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Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Fort Myers
Pedestrian accidents in Fort Myers are rising at an alarming rate. According to a 2016 report, Florida was the state with the most pedestrian accidents. The study also revealed that between 2015 and 2014, at least 5,142 pedestrians in Florida died due to pedestrian accidents.
To put this into perspective, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area was recently ranked eighth on the list of the country's top 20 most dangerous metro areas for walking.
If you or your loved one is a victim of a pedestrian accident in Fort Myers, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free case evaluation. We might be able to help.
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Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Fort Myers
Despite the huge population of pedestrians in this city, some drivers don't follow traffic rules. Here's a quick look at some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Fort Myers.
Drivers must remain vigilant while driving, but some do not. As a result, many pedestrians die or suffer life-changing injuries due to such avoidable accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 3,142 people died on U.S. roads in 2019 alone due to distracted driving.
Driving over the speed limit puts the lives of pedestrians and other drivers at risk. In 2019 alone, more than 9,400 people died on U.S. roads due to accidents caused by speeding.
Such accidents usually occur when the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As a result, such drivers have impaired judgment while driving, putting the lives of pedestrians at risk.
Ignoring Traffic Lights
Traffic lights help avoid accidents and ensure a proper flow of traffic. But some drivers ignore these signs, leading to serious accidents and even deaths.
For instance, most victims of T-bone accidents rarely survive. Those that do are never the same after the accident. Unsurprisingly, T-bone accidents mostly occur due to running red lights or not stopping at stop signs.
Reckless Left-Hand Turns
When driving, it is much more difficult to make a left-hand turn than the opposite turn. When making a right-hand turn, all you have to do is watch out for traffic closest to you - on your right-hand side.
On the other hand, when making a left-hand turn, you need to watch out for traffic coming from the opposite direction. That aside, you also need to watch out for traffic coming from behind you before making the left turn.
Some drivers only watch out for vehicular traffic coming from the opposite direction but fail to observe human traffic. This mistake increases the chances of a pedestrian accident.
What to Do if Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
You might be eligible for compensation if you got injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver. You can do this by filing a personal injury claim with the driver's insurance company. If you have a valid claim, but the insurer refuses to settle, you may file a lawsuit against them. But this is not the most important thing to do right after the accident.
Instead, follow the steps below:
Do not move if severely injured: Moving from one point to another after an accident could lead to additional injuries. Instead, ask someone to call the police and also request an ambulance. However, if you can move to a safer area, call 911 right after.
Seek medical attention: A doctor should examine your injuries as soon as possible. It is essential to see a doctor after the accident, even if you do not have any visible signs of injury. Your doctor might be able to test for invisible injuries such as:
- Organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
- Shoulder strains and sprains
- Compartment syndrome
- Torn tissues, tendons, and ligaments
- Torn labrum in your hip or shoulder
- Torn shoulder rotator cuff
Depending on the type of injuries suffered, the doctor might recommend any of the following treatments:
- Chiropractic care
- Whiplash treatments
- General physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Neurological physical therapy
- Orthopedic physical therapy
Collect driver's information: The most important information is their full name, address, phone number, insurance provider, and policy number. You can obtain this information by taking a picture of their driver's license and auto insurance card.
Gather witness statements: If there are any witnesses around, ask them if they would be willing to provide their statements. Remember to obtain their full name, address, and phone number.
Notify your insurance company: Your insurance company deserves to know about the accident. Notify them as soon as you get the chance to do so. This is because Fort Myers follows Florida's no-fault laws.
In a no-fault state like Florida, when a driver or eligible passenger gets injured in a car accident, their own insurance company pays for the medical expenses.
Florida drivers must have Personal Injury Protection coverage of up to $10,000. This coverage settles certain medical expenses deriving from the accident, regardless of who's at fault. However, it is important to note that if your medical bills are greater than what your PIP insurance covers, you can file a claim against the other party's insurance company to cover the remaining costs if they were responsible for the accident.
Do not discuss the accident with just anyone: When you contact your insurer about the accident, chances are they will notify the other party's insurance company about it. When that happens, the other party's insurance provider will most likely contact you to learn more about the accident.
You should only disclose basic information such as the date, location, and time of the accident. This is because the information you provide could affect the claims process.
Do not accept any settlement offer: Your insurer might provide a settlement offer to prevent you from filing a claim. Do not accept an offer without speaking to an attorney. Chances are, the initial offer is not worth what you truly deserve. Also, once you accept the offer and sign the release of settlement agreement, you cannot file another claim even if you later discover that you deserved more than what you received.
Contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney: An attorney can help fight for your rights if you are a victim of a pedestrian accident.
Do not skip treatment or appointments: Remember to keep up with your appointments as recommended by your doctor. If you must miss your appointment, remember to notify your doctor well in advance. This is because if you fail to attend your appointment, the defense could argue that the injury was not that serious in the first place. As a result, you might receive low compensation or no compensation at all.
Do not discuss the case on social media: Insurance companies hire investigators to investigate the authenticity of a claim. The investigator might track your social media profile, hoping to find something that will jeopardize your claim. Some investigators might even spy on claimants at the gym, grocery store, mall, and other public areas.
Some even build cases based on misrepresentation and not facts. When that happens, it becomes much more difficult for the plaintiff to pursue their claim.
For example, if you got injured in a pedestrian accident and sought treatment for weeks, your doctor might recommend running on the treadmills at least 30 minutes a day as part of the recovery process. However, when insurance investigators see you running on a treadmill, they'll most likely misrepresent it by claiming that you were not injured in the first place. Talking to your attorney is one of the best and surest ways to understand what to do or avoid in your pursuit of compensation.
Why Should You Talk to a Lawyer About Your Pedestrian Accident?
When the other party's insurance company contacts you about the accident, it is not because they care about you. Most of the time, when they contact you, they want to find a way to avoid responsibility or pay out the lowest settlement possible.
Protecting your claim
One statement from you is all it takes for the insurance company to dispute your claim or dismiss it altogether. For this reason, it is always advisable to redirect them to your attorney. This is because pedestrian accident attorneys are familiar with the different tactics insurance companies use to downplay the accident and evade their financial responsibility.
At Morgan & Morgan, we have dealt with countless insurance companies in Fort Myers and the entire state of Florida. We know your rights and are always ready to fight for them. All you have to do is contact us for a free case evaluation and then leave the rest to us.
Evaluating the Damages
When you're injured in a pedestrian accident, you deserve compensation for more than medical expenses. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation for:
- Lost wages: If you were unable to work due to injuries.
- Pain and suffering: For example, if you suffered serious facial injuries that significantly changed your physical appearance.
- Loss of earning capacity: If your injuries prevented you from closing important financial deals.
- Permanent injuries and disfigurement: You might be eligible for additional compensation if doctors had to amputate a part of your body to save your life.
- Disability: This covers things you cannot do due to your new condition.
After evaluating all the damages caused by the accident, your attorney will also calculate how much you can recover as compensation. You will be surprised to discover that you are entitled to more than the initial offer from the insurance company.
For instance, at Morgan & Morgan, we have helped some of our clients recover 20 times more than the initial settlement offer. This explains why you should not sign anything before talking to an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan.
The other party's insurance company will most likely dispute the settlement amount suggested by your attorney. In that case, both parties will begin negotiations to discuss a fair settlement. Your Morgan & Morgan attorney will always fight for what you need and deserve throughout the negotiations. But if the other party is unwilling to settle, we will take the matter to court.
Providing Expert Legal Representation
When the case goes before a judge, it is important to have the right legal team representing you throughout the process. This is because the other party will have legal counsel as well.
Navigating Florida's 'No Fault' Laws
Florida's no-fault laws are some of the most complex and challenging to navigate, especially in cases involving pedestrian accidents.
As mentioned before, in a no-fault state, your car insurance company pays for your medical bills and injuries regardless of the party at fault. But this also does not necessarily mean that your own insurance company will process the claim without asking questions. In addition, the fact that you have been paying your insurance premiums will not prevent your own insurance company from questioning your claim or even trying to dismiss it altogether.
In some cases, the court might rule that both parties share responsibility for the accident. Here is a hypothetical example of such a scenario.
John gets hit by a car while jaywalking. However, the accident report also determines that the driver did not stop at a red light when he hit John. In that case, the court might require both parties to share responsibility. This situation is known as comparative fault.
John's insurer will have to pay part of the medical bills. The other driver's insurance company will settle the remaining percentage per the court's ruling.
A Morgan & Morgan attorney can help navigate these legal processes, ensuring you receive a fair settlement for your injuries. In addition, you won't have to deal with insurance companies directly when you have an attorney.
Contact a Morgan & Morgan Pedestrian Accidents Attorney
If you or your loved one is injured in a pedestrian accident in Fort Myers and the surrounding areas of Lee County, Florida, Morgan & Morgan attorneys might be able to help. Call us today at (239) 433-6880 to speak with one of our legal representatives. Alternatively, fill out our free case evaluation form online, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.