Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawyer
In this article, we’ll break down:
- How can a pedestrian accident lawyer help prove driver negligence?
- Driver and pedestrian laws in Florida
- When is a pedestrian at fault for a car accident?
- Pedestrians can receive compensation even if they contribute to the accident
- How to find the best pedestrian accident lawyer for your case
Accidents involving a driver and a pedestrian often come down to an argument of “he said/she said.” We’ve worked with many clients over the years who were hurt by a driver while walking along a sidewalk or crossing a street, only to have the finger pointed at them as the party at fault.
There’s an unfounded perception that pedestrian accidents are mostly caused by pedestrian negligence. Because of this, pedestrians hurt by a negligent driver must work twice as hard to prove negligence to win their case, which is why having an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer by your side is so critical.
If you’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident, find an experienced personal injury lawyer who can file a lawsuit if you are unable to convince an adjuster to give you a fair and just settlement offer.
How Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help Prove Driver Negligence?
In every case of a pedestrian injury due to driver negligence in Florida, you must prove that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care and, as a result, was negligent in causing the collision and subsequent injuries.
As your lawyer will no doubt tell you, every pedestrian accident case is unique and can be difficult to prove. And the burden of proof is on you, the pedestrian, to prove driver negligence.
Proving negligence requires admissible evidence, and enough of it to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence to a judge or jury, that the driver was at fault. The challenge with proving negligence in a pedestrian accident case is the limited amount of evidence you must work with. If an accident occurs on a side street with few witnesses and without road cameras, it’s going to be much harder to prove fault than if you were injured by a car in the middle of Biscayne Boulevard. Oftentimes, the best source of testimonial evidence is of an accident reconstructionist or the deposition of the driver of the other car.
The best thing you can do to support your case is to gather as much evidence as possible, including asking witnesses to recall the event and the actions they noticed the driver take just prior to the accident. Photos from the scene are great to have, as well as statements you made contemporaneous to the time of the accident, as well as statements to emergency personnel and other health care providers.
The best evidence is evidence that can demonstrate that your injuries were the direct result of a driver not paying attention while driving, not abiding by driving laws, or any other act or failure to act by the driver that resulted in the accident.
Driver and Pedestrian Laws in Florida
It pays to know the rules of the road as you build your accident case. In Florida, both pedestrians and motorists have reciprocal rights to use public roads, but there are many laws surrounding the level of care they need to show to one another.
According to Florida Statute 316.130(15), vehicle drivers must exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian, give a warning when necessary, and exercise caution if driving by a child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person. Drivers must also exercise “ordinary, reasonable, or due care” to all pedestrians.
Pedestrians also have a set of laws to follow. They must abide by stop signs, traffic lights, and other street signals just like drivers. In Florida, pedestrians must use sidewalks by law; they’re not permitted to walk up and down the road. If a road doesn’t have a sidewalk, pedestrians are required by law to walk along the road’s shoulder.
One of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents involves a distracted driver. If you noticed the driver was distracted and that lack of focus contributed to the accident, see if other witnesses also observed the same behavior.
Related: From Our Blog: Did the Driver Act Reasonably to Prevent a Pedestrian Accident?
Distracted Driving Causes Most Pedestrian Accidents
The most common causes of distracted driving include:
- Texting – arguably the biggest cause of driver distraction
- Adjusting music
- Turning to talk to other passengers
If you believe the driver failed to obey traffic laws, you may have a case as well. Other common causes of pedestrian accidents include speeding, failure to slow down at crosswalks, backing up into a street, and alcohol impairment.
When is a Pedestrian at Fault for a Car Accident?
It’s important to note that pedestrians can also cause distractions and fail to obey the rules of the road. Texting while walking along the road is one of the common behaviors that increase accident risk. If you were using your cell phone when the accident occurred, then you may be found to be comparatively negligent, which is where negligence is allocated between the driver and the pedestrian. If you bring a lawsuit against the driver but you’re found to have contributed to the negligence that caused the accident, you’ll be allowed to recover some, but not all, your damages.
Quick Tip: Florida Statute 316.130 requires:
(1) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.(2) Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals at intersections as provided in s. 316.075, but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and be subject to the restrictions stated in this chapter.(3) Where sidewalks are provided, no pedestrian shall, unless required by other circumstances, walk along and upon the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic.(4) Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway in relation to the pedestrian’s direction of travel, facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction.(5) No person shall stand in the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle.(6) No person shall stand on or in proximity to a street or highway for the purpose of soliciting the watching or guarding of any vehicle while parked or about to be parked on a street or highway.(7)(a) The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.(b) The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where signage so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.(c) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.(9) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.(10) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.(11) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.(12) No pedestrian shall, except in a marked crosswalk, cross a roadway at any other place than by a route at right angles to the curb or by the shortest route to the opposite curb.(13) Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks.(14) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices, and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.(15) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.(16) No pedestrian shall enter or remain upon any bridge or approach thereto beyond the bridge signal, gate, or barrier after a bridge operation signal indication has been given. No pedestrian shall pass through, around, over, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.(17) No pedestrian may jump or dive from a publicly owned bridge. Nothing in this provision requires the state or any political subdivision of the state to post signs notifying the public of this provision. The failure to post a sign may not be construed by any court to create liability on the part of the state or any of its political subdivisions for injuries sustained as a result of jumping or diving from a bridge in violation of this subsection.(18) No pedestrian shall walk upon a limited access facility or a ramp connecting a limited access facility to any other street or highway; however, this subsection does not apply to maintenance personnel of any governmental subdivision.
Pedestrian Contributes to the Accident: A violation of the Pedestrian statute is a noncriminal traffic infraction and is evidence of negligence. Thus, if a pedestrian violates the statute they are likely going to contend with a contributory negligence (a/k/a comparative negligence) claim. Meaning, the amount of their damage award will be reduced (not barred, but reduced, as long as the pedestrian takes the right steps).
Hire an Experienced Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to Help Win Your Case
Victims are usually surprised by how difficult it can be to prove negligence in pedestrian accidents with severe injuries. Most pedestrian accidents are considered hard-to-prove personal injury cases because there is often questionable liability.
A successful outcome is where your lawyer is able to recover your past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering damages, and lost compensation, even if you were unemployed at the time of the accident. Victims who hire a personal injury lawyer typically receive much larger payouts than those who choose to go it alone.
Call Alan Sackrin Today to Get a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a family member were injured by a driver while walking on a road or sidewalk, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who is familiar with Florida pedestrian rights and has spent 38 years evaluating accident facts, applying the law, and effectively asking juries to render a favorable verdict.
Alan Sackrin offers a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions. When you’re ready to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, give Alan a call at 945-458-8655.