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Home » Tampa Injury Attorney » Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian Accident
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Florida tops the list of deadliest states for pedestrians. In 2019, 6,237 people were killed in vehicle-involved pedestrian accidents. Tampa ranked eighth among the most dangerous metro areas for pedestrian accidents. These accidents can happen anywhere there is foot traffic. If a pedestrian is injured in an accident the driver is most often at fault. However, in some cases, a third party may be liable, or the pedestrian may contribute to his or her own injury.

Common settings for pedestrian accidents

While busy interactions may certainly be dangerous, accidents involving pedestrians are also common in other settings. Some settings in which pedestrian accidents occur include:

INADEQUATE SIDEWALKS

The availability of well-defined, designated spaces for pedestrians and cars makes sharing the roads simpler and reduces the risk of accidents. Nevertheless, some Tampa roads do not have sidewalks at all. Drivers may have difficulty seeing a pedestrian or runner who is on the shoulder of the road. This is especially true of hilly areas or on roads that have sharp curves.

PARKING LOTS

Drivers and pedestrians share parking lots with little space left in between the two. Pedestrians passing by while drivers are backing out of parking spaces creates a constant risk. Drivers must check carefully for small children and wheelchairs that may not be readily visible in a rearview mirror. Speeding in parking areas increases the risk of an accident between a driver and a pedestrian occurring.

SCHOOL ZONES

The speed limit is lower in areas in which schools are located. Child pedestrians are often less predictable. They are more likely to cross the road suddenly or walk outside of designated crosswalks. Drivers have a higher duty of care in school zones. Therefore, drivers should travel slowly and always be prepared to make sudden stops during school hours and around pickup and dismissal time.

Causes of pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents often have causes that are similar to the contributing factors in other accidents. It can be more difficult for a driver to see a pedestrian in certain conditions. Therefore, limited visibility more often plays a role in pedestrian accidents. Common accident causes are:

SPEEDING

Vehicles that travel at faster speeds require a larger stopping distance. A speeding driver also has less time to react to hazards on the road. Not only does driving at a faster speed increase the risk of a pedestrian accident, but if an accident occurs, the pedestrian is likely to sustain more severe injuries if the vehicle is traveling at a higher speed.

DISTRACTED DRIVING

Distracted driving occurs in many forms. Cell phone use is one of the most common driver distractions. Eating while driving can take the driver’s attention away from the road. Drivers also read, adjust the radio, and take their eyes off the road to engage with passengers in the vehicle. Virtually anything that causes the driver to look away from the road can cause an accident.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol increases the risk of becoming involved in an accident. Drugs and alcohol affect the driver’s perception, decision-making, and reaction time to road conditions. Not only is driving under the influence (DUI) a criminal offense in Florida, but intoxicated drivers who cause a pedestrian accident are also civilly liable for the accident victim’s injury. DUI civil cases differ from many other personal injury cases because judges may also order the intoxicated driver to pay punitive damages to discourage future instances of intoxicated driving. Punitive damages are solely intended to punish the defendant. However, these damages are also typically paid to the accident victim.

ROLLING STOPS

A driver commits a rolling stop when he or she slows down at a stop sign and continues to proceed through the intersection without stopping. Rolling stops are dangerous because they are unpredictable to others who may be entering the intersection. Drivers sometimes do a quick visual sweep of an intersection as they are approaching just before continuing to roll through. It is easy to miss a pedestrian who may be approaching while the driver is inspecting another part of the intersection. A pedestrian may see a vehicle slowing down and enter the intersection assuming the driver will stop. If the vehicle rolls through the intersection, the vehicle may strike the pedestrian.

DRIVER INEXPERIENCE

Inexperienced drivers are often just beginning to get a feel for real traffic conditions and operating a vehicle. These drivers are more likely to misjudge their vehicle’s stopping distance. They may travel at speeds faster than they can reasonably handle. Younger drivers are also more likely to underestimate the dangers of driving while intoxicated. These factors pose risks for pedestrians and other drivers who share the roads.

LIMITED VISIBILITY

There are some cases in which a driver may not have a clear view of pedestrians. Bad weather conditions such as rain or fog can limit a driver’s visibility. Pedestrians may be wearing dark clothing, which can make it more difficult to see walkers or runners at night. Drivers have a responsibility to travel at safe speeds that allow sufficient time to assess the road and avoid to other vehicles and pedestrians.

Injuries in Tampa pedestrian accidents

The injuries pedestrians sustain in vehicle-involved accidents vary depending on the severity of the accident. Minor accident injuries may involve mild cuts and abrasions, light bruises, or a short-term soft tissue injury. These injuries may only require the accident victim to miss days from work to rest. Medical expenses in these cases are typically lower. More severe pedestrian accidents may cause:

SPINE INJURIES

A spine injury can affect the back, arms, legs, and bodily functions. The location of the injury will typically correspond to other parts of the body that may display symptoms. Types of spine injuries include:

  • herniated discs
  • fractured vertebrae
  • spinal cord injury
  • spondylolithesis
  • spinal stenosis

NECK & BACK INJURIES

Many are surprised to learn that whiplash is a common injury in pedestrian accidents. A low-speed pedestrian collision may cause the head to be propelled backward and then forward. Whiplash is often considered a minor injury; however, the condition can significantly impact an accident victim’s life. Loss of range of motion, tingling in the arms, fatigue, and headaches are among the main symptoms of whiplash. Treating the condition can take time and require the individual to refrain from working for a short period.

INTERNAL INJURIES

Internal injuries do not always produce detectible symptoms. An accident victim may bleed internally, which can be life-threatening. Accident victims should always have a thorough medical examination after an accident. A medical professional can check for injuries that are not easily observed upon visual inspection.

BRAIN INJURY

Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to more severe injuries that limit mobility and impact everyday life in other ways. Accident victims who sustain a severe brain injury most often receive compensation for future lost wages and emotional damages in addition to payment for their present and future medical expenses.

BROKEN BONES

Broken bones are usually on the less severe end of the injury spectrum when it comes to pedestrian accidents. Nevertheless, broken bones can be minor, or they can significantly impact the injured party’s life. Very severe fractures can require multiple surgeries and long-term rehab therapy.

Filing an insurance claim after a pedestrian accident

There are a few different types of insurance policies that may compensate pedestrian accident victims for their injuries. One of the main drawbacks of filing an insurance claim is coverage availability. Some types of coverage are optional in Florida. Therefore, a driver who causes a Tampa pedestrian accident may not carry coverage that would compensate the accident victim for bodily injuries. Payout limits are another potential drawback to filing an insurance claim. Nevertheless, seeking compensation from the insurance company may be an ideal option for accident victims in certain cases.

Personal injury protection insurance

Florida requires drivers to carry a no-fault Personal Insurance Policy (PIP). Pedestrians who happen to have a PIP for their vehicle may file a claim with their insurance company to receive compensation for their own injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. PIPs typically have lower limits; therefore, pedestrian accident victims who are severely injured are likely to need compensation from another source. PIP policies also do not compensate accident victims for pain and suffering or for time away from work.

Uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage

Pedestrians who are hit by motorists who do not carry insurance that will compensate them for their injuries may file a claim under their own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist policy. These policies cover pedestrians, bicyclists, and family members who reside in the insured driver’s household. Florida requires UI/UIM coverage to be offered as part of an auto insurance policy.

Bodily injury liability insurance

If the negligent driver carries Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage, the accident victim may file a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier. Florida does not require all drivers to have BIL coverage. Therefore, pedestrians who are struck by drivers who do not have BIL coverage should seek compensation from other means such as their own UM/UIM or PIP policy or by filing a claim against the driver in civil court.

Negotiating with insurance companies

Insurance companies typically use formulas to determine how much they will pay accident victims for their claims. The companies employ corporate lawyers who represent the company in negotiations to protect the company from losing more money than necessary on claims. Therefore, insurance settlements are typically offered to victims with the company’s corporate interests as a driving factor. Accident victims need their own advocate who can evaluate settlement offers and negotiate for better a better offer in the interest of the victim receiving what he or she needs. A Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer can handle all communications with insurance companies and fight for the victim’s right to a fair settlement.

Filing a civil court claim for a pedestrian accident

Most people will need to contact a Tampa personal injury lawyer to properly file a personal injury claim in court. A personal injury lawyer will ask important questions to determine the basic facts of the case. The attorney will also determine whether the case is within Florida’s four-year statute of limitations for pedestrian accident cases. If the claim has surpassed the four-year expiration date, the attorney will determine whether an exception may exist. Tampa pedestrian accident lawyers represent accident victims in discussions with insurance companies as well as during court proceedings. Lawyers help victims make informed decisions about how they would like to proceed in seeking compensation for their injuries.

Contacting a Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer

After receiving medical attention, pedestrian accident victims should contact a personal injury lawyer. It is better to contact a lawyer as early as possible. Gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and negotiating with insurance companies are often much easier to do shortly after the accident has taken place. Getting an early start will also allow more time for the attorney to navigate the civil court process, carefully determining the best strategy at each step.

Contact us to receive a free, confidential case evaluation. Our Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer represents accident victims at all stages of the civil court process and in pre-trial negotiations. Recovering from a pedestrian accident requires enough time, energy, and focus. Leave the legal legwork to us so you can focus on healing. We will fight for your rights to the compensation you deserve.

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