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In Florida, collecting compensation following a pedestrian accident can be difficult and may involve negotiations with insurance companies and lawsuits against negligent automobile drivers.
At our Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys have the resources needed to simplify this often complicated process and are committed to helping pedestrians recover compensation for medical bills, physical pain and other losses that were incurred as a result of the car accident.
If you suffered an injury as a pedestrian, you may have legal recourse. To learn more about how Morgan & Morgan may be able to help, please fill out our case evaluation form today. Your claim will be reviewed by one of our pedestrian accident attorneys at no cost or obligation to you.
How Can an Attorney Help?
If you were injured as a pedestrian, there are a number of steps that must be taken to collect compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, because of Florida’s “no fault” insurance law, pedestrians will not be able to immediately file suit against the party which caused the crash.
At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys help injured pedestrians through each step of the collection process, beginning with the filing of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance claims. After exhausting PIP benefits, your attorney may decide to proceed with a suit against the negligent party for any remaining damages.
Our attorneys, with the help of traffic accident recreationists and personal injury experts, will compile evidence to substantiate your personal injury claim by recreating accident scenes; collecting witness statements; investigating the driving history of the alleged at-fault driver; and reviewing traffic camera footage, if available.
Florida has a short statute of limitations for submitting personal injury claims, so it is important to contact an attorney quickly to discuss your case and legal options. Failure to file a claim within this time period may bar the ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
If the pedestrian owns a car and has Florida’s mandatory PIP insurance, their injuries and lost wages will be covered—up to $10,000. If the pedestrian does not own a car, the driver’s PIP insurance will cover these expenses. Because pedestrian accidents can result in life-threatening injuries, it is possible that this insurance will not be sufficient to cover the total amount of your accident-related losses.
At this point, your attorney will initiate negotiations with the driver’s insurance company and, if necessary, file a lawsuit against the at-fault party seeking compensation for your losses.
Lawsuits for Additional Damages
Lawsuits for additional damages are typically based on negligence. In a successful case, the injured party will prove that:
- The driver of the vehicle owed the pedestrian a duty of care;
- The driver breached this duty, either by disregarding traffic laws, not paying attention to their surroundings, or driving recklessly; and
- The pedestrian sustained a serious injury as a result of this breach.
Drivers and pedestrians are expected to exercise a reasonable duty of care while using common roads; however, drivers are often held to a higher standard because of their ability to react quickly and avoid accidents—especially when children and the elderly are involved. Both pedestrians and drivers can contribute to the cause of the accident.
Florida is a comparative negligence state; each party involved in the accident can be financially responsible for a percentage of the damage, depending on the degree to which they were at fault. Defendants in pedestrian accident cases will often try to prove that the pedestrian was partially at fault for the accident to mitigate damages.
A driver may be considered negligent for any of the following:
- Pre-occupation and failure to pay attention;
- Failure to observe the speed limit;
- Failure to yield the right of way at cross walks;
- Failure to use turn signals;
- Violating traffic laws, including neglecting to stop at light and stop signs; and
- Driving under the influence.
Negligence on part of the pedestrian may refer to any of the following:
- Darting out in front of cars;
- Failing to use dedicated cross-walks, or jaywalking;
- Failing to see if it is safe to cross the street;
- Ignoring pedestrian signals at intersections;
- Failing to pay attention to their surroundings.
An attorney can compile witness statements, police reports, scene recreations, and footage from traffic cameras, if available, to help prove the driver breached their duty to operate their vehicle with reasonable care.
If a pedestrian does not survive an accident, their family may bring a claim on their loved one’s behalf to recover compensation for damages. They will be required to prove the same elements as pedestrians pursuing a negligence claim on their own behalf. An attorney will help family members who choose to file a suit hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.
Compensation in Pedestrian Accident Cases
If a pedestrian has sustained serious injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle, a lawsuit may seek to recover compensation for:
- Medical Expenses: This can include both present and future expenses reasonably related to the injury sustained in the accident. Hospital bills, ambulance fees, rehabilitation, therapy, surgery, and other related costs may be covered.
- Current and Future Lost Wages: If the injury sustained causes the pedestrian to miss time at work, they may be able to recover compensation for the money they would have earned, had the accident not occurred.
- Pain and Suffering: This includes payment to compensate the injured party for the physical pain endured as a result of the accident.
- Mental Anguish: Accidents causing serious injuries can trigger severe emotional and psychological pain in victims, including anxiety, depression, stress, and distress.
- Loss of Consortium: This includes payment to compensate for the loss of the injured party’s ability to engage in normal marital relations, whether due to physical or mental distress.
- Funeral Expenses: Should a pedestrian not survive an accident, surviving family members may seek compensation to cover funeral costs.
If you or a loved one was injured as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To learn more about how our attorneys may be able to help you, please fill out our free case review form today.