Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Providing Skilled Legal Assistance to Victims
Walking is a common mode of transportation for many people, especially when the weather is nice and the distances between destinations are short. Traveling by foot is also great for physical and mental health, not to mention very cost-effective. However, this enjoyable activity can quickly become dangerous if nearby drivers or bicyclists are not paying attention to their surroundings. Being struck by a motor vehicle at any speed can cause significant damage to a victim’s body. Accidents that cause a pedestrian to hit their head can pose some of the greatest dangers due to the potentially life-threatening acute damage and long-term symptoms of traumatic brain injuries.
You have legal rights if you’ve suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident. Kurzman Law Group, P.A. can provide the knowledgeable assistance and guidance you need to recover the full compensation you deserve. We have a firm grasp of Florida’s traffic laws and regulations and a proven track record of helping injured pedestrians with their claims. Contact our law office today at 954-466-3220 for a free consultation.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Every pedestrian accident is unique, but some common factors can increase the chance of a collision. The weather conditions, time of day, intoxicating substances or medications the driver has taken, poor road planning or maintenance, and more can play a role in a pedestrian accident. While pedestrians have little control over most of these causes, it can be helpful to be aware of risks so you can remain vigilant when walking.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 75% of pedestrian accidents occur at night. This increase in accidents after dark could be related to improper street lighting or may be due to tired, distracted, or inattentive drivers. Urban areas also pose a greater risk for pedestrians, with 80% of pedestrian accidents occurring in urban areas versus 20% in rural areas. This is likely because there are more streets, intersections, and overall pedestrian activity in the city, which leads to a higher rate of accidents. Surprisingly, the NHTSA found that only 18% of the pedestrian accidents in their 2017 study occurred at an intersection or crosswalk. Instead, driveways, parking lots, bike paths, and other non-traffic areas are actually some of the higher-risk areas for pedestrian accidents.
Similar to car accidents, pedestrian accidents are mainly due to driver negligence. Common causes include:
- Distracted driving.
- Speeding or driving too fast for the weather conditions.
- Failing to yield the right of way at a pedestrian crossing.
- Not stopping at traffic signals or stop signs.
- Driving a car, bus, or truck under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Inadvertently driving over the curb and onto the sidewalk.
What Injuries Can a Pedestrian Accident Inflict?
Because they have nothing to protect them from an impact, pedestrians are highly vulnerable to injuries from accidents. Aside from the damage caused by the initial impact on a vehicle or bicyclist, there are also dangers posed by hitting the hard pavement or sidewalk, getting run over by the car once down, or being crushed between the vehicle and another object. Even a low-speed collision in a parking lot has the potential to cause serious harm to an adult or child. Some of the injuries pedestrians may suffer include:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Lacerations and contusions
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Organ damage
- Face, eye, and jaw injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Crushed or severed extremities
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression
What Penalties Can a Hit-and-Run Driver Face for Striking a Pedestrian?
Florida has strict laws in place regarding hit-and-run cases, especially if they result in injury or death. Under the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, signed into state law in 2014, anyone who leaves the scene of an accident that results in a fatality faces a minimum four-year prison sentence. The maximum sentencing for a fatal pedestrian accident is 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the hit-and-run accident caused injury to a victim, the driver could be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries a five-year maximum prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. A drunk driver who leaves the scene may face even harsher sentencing and the revocation of their license.
If you’ve been struck by a hit-and-run driver while walking, your first step after getting any needed medical treatment should be to call the police. The police will begin an investigation into the incident, and if the driver is apprehended, they may face both criminal and civil penalties. Unfortunately, if the driver remains unidentified, you have few avenues of recourse for recovering compensation for your injuries unless other negligent parties are involved. A pedestrian accident attorney from Kurzman Law Group, P.A. can investigate your hit-and-run accident, explain your legal options, and ensure that every potential lead is followed to track down the perpetrator.
Can You File a Pedestrian Accident Claim if You Share Responsibility for the Accident?
Many pedestrian accident cases are complex, with several factors involved. Sometimes when individuals are walking, they are not as aware as they should be. Individuals may also engage in jaywalking or other risky behaviors. While these can contribute to an accident, all drivers still owe pedestrians a duty of care while operating their automobiles. Responsible drivers must obey the speed limit and pay sufficient attention to be able to avoid an accident that other drivers under the same circumstances could avoid.
Under Florida’s comparative fault laws, you can file a pedestrian accident lawsuit for your damages as long as you are not 100% responsible for the accident. However, it is critical to remember that your compensation will be reduced by the amount of fault assigned to you. It is key to the success of your claim to have an experienced lawyer on your side to prove liability on the part of the driver. Otherwise, the driver’s insurance company may attempt to unfairly shift the blame onto you in an effort to reduce your claim’s value.
What Compensation Can Be Sought by Pedestrian Accident Victims?
The recovery from a pedestrian accident can be long, painful, and costly. A personal injury lawyer can help you file an insurance claim or bring a lawsuit to recover damages for the many losses you’ve already suffered from your accident and any that you anticipate having in the future. The damages which may be awarded in a pedestrian accident case settlement include the following:
- Economic damages: These offset financial losses that occurred due to your accident, including lost wages, medical bills, surgeries, physical therapy expenses, costs for transportation to and from appointments, loss of future earning capacity, and more.
- Non-economic damages: Injuries also involve losses that aren’t financial in nature. A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer can calculate the value of the non-economic losses you’ve endured, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring, and disfigurement.
- Punitive damages: When a case goes to trial, there is the potential for punitive damages to be awarded in addition to the other settlement amounts. While these damages are not common, they may be used as a punishment for offenders who displayed a reckless disregard for human life or intentionally and maliciously caused harm to a pedestrian.
What Does a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Do?
If you’ve suffered a pedestrian accident, you may be facing an uphill road to recovery. You likely have significant medical expenses and may feel anxious about how you will pay your bills, especially if your injuries have taken you away from your job. The last thing you need is the stress of trying to negotiate a settlement with a less-than-helpful insurance company whose goal is to pay you as little as possible for your claim.
A pedestrian accident lawyer from Kurzman Law Group, P.A. can act as your representative in all matters regarding your claim. We will take the time to investigate your accident and gather the evidence needed to prove negligence on the part of the liable individuals or entities. We will protect your rights and fight to get you the best possible settlement that fully covers the losses caused by your accident. Because we take pedestrian accident cases on commission, you will owe nothing unless we secure a settlement for you. Contact our law office today at 954-466-3220 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our skilled lawyers.