About Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
Pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents reached the highest level since 1990 according to recent reports, with Florida consistently listed as one of the most perilous states for pedestrians in the nation.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported in 2019 that pedestrian fatalities were up 5% compared to 2018 nationally, with 6,590 pedestrians killed, the highest number in three decades. GHSA also listed Florida as having one of the three highest fatality rates per 100,000 people.
The Sun-Sentinel recently reported this trend in an article published in March 2021. Based on an analysis by the pedestrian-safety organization, Smart Growth America, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami are among the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians.
The facts of a pedestrian accident case may be complicated. The person who becomes injured as a result of a driver’s negligence will want to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for the damages.
To prove negligence in a lawsuit, the injured party or “plaintiff” must show that the defendant was responsible for the following: had a duty to not cause harm and failed in this duty; the plaintiff suffered injury as a result of the defendant’s careless actions.
Florida Law Regarding Pedestrian Accidents
Florida law regarding who is at fault for pedestrian accidents is complex. Florida law dictates that both drivers and pedestrians have a duty of care. According to Florida Statutes Section 316.130(15):
“Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give a warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.”
Therefore, drivers are required to stop at a red light before reaching the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk at an intersection, drivers must stop before reaching the intersection. If there is a crosswalk, drivers must allow the pedestrian, who has the signal to walk, to cross the street.
Under Florida Statutes, pedestrians must also obey traffic laws pertaining to them. Florida Statutes Section 316.130, states that pedestrians have a specified list of laws they must obey. For example, pedestrians must obey all laws applicable to non-vehicles like being required to obey any traffic device, which is explicitly applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
Pedestrians must also obey any traffic control signals at all intersections. If there is a sidewalk, no pedestrian is allowed to walk along and upon the portion of a roadway paved for vehicles. Additionally, Florida law also states:
“No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.”
Personal Injury Attornies
Individuals involved in a pedestrian accident will need an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate their particular situation. An attorney may negotiate with an insurance company on the victim’s behalf as well as hold the driver liable for their injuries and damages that occurred as a result of the accident.
If the driver is found liable for the accident, a victim may recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If the pedestrian and driver are both found to be at fault for the accident, the damages awarded will be based on the percentage of fault. For example, if the driver is found 80 percent at fault, then the pedestrian will be awarded 80 percent of the recoverable damages.
To preserve the right to file a legal claim, a victim must seek legal action within four years from the date of the accident and in wrongful death claims the statutory limits require that legal action must be taken within two years of the accident. Contact the experienced Clayton Trial Lawyers for more information.
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