Were you injured in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian? Did the driver’s negligent actions cause the collision? If so, call the Florida personal injury lawyers of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. to discuss your case. You might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault motorist. We have experience representing pedestrian accident victims and could help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.
Pedestrians can suffer debilitating injuries in accidents involving cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Fatalities are common due to the violent nature of these accidents and the lack of protection pedestrians have from the impact of a car crashing into them. In 2019, there were 6,205 pedestrian fatalities in the United States. Most of these deaths occurred while vehicles traveled at speeds of 55 miles per hour or higher.
Although state laws are supposed to protect people walking along sidewalks, through parking lots, and across the street, many motorists don’t pay attention to pedestrians. They’re often on the lookout for other vehicles and may not notice someone entering a crosswalk. In other circumstances, drivers may become distracted and not see what is happening around them. In cases such as these, there may not be enough time to swerve and avoid hitting a pedestrian by the time the driver looks up at the road.
The Florida pedestrian accident attorneys of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. will fight by your side until the end. We believe in holding people accountable for their actions. The driver should face the consequences of their reckless behavior and compensate you for your medical bills and other expenses. Our team will do our best to reach a favorable outcome in your case so that you can heal your injuries and move forward with your life.
Call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. at 561.689.8180 right now for a free consultation to discuss the available legal options.
Types of Accidents You Face as a Pedestrian
When you think of a pedestrian accident, you likely picture a person crossing the road when a car comes barreling towards them. However, many accidents involving pedestrians don’t happen on crosswalks. Some occur in other areas, including parking lots and sidewalks.
The most common types of pedestrian accidents include:
- Jogging accidents – There might not be a sidewalk, forcing someone to jog on the side of the road. A driver’s vehicle could drift if they’re not paying attention and cause them to crash into the jogger.
- Backing up accidents – If a motorist backs out of a parking space without checking for people walking by, they could back up into a pedestrian.
- Parking lot accidents – Parking lots are common places pedestrian accidents occur. There’s more foot traffic, meaning drivers should proceed slowly and carefully. Driving too fast, distractions, and other factors can lead to a collision.
- Hit and run accidents – Sometimes, a person flees the scene of a crash despite causing injuries. Typically, someone drives off after hitting a pedestrian because they broke the law and didn’t want to get caught. For example, a drunk driver fears being arrested and drives away before law enforcement arrives.
- Crosswalk accidents – A crosswalk is there for people to safely walk to the other side of the road. However, some motorists ignore traffic signs and signals, placing pedestrians at serious risk of harm.
- School zone accidents – Designated school zones indicate children are in the vicinity. Drivers must reduce their speed and come to a complete stop when necessary. If anyone ignores the flashing lights on a school bus or speeds through a school zone, they could hit a kid trying to cross the street.
- Sidewalk accidents – Sometimes, pedestrian accidents don’t happen on the road. A driver could swerve to miss a pothole or drift onto the grass or sidewalk, crashing into a pedestrian in the process.
This list doesn’t include all possible pedestrian accidents that can happen. If you were involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, you should call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. immediately. We can investigate the crash and determine who we can hold liable for your injury.
Common Reasons for Pedestrian Accidents
Many accidents are the result of driver error in which someone makes a mistake or behaves carelessly, creating a dangerous situation for pedestrians. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents are:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driver fatigue
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Turning without checking for crossing pedestrians first
Whether the pedestrian accident you were in resulted from one of these factors or something else, it’s critical that you begin working on your case as soon as possible. This involves hiring a lawyer, seeking medical treatment and doing everything necessary to prove the events of what happened and that you deserve compensation from the at-fault driver.
Common Injuries Pedestrian Accidents Cause
A person’s body typically can’t withstand the force of a vehicle crashing into it. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the pedestrian could become airborne, trapped under the car, or impaled by flying debris. Life-threatening injuries are common after collisions involving a pedestrian and motor vehicle.
The most common injuries include:
- Internal bleeding
- Crush injuries
- Impaling injuries
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Road rash, cuts, and bruises
- Spinal cord damage
- Back injuries
- Loss of limb
- Psychological damage
- Joint dislocation
- Facial disfigurement
- Permanent scarring
- Physical or mental disability
Recovering after an accident can be painful, stressful, and overwhelming. If you require ongoing treatment, you likely have to take time off from work to attend your appointments. You face expensive medical bills and could end up in debt if you can’t afford to pay. The physical, emotional, and financial implications are often too much to bear.
At Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A., we know the uphill battle you face. Our goal is to recover the maximum compensation available from the negligent driver, so you’re not left with bills to pay yourself. You shouldn’t be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses if someone else were entirely at fault for the crash.
Compensation You Can Pursue in an Insurance Claim
Personal injury protection (PIP) is insurance coverage all motor vehicle owners must purchase. The minimum required limit is $10,000. If you suffer injuries in an accident, you can file a PIP claim to cover medical bills and other financial expenses up to the limit in your policy.
Even though you were a pedestrian, you would be eligible for compensation from your insurance company. However, if you don’t own a vehicle and therefore don’t have PIP coverage, you might be able to file a claim through someone else’s insurance. PIP extends to family related by marriage or blood living in the same household as the insured. For example, if your spouse owns a vehicle and has a PIP policy, you could file a claim with their insurance carrier.
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accidents involving vehicles, pedestrians, and other parties. This means that you can’t immediately turn to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. You must file a PIP claim first. Once you exhaust the limits, you could file a liability claim as long as the accident meets the serious injury threshold. This requires that the injured victim suffered:
- Significant and permanent disfigurement or scarring;
- Permanent and significant loss of a vital bodily function; or
- Permanent injury except for scarring or disfigurement.
The compensation you receive in an insurance claim could compensate you for various losses, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Damage to personal property
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
State law does not require bodily injury liability coverage, which means you could find yourself in a situation with an uninsured driver. If that happens, you could file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. UM is optional insurance coverage in Florida. If you included it in your policy, you could seek compensation up to the limit you chose for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Laws to Follow if You File a Lawsuit
Besides filing insurance claims, you could also file a lawsuit. You must initiate your case within a specific period to sue the driver for their actions. This is known as a statute of limitations. Florida has a four-year statute of limitations, which means you have four years after the crash date to file your lawsuit. Once four years pass, you won’t have an opportunity to seek compensation from the at-fault motorist in civil court.
You might be entitled to punitive damages. An award of punitive damages doesn’t compensate you for your losses but punishes the defendant for their actions. A jury needs clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s intentional misconduct or gross negligence to provide this financial award to the plaintiff.
Florida is also a pure comparative negligence state. The jury will review the facts of the accident and assign fault to each party. If they determine that your actions partially contributed to the crash, they could reduce your compensation. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in losses but were 20 percent at fault, you would receive no more than $80,000 from the lawsuit.
The Florida pedestrian accident attorneys of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. are ready to fight for you. We will advocate for your rights and pursue the money you’re owed. You will receive one-on-one attention from us during your entire case. We understand the importance of dependable customer service and aim to provide the ongoing communication, support, and guidance you deserve.
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