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Following a collision with a motor vehicle, it is not uncommon for injured pedestrians to have questions regarding their legal rights. If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian in Florida, an attorney in our Jacksonville office can help explain your options for recovering compensation. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the initial insurance claims process, as well as a history of success in recovering settlements that appropriately compensate our clients.
Did you sustain severe injuries as a pedestrian in a car accident? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. Please complete our free case review form today to learn how our Jacksonville pedestrian injury attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
How Can A Jacksonville Pedestrian Injury Attorney Help?
Immediately after an accident, the other party’s insurance company will perform an investigation to collect evidence in an attempt to protect itself against large payouts. If you or a loved one has been injured, it is important to hire an experienced Jacksonville accident attorney who can protect your rights by launching his or her own investigation. Your attorney can gather evidence illustrating that the other party was negligent in causing the accident and is therefore responsible for your damages. During the investigation, your attorney may:
- Review Jacksonville police reports and photographs of the scene;
- Interview witnesses;
- Analyze your medical records with experts to illustrate the how the injury was most likely sustained; and
- Recreate the scene with the assistance of accident re-constructionists.
A thorough, exhaustive investigation into the accident can help provide your attorney with the leverage needed to obtain a settlement or verdict that fully covers your losses.
Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Coverage
In Florida, residents who own a vehicle with at least four wheels are required to purchase PIP insurance, which will cover the cost of injuries and lost wages in the event of an accident—up to a certain extent. If you are a pedestrian and involved in an accident, you may have the right to recover damages from your PIP coverage and, in some cases, from the other party’s PIP insurance policy.
PIP insurance, however, limits the instances in which you may seek additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. In Florida, these cases are generally only permissible if the pedestrian dies or suffers an injury classified as:
- Significant and permanent loss of bodily function;
- Significant and scarring; or
As a pedestrian, you are at risk for serious, debilitating injuries if you are involved in an accident. Therefore, it is likely that you have sustained an injury meeting this threshold. Generally, PIP insurance will not be sufficient to cover the costs of your injuries and compensate for wages lost during recovery; therefore, seeking additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary.
Pedestrian Injury Lawsuits
In most cases, personal injury lawsuits are based on the theory that the other party was negligent, and that this negligence resulted in the claimant’s injuries and subsequent damages. To have a successful lawsuit, your attorney must prove the other party owed you a duty of care, failed to meet the responsibilities imposed by this duty, and that you sustained an injury as a direct result of this failure.
In Florida, defendants are permitted to raise the issue of comparative negligence. They will likely argue that you, the pedestrian, were partially (or completely) at fault for the accident. Establishing some negligence on your part will generally reduce your award by the percentage of the accident which is determined to be your fault. When these defenses are raised, your attorney’s initial investigation will be an important factor in proving you were not at fault or in minimizing the reduction of your award.
Driver and Pedestrian Negligence
A driver may be considered to have breached their duty of care to the pedestrian if they:
- Failed to pay attention to their surroundings;
- Failed to observe the speed limit;
- Failed to yield at crosswalks;
- Failed to properly use turn signals; or
- Violate Florida traffic laws, thereby putting the pedestrian at risk injury.
A pedestrian may be comparatively negligent if they:
- Run out in front of cars;
- Fail to use marked cross-walks;
- Ignore pedestrian signals near traffic lights; or
- Fail to pay attention to their surroundings.
If a defective part of a vehicle is believed to have contributed to or caused the accident, either party may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer. In most instances, your attorney will only be required to prove a defect existed at the time of manufacture and that defect caused or contributed to your injury. In other cases, it may be necessary for your attorney to prove the manufacturer knew or should have known the defect existed, yet still released the product into the stream of commerce.
What Can I Recover In a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit?
Once PIP benefits have been exhausted, and your injury meets the threshold requirements to pursue additional compensation, you may be entitled to recover current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and other related damages.
Wrongful Death Recovery
If a loved one was involved in a pedestrian accident and did not survive, Florida permits surviving family members to pursue a lawsuit against the negligent party. Compensation that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit may include the above damages, as well as loss of support and funeral expenses.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian in an accident, you may have legal recourse to recover compensation for your losses. To learn more about your available legal options and how our Jacksonville pedestrian injury attorneys may be able to help, please complete our free case review form today.