Every month thousands of accidents involving pedestrian struck by motor vehicles are reported and this that occur every month. Sadly, incidents of this kind which often lead to significant injury, or even death, have become all too common. If you or a loved one are struck by a motor vehicle, particularly in a crosswalk or intersection, whether governed by traffic control devices or not, there is a very high chance a legal claim could be brought against the driver and owner of the motor vehicle and compensation could be available to victims of these unfortunate occurrences. Statutes governing traffic and traffic safety consistently mandate that a pedestrian has the legal right of way when crossing in a crosswalk. In Florida, pedestrians and drivers have equal rights and duties to respect each other on the road; however, not all pedestrian accidents are the drivers fault.
Florida Statute 316.003(28) defines a pedestrian and anyone who is on foot. But merely because someone is traveling on foot does not make them immune to following the law and exercising reasonable care and seeing to their own safety and to the safety of others. If a pedestrian is careless, and violates the law, they can be found liable for a noncriminal traffic violation or civil traffic infraction, just the same as a careless driver. This often occurs when pedestrians fail to pay proper attention to a traffic situation, jaywalk and expect a driver will always spot them and stop for them, etc. Drivers, however, can face much harsher penalties when they violate Florida law, ranging from non-criminal or civil traffic infractions to misdemeanor and even felony convictions based on the severity of the violation or the damages caused by the improper driving. The determining factor the presence of simple carelessness or failure to use reasonable care, which is the definition of negligence, versus reckless or wonton conduct (driving while impaired for example) that will determine civil or criminal sanctions.
If a pedestrian is struck while crossing an intersection it is very likely that they will bring a THIRD PARTY claim against the driver, but not the driver’s insurance company as this is forbidden under the auspices of Florida’s Non-Joinder Statute codified in Florida Statute 627.4136 . If a driver is held responsible for injuring a pedestrian, it could result in an injury settlement which will provide compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other damages. If a settlement cannot be reached, it may result in a personal injury lawsuit which will be litigated and possibly settled at a mediation conference or tried before a jury in civil court.
If you or a loved one are injured in an accident, whether involving pedestrians or not, you should call the police and take pictures of the scene and the vehicle or vehicle involved. In addition, get the driver’s information and their insurance company; do not admit fault. You should admit yourself into the emergency room if the accident is severe, or even if you suspect that you or a loved one have been injured.
In the unfortunate event an at fault motorist will not comply with their legal duty to remain at the scene of an accident and chooses rather to flee the scene; immediately call 911. The police will open a criminal investigation, so it’s important that you have the presence of mind to collect any witness’ information. Your medical bills will initially be the responsibility of your automobile insurance carrier under the auspices of Florida No Fault Law, and depending on your policy, your deducible could be included in the damages if/when the police identify the criminal. If they do so, it is imperative to hire a Tampa personal injury lawyer to represent you.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, whether as a pedestrian, driver or passenger in a motor vehicle, call The Law Offices of Christopher DeBari right away and begin protecting your rights.
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