecap. You may need crutches, braces, or a surgical procedure to rebuild the knee or correct the damage. The knees are a complicated body part, and an injury to the knee can be excruciating. Knee injuries sustained in pedestrian crashes are particularly frustrating since they can lead to difficulty in walking.
Whiplash is the common term for ligament, tendon, and muscle injuries that may occur after being involved in a pedestrian crash. When you are in a pedestrian collision, your body usually moves unexpectedly and faster compared to how you would move by yourself. That trauma may strain muscles and soft tissues without breaking bones. Whiplash could be so painful, and it may take a more extended period to heal.
17. Leg and Arm Injuries
The similar impact that suddenly throws your body about in a pedestrian accident acts in the same way on legs and arms. Your legs or arms may be thrown hard, hitting a hard object or surface in the event. Based on the nature of the accident, leg and arm injuries could be just slight scrapes or bruises. However, sprains and breaks can also occur.
18. Broken Jaw or Teeth (Facial Trauma)
After a pedestrian-related crash, injuries of the face plus the neighboring areas of your head may have the possibility of causing facial disfigurement and loss of function. Studies have proved that facial injuries caused by pedestrian accidents can later develop themselves to cause blindness and difficulty in moving the jawbone to chew food. While it is rarely fatal, facial trauma could sometimes result in death because of blockage of your airway or severe blood loss.
19. Road Burn
Road burn refers to the kind of injury that arises when the skin gets exposed to the road at higher speeds. When an auto knocks a pedestrian over, the effect of the impact may throw him/her to the ground, which may make them skid on the road. The skidding creates heat and friction, which may lead to severe skin injuries.
20. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Not all pedestrian accident-related injuries are bodily. You may also suffer from emotional and mental injuries due to a pedestrian crash. You may have PTSD, and things or activities that were once a routine may turn out to be worrisome or even impossible. It is possible to recover for emotional suffering and mental health treatment after a pedestrian accident in Clay County.
21. Other Psychological-related Pain
Apart from PTSD, you may also suffer from other psychological injuries like anxiety or guilt due to a pedestrian accident. You may feel substantial guilt, or you may have flashbacks. These types of mental and emotional distress are actual injuries resulting from pedestrian accidents. It is critical to seek the help you need for psychological injuries as you do the physical ones.
Note that certain injuries aren’t readily evident after the accident. Based on the injury type, it might take you days, weeks, and sometimes months for signs to appear. Therefore, if you have been in a pedestrian accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible because even the most insignificant discomfort may be an indication that you have sustained an injury.
Find a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Near Me
If you have sustained injuries in a pedestrian crash, the ideal way of recovering the damages you deserve to recover fully is to work with an experienced attorney on your personal injury case. An attorney is better placed to help you to document the type of injuries you have suffered. He/she may also help you seek fair financial recovery that can enable you to receive the medical care you require. If you are in this situation in Clay County and you need a competent lawyer to help you through it, contact Clay County Personal Injury Attorney at 904-494-8242. Our attorneys will employ a deep understanding of the Florida personal injury law that they have to solve your case and will work with you till the end to ensure you get fair compensation.