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6 Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents - Jones Law Group

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6 Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Getting into an accident as a pedestrian can be terrifying and serious. Unlike car accidents, pedestrians have nothing to protect them, not even a helmet like a motorcyclist or bicyclist would have. Because of that, pedestrian accidents often result in serious injuries and even death. In 2022, 7,508 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the United States.

Pedestrian accidents may cause severe injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, fractures, and lacerations. The more serious an injury is, the more expensive treatment is likely to be, resulting in higher medical bills and overall more stress for the patient. But what actually causes pedestrian accidents to occur, and how can they be prevented?

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Florida

Any time someone takes a walk, they’re at risk of a car hitting them. While this is true anywhere in the United States, it’s especially true in Florida. Our state is notorious for being one of the country’s most dangerous places for pedestrians. These are just a few of the common causes of pedestrian accidents.

Distracted Drivers

Distracted driving can cause all sorts of accidents, from car accidents to pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to being hit by distracted drivers, as they are easier to miss. Distracted driving jeopardizes pedestrian safety by limiting driver reaction times and impairing judgment.

This type of reckless driving is incredibly dangerous, as it causes drivers to take their eyes off the road. Even a second of distraction can cause an accident. Common distractions include texting while driving, eating, applying makeup, or even a distracted mind.

There were 54,881 crashes due to distracted driving in Florida in 2022. These accidents led to 281 deaths and 2,655 severe injuries.

Impaired Drivers

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also a common cause of pedestrian accidents. Driving while impaired can cause a lack of focus, blurred vision, and distorted thoughts, making it hard to drive safely. If a driver is impaired they could drive up onto a sidewalk, run a red light or a stop sign, crashing into a pedestrian.

In 2022, drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs caused 359 car accidents in our state, killing 325 people and severely injuring 261.

Impatient Drivers

Impatient drivers or those who don’t want to stop at stop signs or wait patiently for their turn at yield signs may cause pedestrian accidents. This is especially common at right turn on red intersections, where pedestrians have the right of way. If a driver is impatient, they may crash into a pedestrian without even meaning to.

Reckless Drivers

Like impatient drivers, reckless drivers cause accidents in a similar way. They may try to run a red light or a stop sign when they’re in a rush. Their recklessness could cause an accident and serious injury, making them liable for the accident. Reckless driving includes speeding, running lights, and general road rage.

Bad Weather

Bad weather, like rain, can cause poor visibility, and if a driver isn’t careful they could hit someone. When driving in bad weather, drivers need to make sure they’re giving the road their full attention at all times. Because visibility is worse, an accident could more easily occur if they aren’t careful.

Left Turns

At lights where a car can turn left turn on a solid green light, an accident may occur if the driver isn’t paying attention to the entire intersection. Sometimes drivers will only focus on their ability to turn left and they won’t see a pedestrian crossing the street.

How to Prevent a Pedestrian Accident

To prevent a pedestrian accident from occurring, you should follow the below safety measures, making sure that you’re doing your part to stay as safe as you can while walking, whether it be on a small back road or a busy city street.

  • Make sure that you follow the rules of the road, cross when it’s allowed, and don’t jaywalk in areas where there are crosswalks present.
  • Walk on the sidewalks whenever possible.
  • If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far away from the road as you can.
  • Make sure you’re paying attention at all times, and keep your eyes and ears on the road.
  • Cross the street at crosswalks when possible, and pay extra close attention when crossing at a busy intersection where drivers may be turning left or right.
  • Don’t assume that drivers see you. If it’s dark, wear light colors that will reflect off of car headlights and street lights. Make sure that drivers can see you.
  • Watch for cars entering and exiting parking lots and driveways.

What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Pedestrian Accident

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, the first thing that you want to do is make sure that everyone involved is safe, including yourself. Make sure to call an ambulance, especially if someone is injured in the accident.

If you’re safe enough to stay at the scene of the accident, you should file a police report immediately. Don’t let anyone talk you out of contacting the police and filing a report, as it will be incredibly helpful in arguing your case later down the road.

While still at the scene you should exchange contact and insurance information with the driver, talk to witnesses, and take pictures of your injuries, the vehicle that hit you, and the surrounding area. Once you’ve collected this information, you should head to the hospital for treatment. Even if you don’t believe that you’ve been injured, it’s still important to receive medical attention as some injuries may be masked by adrenaline.

Before you contact your insurance company to file a claim, you should contact an attorney to discuss your possible case. They can also inform you of your legal rights as a pedestrian. Doing this before filing a claim can help prevent you from damaging your case by signing a waiver or accepting money from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Determining Liability in a Pedestrian Accident 

If you’re going to obtain the compensation you deserve, you’re going to need solid proof of how the accident happened. This process is known as establishing liability.

Many factors go into assessing liability. These include the driver and pedestrian’s behavior, applicable traffic laws, and other circumstances contributing to the accident. While drivers have a legal duty to avoid hitting pedestrians, laws also apply to pedestrians. In many instances, mistakes by both the driver and pedestrians contribute to the causes of pedestrian accidents.

The best way to prove you weren’t at fault is to hire a skilled attorney as soon as possible. They’ll investigate how the accident occurred and who was to blame. Time is of the essence, however. The investigation needs to begin immediately before critical evidence disappears.

How to Prevent a Pedestrian Accident

It takes caution, awareness, and a knowledge of traffic rules to prevent pedestrian accidents. If you’re walking, you must always stay alert and obey all traffic signals. Drivers must yield to pedestrians using crosswalks, obey speed limits, and be on the lookout for people walking at all times. 

Other parties, such as governmental entities and property owners, can also help reduce pedestrian accidents. For example, cities can improve roads and install higher-quality street lights. Property owners can ensure their parking lots have sufficient lighting.  

What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian accidents are terrifying. It can be hard to keep a clear mind. But you must try to do just that to protect your health and to have the best chance of maximizing your compensation. Please try to do the following:

  • Get medical help as fast as you can. You might not think your injury is severe but see a doctor regardless. Some injuries don’t show symptoms for days afterward. The earlier you get medical attention, the better your chances of recovering fully.
  • As stated earlier, you should call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so they can investigate the accident and seek compensation from the person who caused it.
  • While you’re at the accident scene, take photos of anything you think is essential. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information. 
  • Call the police and report what happened. Tell the officer the truth, but never admit even the slightest fault. The driver’s insurance company will use that against you.

Receiving Compensation for Your Pedestrian Accident Injuries 

Hiring a lawyer will be your only chance of obtaining the money you have coming for all of your accident-related expenses. These include lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, etc. 

You must keep detailed records of all your medical appointments and all receipts associated with your treatment. If you miss work for an extended time, keep your pay stubs to show how much money you’re losing. 

Your attorney will not only work to collect critical evidence, but they may also bring in expert witnesses who can prove how the accident occurred. Their testimony could have a powerful impact on your case.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident, Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, please contact our experienced team of attorneys for a free evaluation of your case. Our attorneys have years of experience working on pedestrian accident cases, and we’re ready to help you get the compensation and justice that you deserve. For more information, please contact us online or through our chat feature or call us at 727-571-1333.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pedestrian Accidents

When do pedestrians have the right of way?

Florida law mandates that pedestrians have the right of way at intersections with a crosswalk. They must stop and allow pedestrians to cross. 

Is jaywalking illegal?

While you won’t find the term “jaywalking” anywhere in Florida law, crossing a road without using a crosswalk is illegal. 

Do I need to hire a pedestrian accident attorney?

Yes. If you’ve suffered a severe injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, hire a lawyer immediately. They can investigate the accident and gather the evidence needed to prove your case.

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio