As beautiful as Florida is, our state is also notorious for being the most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians. Simply taking a walk can pose a risk of suffering a severe injury due to the carelessness of a motorist. Pedestrian accident injuries can be catastrophic, robbing a victim of quality of life. These pedestrian safety tips could save your life.
If you or a loved one were hit by a car while out on a walk, the attorneys with the Jones Law Group are standing by to help. We’ll answer all your questions and do everything we can to help you obtain maximum compensation. Please schedule a free consultation as soon as possible by contacting us online or calling (727) 571-1333.
The following are five critical tips to follow the next time you venture out on foot.
1. Use Sidewalks and Crosswalks
Always use designated sidewalks or footpaths whenever available. Sidewalks provide a safe and separated space for pedestrians, away from the flow of vehicular traffic. By utilizing sidewalks, pedestrians minimize the risk of coming into contact with vehicles and decrease the likelihood of accidents. When sidewalks aren’t present, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Doing so allows them to be more aware of approaching vehicles and take evasive action if necessary.
Pedestrians must use marked crosswalks or pedestrian signal lights whenever possible when crossing the road. Crosswalks are specifically designed to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians. Pedestrian safety lights provide clear instructions on when crossing the road is safe. Using these designated paths and crossings helps drivers be aware of pedestrians and anticipate their presence.
2. Stay Alert at All Times
You must always know your surroundings, particularly near roads or intersections. Distractions like smartphones, headphones, or other electronic devices can divert attention from the environment and increase the risk of accidents.
By staying alert, pedestrians can identify potential hazards and react promptly. This includes being aware of approaching vehicles, changes in traffic patterns, or hazardous road conditions. It’s also essential to make eye contact with drivers whenever possible so they know you’re there.
3. Look Both Ways
Before crossing any road, you should always check for oncoming traffic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at an unmarked crossing, a clearly marked crosswalk, or an intersection with traffic signals. Looking left, right, and left again will ensure you see the traffic flow from both directions.
It’s also essential to be cautious of turning vehicles while crossing. Even if the pedestrian signal indicates it’s safe to cross, you should still check for any turning vehicles. Making eye contact with drivers, especially those turning, can help confirm they’ve seen you and intend to yield the right of way.
4. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Walking while impaired by alcohol or drugs can ruin judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Impairment decreases a person’s ability to make sound decisions and react promptly to potential dangers. Avoid consuming alcohol or using drugs that impair cognitive and motor skills before walking near roadways.
If you know you’ll be impaired, arrange alternative transportation or wait until you’re sober before walking. You’ll be fully aware of your surroundings and capable of making the right decisions to maintain your safety.
5. Be Visible
Make yourself visible to drivers, especially in low-light conditions or when walking at night. Visibility is crucial in enabling drivers to detect pedestrians early and take necessary precautions.
One way to do this is to wear bright or reflective clothing. Colors such as neon or fluorescent hues are easily distinguishable from the surroundings. Reflective materials, such as vests, armbands, or accessories, can reflect light from vehicle headlights, making pedestrians more noticeable.
Carrying a flashlight while walking at night further improves visibility. A flashlight will illuminate their path and ensure drivers can see you from a distance.
Steps to Take if You’re Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
Even if you practice pedestrian safety, you could still get into an accident. If you’re ever hurt in a pedestrian accident, taking the following steps will be a must. They’ll help protect your health, and they’ll also help improve your chances of obtaining the money you deserve.
Seek Medical Attention
As strange as it sounds, when a car strikes a pedestrian, the person struck might not immediately realize how badly they’re hurt. Many injuries aren’t readily apparent. They might not show symptoms for hours or even days. Get to a doctor immediately so you can undergo a thorough examination.
Report the Accident
Contact the police and report the accident. Give the officer as much information as possible, including the location, time, and relevant information about the driver and the vehicle involved.
Collect essential information, such as the driver’s name, contact details, license plate number, and insurance information. If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to obtain their contact information.
Document the Scene
Take photographs of the accident scene, including the location, surrounding environment, visible injuries, and damage to the vehicle involved. This evidence can be valuable for insurance claims or legal proceedings.
Keep your torn clothing, damaged personal belongings, or medical records. These items help support your case in case legal action is necessary.
How to File a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
If you believe someone else’s negligence caused the incident, consider filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit. Here are the general steps involved in the process:
- Speak with an attorney ASAP: An attorney will provide you with the best chance of obtaining maximum compensation. You should hire one as quickly as you can.
- Investigation and evidence collection: Time is essential because your attorney needs to investigate the accident as soon as possible before critical evidence disappears.
- Determining liability: Your attorney will use that evidence to establish liability. They’ll work to find proof to demonstrate that the driver or another party was at fault.
- Demand letter and negotiation: Next, your lawyer will likely draft a demand letter outlining your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages suffered as a result of the accident. This letter is sent to the defendant or their insurance company, initiating settlement negotiations.
- Filing a lawsuit: More than 90% of personal injury cases are settled. But your attorney will probably file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to settle. They’ll prepare the necessary legal documents, including the complaint outlining your claims against the defendant. They’ll then file the lawsuit in the appropriate civil court.
- Settlement or trial: In many cases, the parties may reach a settlement agreement during the pre-trial phase. If that doesn’t happen, the case will go to trial. Your attorney will present your case to the court, including evidence, witness testimonies, and arguments. A judge or jury will then decide the outcome and the amount of compensation, if any, to be awarded.
Contact Jones Law Group to Speak with an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you’re involved in a pedestrian accident and require legal assistance, reach out to Jones Law Group. We have extensive experience in this area of the law and a long track record of success. Call (727) 571-1333 or use our online form for a free case review.