PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS & FATALITIES
A situation we run across frequently in our practice is a client that comes in and asks “I was hit by a car as a pedestrian, what should I do?”. Hopefully this article will address many of the questions and concerns people have if they have been involved in a pedestrian accident and suffered injuries.
Pedestrian Accidents Are More Common Than You Think
Motorists injure or kill pedestrians at an alarming rate. Over recent years the death toll for pedestrians’ has been on the rise. According to the National Highway Safety Institute (NHTSA) there were 4,432 pedestrian fatalities in the United States. On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes.
Many of the injuries and deaths could have been avoided if the driver would have been paying attention. Distractions, including cell phones, eating, drinking and driving and even talking with passengers can end in tragedy. These accidents can also be caused by dangerously designed intersections, sign obstructions or overgrowth of vegetation. In the blink of an eye a loved one can be injured or lost.
NHTSA has responded to this crisis by offering tips to all pedestrians in an effort to reduce the death caused by motorists. Please read the safety tips as they may provide you and your community with valuable information to protect people from injury or death.
If you’re asking the question:
“I was hit by a car as a pedestrian, what should I do?”
Here is some information that may help you.
Who Has The Right Of Way?
Florida law does not state who ‘has’ the right of way. Instead, the right of way law states who must yield (give up) the right of way. So every motorist, motorcyclist, moped operator, bicyclist and pedestrian must act reasonably to avoid getting struck.
Can I Still Recover If I Was Hit When Crossing The Street Outside The Crosswalk?
There is nothing in the law that prevents you from asserting a claim against a motorist simply because you were struck outside a crosswalk. Motorists have a duty to be on the lookout for hazards that are there to be seen.
Negligence law in Florida is governed on what is known as comparative negligence. What a jury will be asked to do is to evaluate how the accident happened and assess damages based on each party’s percentage of fault. If a jury determines that the motorist is 90% at fault then 90% of an injured party’s damages will be assessed against them.
Injuries outside the crosswalk need to be thoroughly investigated in order to evaluate what opportunities were available for the motorist to see the pedestrian and react to avoid striking him. This evaluation may include a reconstruction of events using forensic engineers and biomechanical experts. It is imperative that you preserve any evidence from the accident, including measurements and photographs of the accident scene.
I Was Involved In A Hit And Run Accident, Now What?
Our firm has stressed to our clients to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. Not only is this coverage added protection when an uninsured motorist while driving hits you, uninsured motorist coverage may very well provide insurance coverage for money damages as a pedestrian.
Uninsured motorist coverage may be triggered simply because you were struck by an at fault party using, maintaining or operating a motor vehicle. Keep in mind it is important that you timely notify your insurance company of the pedestrian accident in order to put them on ‘notice’ of the claim. Your failure to do so could jeopardize your legal rights.
Will My Car Insurance Pay For My Medical Bills?
Under Florida law you may be entitled to recovery a percentage of your medical bills paid through your car insurance. If you have health insurance, or were injured on the job, there may be additional avenues to get your medical bills paid through insurance.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any further questions about pedestrian related accidents, car accidents, trucking accidents, or other situations related to personal injury or wrongful death, please contact our office today and we will help.