Although the number of pedestrian accidents has fallen recently (Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)), the state still has one of the country’s highest rates of pedestrian accidents. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2012, 476 pedestrians died in traffic accidents. That’s 2.46 deaths per 100,000 people. Only a few states had more fatalities per population. It’s important to know your rights if you or a loved one has been hit by car while walking in Broward County. For a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney at Montero Law Center, call 954-767-6500.
Despite Improvements, Pedestrian Accidents Still Happen
State, county and city governments have taken steps to improve safety for pedestrians. Broward County, for instance, installed flashing beacons at the corners of SE 3rd Ave. and SE 1st St. in Fort Lauderdale. The city has also installed flashing crosswalk lights in several locations, including the intersection of SE 14th Ave. and Las Olas Blvd.
These changes could help prevent pedestrian accidents and fatalities, but statistics show that Florida still has a long way to go. The relatively dangerous conditions mean that people in Fort Lauderdale and other South Florida cities should know their rights and how to hold drivers liable after accidents.
Pedestrian Right of Way Laws in Florida
Florida statutes offer detailed explanations of pedestrian right of way laws and responsibilities. Pedestrians are responsible for:
- Obeying traffic signals.
- Using sidewalks when available.
- Walking on road shoulders when sidewalks are not available.
When pedestrians break these rules, they put themselves in danger. They also may make themselves liable for any injuries or property damage that results from breaking the law.
Florida laws detail drivers’ responsibilities. Unfortunately, many drivers either do not know the laws or fail to follow them. Many pedestrian accidents occur when drivers:
- Do not yield the right of way at pedestrian crosswalks.
- Do not give pedestrians the right of way at unmarked intersections.
- Overtake other cars that have yielded for pedestrians.
The legal consequences are often more damaging for motorists who do not follow these rules. Depending on the circumstances, motorists who hit pedestrians could be charged with serious crimes like vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter.
Common Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
Florida’s pedestrian fatalities account for 20 percent of the state’s overall traffic fatalities. Not all pedestrians struck by cars, however, suffer life-ending injuries. Some of the most common injuries caused by pedestrian accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Puncture wounds
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Even when the pedestrian survives, he or she can face hefty medical bills. Those injured too badly to work may lose salaries they need to pay mortgages and bills. Losing pay, of course, makes it even more difficult for injured pedestrians to cover medical bills. In this instances, victims may need to pursue compensation from insurance companies or at-fault drivers.
Pursuing Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
A pedestrian’s insurance may cover medical bills and lost wages. In many cases, though, victims do not receive the amount of compensation they need to recover from their injuries. Pedestrians may suffer serious injuries that require long-term care. The accident could even leave them permanently disabled.
When these injuries happen, victims should consider pursuing compensation through the courts. Hiring experienced professionals like the attorneys at Montero Law Center may increase your chances of getting the compensation needed to pay medical bills and living expenses.
Keep in mind that Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. You must file a claim within four years of the accident. If someone in your family dies in the accident, then the statute of limitations is reduced to two years. The clock, however, starts on the date of the person’s death instead of the date of the accident.
An experienced Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney at Montero Law Center will know how to use Florida’s laws in your favor, but you have to make the first move.