The most important step someone can take after a pedestrian accident is to call 911 and receive medical attention. Health comes before everything else. While many pedestrian accidents are dangerous events that often leave the pedestrian with serious injuries, sometimes these situations are less straightforward. Even if you are unsure whether or not you are injured after a vehicle has struck you, it is critical to call 911 to get law enforcement on the scene and be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible.
How do insurance companies determine who is at fault for a pedestrian accident?
Once law enforcement arrives at the scene of the accident, they will interview those involved, including the driver and the pedestrian (if the pedestrian is not incapacitated), and witnesses, if there are any. Next, law enforcement will examine the scene to determine any other factors that contributed to the accident. Afterward, the police will write a police report detailing the events of the accident.
This police report is a critical document when it comes to insurance companies determining fault. Insurance companies will also obtain statements from parties involved in the accident. The pedestrian or driver may also submit photographs to the insurance company for documentation. Once the insurance company gathers all the documentation, it will determine who was at fault in the accident.
Is the driver always at fault in pedestrian accidents?
In many cases (but not all), a driver who hits a pedestrian on the street, a parking lot, or a driveway is often considered negligent and liable for the injured person’s injuries. That means that by law a pedestrian can hold the at-fault driver financially responsible for their injuries. Drivers have a legal obligation to remain aware of their surroundings, including whether or not a pedestrian is walking in the road, whether that be a parking lot, intersection, or crosswalk. Drivers also must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks, unmarked crosswalks at intersections, near schools, and where signage indicates that pedestrians may be crossing the road. Even in the event of severe weather, such as heavy rain, or driving at night, drivers are still expected to obey traffic laws and watch for pedestrians at stop signs, intersections, and traffic signals where crosswalks are present.
When is a pedestrian at fault for a pedestrian accident?
While drivers must drive with attention and care, pedestrians must also obey traffic laws in Florida. Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to cars when there is not a crosswalk or designated walking area. Also, pedestrians must walk within the crosswalk area and not in any other place at an intersection. If a pedestrian is found to share fault with the driver in a pedestrian accident, the comparative fault rule applies, which means that the injured person will receive a reduced amount of compensation according to the percentage that he or she is at fault. If a pedestrian is found to be completely at fault, the driver is not liable for any damages that occurred as a result of the accident.
Will the driver’s car insurance company pay for my injuries?
While the pedestrian might have health insurance that could cover his or her bills in the event of an accident and emergency room care, auto insurance policies may still cover the initial costs.
If the pedestrian has insurance on the vehicle, their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will cover up to $10,000 of their medical expenses. If the pedestrian does not have car insurance but lives with a relative who has car insurance, their relative’s PIP plan may cover up to a portion of the medical bills based on the policy’s limits. If the pedestrian does not have car insurance or lives with a relative who does and the driver is at fault for the accident, the at-fault driver’s policy may cover the pedestrian’s medical bills. Finally, in the case that the driver who is at fault for a pedestrian accident is from out of state, that driver’s policy limits in their home state will affect what is covered for the injured pedestrian.
However, because care and treatment for injuries may be ongoing and surpass the $10,000 in PIP that fulfills Florida’s minimum requirements for car insurance, for example, an injured pedestrian can quickly find themselves facing massive medical bills and uncertainty about how they can pay them. This is also why it is so important for a pedestrian who has been hit by a vehicle to contact an experienced attorney who can help them negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for their damages.
In the case that someone has died as a result of a pedestrian accident and the driver is at fault for what happened, the decedent’s relatives may hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
What if a pedestrian is truly not injured after a pedestrian accident?
If a pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle and sustained no harm, i.e. injuries, then there is no insurance claim to file and no damages will be recovered. However, even a bruise is considered an injury so it is necessary to be seen by a medical professional to determine to what extent someone has been injured after an accident.
Is “jaywalking” illegal in Florida?
Florida statutes dictate what is legal and illegal when it comes to pedestrian rights on the road, and these statutes do not use the term “jaywalking.” However, the statutes do indicate that no pedestrian can suddenly leave a place of safety and walks into the path of a vehicle so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. If a pedestrian is crossing in a non-designated walking area on the road, he or she is expected to yield the right-of-way to vehicles.
If I was a pedestrian hit by a car, what can I do to protect my rights?
Pedestrians who were struck by a vehicle should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you sort out the details of your case, determine whether or not you share fault with the driver, and represent you when dealing with auto insurance companies.
A driver who is at fault for a pedestrian accident in Florida may be sued so that the injured party can recover compensation for their damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. If you were hit at a crosswalk by a vehicle, you have up to four years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or two years in the event that a wrongful death occurred.
Why Choose Clayton Trial Lawyers to represent you after a pedestrian accident?
Clayton Trial Lawyers, LP is committed to representing your best interests when you are hurt and most vulnerable. We promise to be your trusted advisor. We will listen closely to your story. We will bring compassion, legal knowledge, resources, and expertise to your case. We will work around the clock to provide you with compassionate legal counsel to make sure that you recover the maximum compensation available after an injury. We know that finding the right personal injury attorney and law firm is important. We are different than other firms. We pride ourselves on providing you with individual attention, guidance, and care. We are proud to stand up for the rights of our clients in the face of powerful adversaries. We are privileged to represent you and will stand by your side. Reach out to us today.