Most people assume that whenever a car hits a pedestrian, it’s always the motorist’s fault. After all, this kind of accident is typically catastrophic for the person who is struck. But while it’s true that drivers are typically to blame, that’s not always the case. Actually, a personal injury case involving a pedestrian hit by a vehicle can often be very complex.
That’s why you need to get in touch with an attorney with The Jones Law Group as soon as you can if you’ve been involved in this kind of accident – whether you were the pedestrian or the driver when the accident occurred. We can help you navigate the complexities, and also work to get you whatever compensation you have coming to you.
Causes of Accidents Involving Pedestrians and Motor Vehicles
The lion’s share of vehicle/pedestrian accidents usually take place because the driver of the vehicle did something wrong. These are just a few of the more common reasons.
- The driver was distracted – Distracted driving is becoming more and more of a problem. Drivers who check their smartphones for texts or emails, or have a conversation, are often the cause of devastating accidents – with other vehicles as well as pedestrians.
- The driver was impaired – When motorists are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their judgment and reflexes aren’t as sharp as when they’re sober. They might not recognize a pedestrian as quickly, and could hit them as a result. In some instances, drivers are so impaired they’ll even run up on a sidewalk and strike a group of people.
- Impatience – Just about everybody’s busy these days, but that’s no excuse to be an unsafe driver. When someone is in too much of a rush to stop at a stop sign, or to yield the right of way, that can lead to a horrible collision with a pedestrian.
- Recklessness – Recklessness is very similar to impatience. Some drivers cause pedestrians to suffer severe injuries simply because they’re mad, or they’re in a hurry and they’re simply not paying attention.
- Inclement weather – You can almost time your watch by the daily thunderstorms that happen at certain times of the year. You can imagine how difficult it would be to see other cars during blinding rain. Seeing pedestrians is even more difficult. That’s why motorists have to be even more attentive regarding their surroundings when driving in bad weather.
Determining Fault in a Car/Pedestrian Accident
The most important component of a lawsuit stemming from a pedestrian accident – or any other personal injury case, for that matter – is finding out who is to blame. But determining fault, as you learned earlier, is often not as cut-and-dried as you might think.
While drivers are responsible for staying alert and obeying all rules of the road, pedestrians have responsibilities as well. These are some of the ways that pedestrians sometimes have to shoulder the blame when they’re struck by a vehicle.
- Not using a crosswalk – When pedestrians use a crosswalk, they always have the right of way when the light facing traffic is red, and the “walk” light facing the pedestrian is lit. If there is no crosswalk at an intersection, motorists have to stop before entering the intersection. However, if a crosswalk does have a light, and the traffic light is green, pedestrians must yield to motorists.
- Not using the sidewalk – Pedestrians must always use sidewalks if provided. If they walk in the road instead, they may be found liable if an accident occurs. If there’s no sidewalk, pedestrians must walk on the shoulder of the road in the direction that faces traffic.
- Jaywalking – This is where a pedestrian crosses a road in an area other than a crosswalk. It is a violation of the law, and could lead to a serious accident.
What Happens When the Pedestrian and Driver Share Fault?
Even if a pedestrian is found to be at fault for an accident, the driver of the car will usually share some blame as well. Florida follows the “comparative negligence” rule. This means that if neither party in an accident can be found to be completely to blame, both parties will be found partially responsible.
This has a major bearing on the amount of compensation either party may be able to pursue. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say the pedestrian suffered $10,000 in damages and was found to be 25% to blame for the accident. That 25% would be subtracted from 100%, meaning the pedestrian would only be eligible to receive 75% of their damages. Using the $10,000 example of total damages, the pedestrian would only receive $7,500.
Is Florida a No-Fault State?
There are only 12 states that are no-fault states, and Florida is one of them. What this means for a pedestrian accident is that the victim’s no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will pay a percentage of the expenses incurred due to that accident. This includes medical bills, transportation needs, household services and transportation needs, and more.
What if the Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured?
This is a very good question – and a very important one. You might be surprised to learn that nearly 1 in 4 Florida motorists don’t have automobile insurance. Only Oklahoma has a higher percentage of uninsured motorists.
The good news is that if you were hit by a motorist who either has no coverage or limited coverage, your own automobile policy will help. Yes, you can make a claim with your insurer even if you weren’t driving. If the at-fault driver isn’t insured, your own uninsured motorist coverage will cover at least some – if not all – of your medical bills.
Get the Compensation You Deserve For Your Accident
Whether you were the driver or pedestrian involved in the accident, you need to get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can. It will probably be the best chance you’ll have to obtain compensation. If you were the motorist, and the pedestrian’s actions contributed to the accident, you may be able to get money to pay for property damage through the comparative negligence rule.
If, on the other hand, you were the pedestrian, you’ll likely have medical bills that could easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars – if not even more. An attorney will work on your behalf to negotiate with the insurance companies to help you obtain a fair settlement. If that settlement isn’t forthcoming, your attorney will fight for your rights in court.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney As Soon as Possible After Your Accident
Time will be of the essence when hiring a pedestrian accident attorney. Evidence will need to be gathered as quickly as possible in order to strengthen your case. Contact The Jones Law Group as fast as you can to learn more. Contact us online or call 727-571-1333.