Pedestrian accidents are some of the most devastating kinds of car crashes because of the lack of a barrier between the vehicle and person. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there is one crash-related pedestrian death every two hours in America. Those who suffer pedestrian accidents need emergency medical treatment to address their injuries.
Like car accident cases, when a pedestrian is injured in a car crash, they can seek compensation from the negligent driver of an automobile, bicycle, bus, truck, or another vehicle. A Boca Raton pedestrian accident lawyer helps injured pedestrians recover compensation for injuries suffered and property damage sustained because of someone else’s negligence. Contact an experienced injury attorney today to begin your case for compensation.
Common Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Impaired driving due to alcohol consumption is the leading cause of death for pedestrians in collisions with vehicles. Almost half of all alcohol-related car crashes with pedestrians in Florida resulted in the death of the pedestrian. Excessive speeding is the second most common cause of pedestrian death following a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian.
For the first time in two decades, pedestrian deaths are increasing at a higher rate than motorist deaths following car accidents, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Last year close to 6,000 people died in pedestrian accidents. There are several common causes of pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents. Some of the reasons for this uptick include increased driving by motorists because of lower fuel prices and more walking or running for exercise purposes. Another overlooked factor is distracted walking – people walking and using mobile devices.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Sometimes pedestrians contribute to their injuries sustained in a crash with a vehicle because of their own behavior. It is possible for both parties to a pedestrian accident to share the fault. There are factors that lead to drivers causing the collision, while there are also situations where a pedestrian shares in the blame.
When pedestrian accidents happen, the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision is often to blame. Motorists have a duty to watch for pedestrians, but they do not always exercise caution. Some of the ways a driver could be at fault for a pedestrian accident include:
- Running a red light. Many pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. If a driver disregards a stop light or traffic signal, they risk striking a pedestrian that is lawfully crossing the street.
- Distracted driving. Distracted drivers are at an increased risk of causing a crash. Any physical, visual, or mental distraction could take a motorist’s attention off the road and increase the odds of striking a pedestrian.
- Driving too fast. Some pedestrian accidents happen when a motorist is driving too fast. When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk unexpectedly, they might not have enough time to come to a complete stop.
While many pedestrian accidents occur as the result of driver error, it is possible for pedestrians to share in the fault as well. Some of the ways a pedestrian could be liable for an accident include:
- Jaywalking. Pedestrians often have the right-of-way, but they are excepted to cross the roadway at certain places. When a pedestrian enters the roadway outside of a crosswalk or intersection, they are jaywalking.
- Suddenly entering the roadway. Drivers require enough roadway to come to a complete stop. When a pedestrian suddenly steps into the path of a moving vehicle, the driver might not be able to stop in time. In these cases, the pedestrian could face some of the blame.
- Crossing against the traffic signal. Pedestrians are typically given the right-of-way at intersections, so long as they comply with the traffic control devices. However, there are times when it is unsafe or illegal for pedestrians to cross. If a pedestrian disregards a “don’t walk” sign, they could share some of the blame for an accident.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. That means that any award of damages is reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the pedestrian.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Not all pedestrian injuries result in death. Nonetheless, serious injuries are possible. Common injuries following a collision with a vehicle that Boca Raton pedestrian accident lawyers see include:
- Cuts, bruises, abrasions, and lacerations. These wounds are the most common injuries associated with pedestrian accidents.
- Head injuries such as brain concussions, swelling, hemorrhages, and hematomas. Head and brain injuries often have permanent or life-threatening consequences.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can be devastating. Often, these injuries result in paralysis.
- Torn and sprained ligaments. Ligament damage can make it difficult to walk or do daily tasks. These injuries are also painful and can be slow to heal.
- Fractures, especially to the tibia, fibula and femur, ribs, arms, hip, and pelvis. These fractures can take a long time to heal.
- Broken bones. There are countless broken bones that could occur in a crash, including broken arms and legs.
- Road rash. Road rash occurs when a pedestrian is knocked to the pavement. The contact between the pavement and the skin results in burn-like injuries.
While driver negligence is frequently the cause of pedestrian accidents, there are important steps that a pedestrian can take to avoid a collision. Often, the law requires pedestrians to take careful steps to avoid an accident with a motor vehicle. Pedestrians have the following duties:
- Obey traffic control devices. It is vital for the safety of pedestrians that they obey all traffic control devices. These devices determine whether pedestrians or motorists have the right-of-way. Pedestrians should avoid crossing at intersections when the traffic control device indicates it is not safe to cross.
- No standing on roadways. Pedestrians must move out of the roadway as soon as possible. This is true even when they are in an intersection or otherwise have the right-of-way. Remaining in the roadway could lead to an accident.
- Stay on sidewalks when possible. If a road has sidewalks, it is important to make use of them. Walking on the shoulder of a roadway is dangerous, especially when traveling with oncoming traffic behind you.
Motorists must also take steps to ensure that pedestrians are not at risk of an injury. These steps are required under the law, and the failure to adhere to them could have serious consequences if an accident occurs. These responsibilities include yielding when:
- Pedestrians are in marked crosswalks
- Pedestrians are crossing near a school zone
- At red lights when a pedestrian has a “walk” sign
- A sidewalk intersects with a driveway
- At stop signs
Recovering Monetary Damages
There are generally two ways to successfully pursue a pedestrian accident case and recover the monetary damages you deserve. Some pedestrian accident injury claims are resolved through a negotiated settlement. Others only conclude by filing a lawsuit and taking the case to trial.
Settlements occur frequently in pedestrian accident cases. Often, there is little doubt who was at fault. In those cases, negotiations with the other side often focus on what fair compensation might be. Even though negotiated settlements are common, that does not mean the first offer you get from the at-fault party is worth taking. More often than not, attorneys and insurance companies will make unreasonably low offers in the hope that you will accept. This is especially common for injury victims who have not yet hired an attorney.
An attorney can use their experience dealing with insurance companies to help you get the most out of your settlement offer. By rejecting unreasonable offers and aggressively pushing for the true value of your case, your attorney could help you secure the outcome you deserve.
Although settlements are common in pedestrian accidents, there is no guarantee the other side will make a reasonable offer. In some cases, the driver responsible for your accident will refuse to accept fault. In other cases, the insurance company might fail to make a reasonable attempt to settle. When this happens, your attorney can take your case to trial.
Trials are uncommon in pedestrian accident cases, but your attorney could ensure you develop a winning strategy if your case moves forward. By treating every case as if it were certain to result in a trial, your attorney could also improve your chances of a favorable settlement. Insurance companies that see the plaintiff is prepared to litigate often settle instead of going to the trouble and uncertainty of having a jury render a verdict.
Statute of Limitations
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, your window of time to pursue compensation is not unlimited. You must comply with something known as the statute of limitations in order to successfully pursue compensation for your injuries. The statute of limitations is the legal deadline that applies to any civil lawsuit, including cases regarding a pedestrian accident.
In Boca Raton, the statute of limitations for a pedestrian accident generally expires after two years. This two-year window begins to count down on the day of the collision. If you fail to file your lawsuit before the statutory period runs out, you could miss out on your chance for damages forever. The court will likely dismiss your case with prejudice, meaning that you will not have the ability to re-file the case ever again in the future.
There are limited exceptions that apply to the statute of limitations, including when the injured party is under the age of 18. However, it is risky to assume these exceptions might apply to your case. Our firm could evaluate your case and advise you on the amount of time you have to move forward with your lawsuit.
Types of Compensation
The ultimate goal of any pedestrian accident lawsuit is financial compensation. Your compensation could cover your physical, emotional, or financial injuries caused by the collision. It is important that you rely on experienced legal counsel when pursuing your case. Your attorney could help you understand the potential value of your settlement and assist you with pursuing the amount you deserve.
The settlement value of every pedestrian accident case is different. The amount you are entitled to recover will depend in part on how severe your injuries are and what other damages you received. Some of the types of damages that could be available include:
- Medical Bills. Medical expenses can be overwhelming following a pedestrian accident. From traumatic brain injuries to broken bones, these injuries frequently require months or years of ongoing care. You could recover compensation based on the cost of this care.
- Pain and Suffering. Physical pain and suffering can also serve as the basis for your compensation. Because you would not have experienced this pain without the negligence of the other party, justice demands that they face responsibility for your pain and suffering.
- Lost Wages. Many people are unable to return to their job after a serious injury. This could be a temporary issue, or you could b unable to work for the long term. In either case, a serious injury can mean missed paychecks. Compensation could be available in these cases to replace the wages that you missed out on.
- Diminished Future Earnings. Some injuries have lasting physical effects. If you are unable to perform the same work tasks due to a permanent disability, it could impact your future earnings. Limitations on the type of work you can do could limit your employment options. By pursuing a civil lawsuit, you could be entitled to make up for those lost future earnings with a monetary award.
- Property Damage. You Might also be entitled to compensation based on damage to your personal property during a pedestrian accident. This could include damage to anything you had in your possession. Common property damage claims involve eyeglasses, mobile devices, and laptop computers.
One of the challenging aspects of a pedestrian accident is determining what your case might be worth. Instead of guessing, an attorney could carefully evaluate the facts and advise you on a potential recovery. Reach out to learn more today.
Contacting a Boca Raton Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Contact a Boca Raton personal injury attorney if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or a loved one has died because of a pedestrian accident. In addition to filing a personal injury claim, a wrongful death claim may also apply. Seek prompt medical care and treatment for accident injuries as soon as possible.
Remember to get the name and contact information of any witnesses and the driver and passengers of the vehicle, including insurance information. Contact the police and file an accident report. Lastly, call pedestrian accident lawyers in Boca Raton today to schedule a free initial case consultation to review your case.