Yes, a pedestrian hit by a car can file an insurance claim. You must, however, prove that the driver of the vehicle was negligent to hold her responsible for your injuries.
What Options Do I Have to Recover Compensation?
You have multiple possibilities, depending on the circumstances of your case. Assuming you were not negligent and the car driver was responsible, you have the following options:
- The driver’s auto insurance.
- The vehicle owner’s insurance, if someone other than the owner was driving the car.
- If the driver was uninsured or her coverage is insufficient to pay your damages, you can make a claim with your uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Florida does not require motorists to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
- Your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your own auto policy. (This is also an option if you were at-fault for the accident.)
- If it was a commercial vehicle, both the owner and operator of the vehicle may have liability policies.
- A business might have a general liability policy in addition to coverage on its vehicles.
- Your health insurance might pay for some of your medical bills. While some policies exclude coverage for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents, a pedestrian might avoid this exclusion, depending on the policy.
What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage in Florida?
PIP coverage in Florida will pay your medical bills and disability up to the limits of your PIP coverage, regardless of who was at fault. All drivers in Florida must carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage.
The coverage amount is for the total of your medical expenses and lost time from work. If you have $10,000 in PIP coverage and your medical bills are $4,000, you will then have only $6,000 available to compensate for missing work from the accident.
In Florida, your PIP coverage will pay benefits to the insured and any relative of the insured who live under the same roof. This provision can be especially useful if, for example, a car strikes your child while she is walking home from school. A young child would not have her own auto policy as she is too young to drive, so your policy will cover her if she lives with you.
How Much Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Do Florida Vehicles Have to Maintain?
Florida law does not require individual drivers to maintain liability coverage. Because Florida is a no-fault state, all drivers instead turn to their own PIP coverage to cover their injuries and lost wages.
If the driver in your accident does not carry liability coverage, you have the option to sue him and recover your injury costs and lost wages.
Note: Florida law requires taxis to carry liability insurance. If you were involved in an accident with a taxi driver, you can recover up to $125,000 for your accident-related expenses.
Are Car Drivers Automatically At-Fault If They Hit Pedestrians?
No. While many people assume that pedestrians always have the right of way, this is not true. Florida lays down the law on the duties of pedestrians. Per Florida Statute § 316.130, pedestrians must do the following:
- Use crosswalks
- Obey traffic lights and signals, including pedestrian “walk/do not walk” instructions.
- Stay off the roads where there are usable sidewalks.
- Walk on the left shoulder of the road, facing oncoming traffic, where there is no usable sidewalk.
- Use pedestrian tunnels and overhead pedestrian crossings where provided.
Pedestrians may not:
- Stand on any part of the road to request a ride.
- Stand on or near the road to watch over a parked car.
- Cross the road diagonally, unless explicitly allowed in that location.
- Jaywalk (i.e., crossing outside of a crosswalk).
- Walk or run into the path of an oncoming car so suddenly that the vehicle does not have time to stop.
- Engage in reckless conduct on or around roadways.
If a pedestrian violates these pedestrian laws or acts in some other way that is reckless or negligent, such as walking while distracted, the pedestrian can be the party at fault.
Note: You can file a claim even if you were partially at-fault; however, it is important to note that your percentage of fault will decrease your settlement amount. For example, if your settlement demand was for $15,000 but you were 20 percent at fault, you could only recover $12,000.
What Is a Car Driver’s Duty Toward Pedestrians?
Drivers must exercise “ordinary, reasonable, or due care” toward pedestrians. Drivers must stop for people in crosswalks when no traffic signal or signage applies.
A driver must try not to hit a pedestrian or bicyclist, even if the pedestrian or bicyclist is violating the law.
Florida law imposes a heightened duty on drivers when they see children or “obviously confused or incapacitated” pedestrians. The driver must warn when necessary and exercise due caution.
If a car hits a pedestrian while the driver was following the law and was not negligent, the driver is not liable. As a practical matter, these cases are challenging.
What Damages Can I Recover If a Car Struck Me While I Was Walking?
A pedestrian hit by a car can recover damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible losses.
Every case is different. The damages you can recover will depend on the facts of your case and the insurance policy that provides coverage.
Montero Law Center Can Help You Recover the Compensation You Deserve
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that was not your fault, the personal injury team at Montero Law Center can handle your claim. Call us today at 954-767-6500, and we will set up your free consultation.