What You Should Know About Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians account for only a tiny number of the people of Florida roads. But pedestrians are seriously injured or killed at a much higher rate than vehicle occupants. The reasons for this disparity are examined below.
In a serious injury case, like a head injury, the medical bills alone often exceed $100,000. Additionally, these families must make do for months while the victims recover from their injuries and are unable to work.
Insurance companies know that these events place a severe financial strain on victims and their families. So, they often call constantly demanding a settlement. Victims are understandably tempted to take these offers so they can move on with their lives. But a closer look at the issues involved reveals that these settlement offers are typically anything but fair.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Speed is the leading factor in pedestrian accident severity. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is travelling slower than 20mph, the pedestrian serious injury rate is under 10 percent. The serious injury rate catapults to 90 percent at impact speeds of 40mph or greater.
Note that, in many cases, these speeds do not exceed the posted speed limit. Nevertheless, the tortfeasor might still be liable for damages, as outlined below.
Speed also increases the risk of a collision. Fast-moving drivers have less time to react to changing situations, such as a pedestrian unexpectedly stepping into the roadway. Environmental factors and vehicle weight often come into play here as well.
Failure to yield the right-of-way also causes many pedestrian accidents. When pedestrians are in crosswalks with the light, they have the right-of-way. But many vehicle operators do not respect this right, especially when they make rolling right turns at red lights or stop signs.
Most pedestrian accidents occur outside marked crosswalks. This fact points back to vehicle speed. Most people are driving at or near full speed when they strike pedestrians.
Based on the facts, a Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney can use the ordinary negligence doctrine or the negligence per se rule to obtain compensation for victims. To illustrate these two concepts, let’s stay with the speed and failure-to-yield examples.
Speed-related wrecks usually involve the ordinary negligence doctrine. As discussed above, tortfeasors need not be legally speeding in order to cause a serious injury or fatal pedestrian accident. But the duty of reasonable care still applies. This duty requires motorists to avoid accidents if possible. That means watching pedestrians on the sidewalk and being prepared for the unexpected.
Failure to yield violates the Florida traffic code. If the tortfeasor violated a safety law and caused a crash, the tortfeasor is presumptively liable for damages. This presumption means victim/plaintiffs need less evidence to obtain compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Comparative fault, or a variation like distracted walking, is the most common defense in pedestrian accident claims. This legal loophole shifts fault for the accident from the tortfeasor to the victim.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. So, even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the wreck, the tortfeasor is liable for a proportionate level of damages.
Reach Out to an Assertive Lawyer
Pedestrian accident victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyer, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.