Accidents involving pedestrians are more common than you might think. In 2017, nearly 6,000 pedestrians lost their lives in accidents involving vehicles according to the Centers for Disease Control, and an additional 129,000 were treated in emergency departments across the country for injuries. Unfortunately, no statistic can begin to illustrate what happens in the days and weeks following a pedestrian accident.
If you were hit by a car while crossing the street, it’s helpful to discuss your legal options with Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer David Fuchs. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled injury attorney, reach out to us today.
How a Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident on your own can be overwhelming; between insurance claims and managing any physical or emotional damages you may have, it can feel like too much. This is why it’s generally a good idea to hire a pedestrian accident attorney, as they’ll be able to:
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the driver’s insurance company or defense attorney
- Coordinate with your doctors so that you can get the medical information you’ll need to provide to your insurance company
- Organize the evidence and present it in a coherent fashion in court
- Negotiate with lien holders to reduce the amount on any of your liens
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Of course, people on foot are usually the more vulnerable of victims in pedestrian accidents, as they don’t have a giant metal cocoon to provide them some protection. In fact, Florida pedestrian accident statistics show that it’s one of five states that contribute to nearly half of pedestrian deaths in the entire country each year.
Just from January to June 2019 alone, 368 people in Florida died in a pedestrian crash.
Some common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
It doesn’t necessarily matter where you’re walking when this happens, be it a sidewalk, crosswalk, or even when you’re jaywalking or have the right of way–there’s no place that offers more safety over others when it comes to pedestrian accidents. Cars can easily veer off the street and crash into pedestrians.
Injuries from pedestrian accidents deserve the best representation, and dedicated Fort Lauderdale attorney David Fuchs is here to help.
Seeking Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident
Usually, injured pedestrians will seek recourse from the driver who hit them. In some circumstances, however, a third party may be partial to blame. For example, a municipality may be responsible for your injuries if it had faulty traffic control devices, unsafe streets, or a lack of crosswalks in a busy area.
One of the most common questions injured pedestrians ask following an accident is who will pay their medical bills.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company should be responsible for any medical expenses. You may also be able to request compensation for lost wages and the cost of physical therapy or rehabilitation. A lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can guide you through your legal options and advise you on how to proceed with your pedestrian injury claim.
Filing a Claim Against the Driver That Hit You
If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the driver is often at fault, even if the pedestrian was not crossing in a crosswalk. Florida law states that drivers should be alert to any hazards on the road, including pedestrians. In other words, a driver will usually be at fault for a pedestrian accident, unless hitting the pedestrian was unavoidable (for example, the pedestrian tried to beat traffic or didn’t look before crossing the road).
Here’s a caveat: jaywalking is illegal in most municipalities in Florida, including Fort Lauderdale. Even if the driver fails to avoid hitting a pedestrian, the person on foot may still be partially at fault for jaywalking. Since Florida is a “comparative negligence state,” your personal injury claim would be reduced by your degree of fault.
This concept is easier to understand with an example: say you were involved in a pedestrian accident and incurred $100,000 in damages. An investigation, however, reveals you were 20% at fault for the accident. In this case, your maximum verdict would be $80,000.
What to Do After Getting Hit by a Car
If you’re a pedestrian who’s been hit by a car, you may ask yourself what to do. Those who have been injured in any type of pedestrian accident should follow these suggestions:
- Call the Police – It’s wise to call the police as soon as possible after being hit by a car. If you’re too injured, however, then have someone call them for you. If possible, have someone take photos of the accident scene, the car that hit you, and the names and numbers of any eyewitnesses. Reporting this information will not only be helpful to the police, but your insurance companies later as well when you’re filing your claim.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention – Getting hit by a car often leads to lasting injuries. If you’re in serious pain, go to a nearby emergency facility like Holy Cross Hospital or Broward Health Imperial Point. This is not only what’s best for your health, but for your personal injury claim. Insurance adjusters and juries may assume that you didn’t suffer as much if you don’t seek timely treatment for your injuries. Lastly, getting medical treatment creates an official record of your injuries that’s admissible in court.
- Don’t Discuss Fault at the Accident Scene – It might be tempting to divulge details about what happened–and you may be too flustered to even notice you’re doing it–but keeping mum on who was at fault at the accident scene will actually save you a lot of trouble later. This is because most pedestrians are unaware of the laws surrounding these claims of fault, and assigning blame to the wrong person could create a host of legal troubles down the road. The only person who can truly help you navigate the aftermath of the accident according to the law is a pedestrian accident attorney.
- Contact Your Insurance Company – It’s recommended that you contact your car insurance provider immediately after an accident. Most policies extend to pedestrians, too, and will help you successfully make post-accident medical or disability claims.
Questions Our Lawyers Get Asked About Pedestrian Accidents
Below are some of the most common questions that attorney David Fuchs gets asked by clients after being hit by a car.
I’ve Been Told That Pedestrians Always Have the Right-Of-Way. Is That True?
Under state law, individuals operating motor vehicles have a heightened obligation to avoid crashes with pedestrians. Still, the duty for motorists to use extra caution when faced with pedestrians on or near roadways is not necessarily absolute.
Pedestrians also have a duty to abide by traffic devices and laws. For example, most drivers know to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are using a marked crosswalk. But what are drivers and pedestrians expected to do when there is no crosswalk?
In the absence of markings or traffic devices, pedestrians are expected to exercise reasonable judgment and not assume that drivers approaching the area will yield. Also, if drivers have the green light, pedestrians are actually expected to yield to drivers.
If I’m Injured in a Pedestrian Incident, Who Can I Sue?
When attempting to determine liability in a pedestrian vs. car accident, a number of considerations must be taken into account. For instance, the injured party (known as the plaintiff) will be required to show that they’ve been injured due to the driver’s (defendant’s) negligence.
It must also be shown that the driver owed the pedestrian a duty of care and that duty was breached, thus causing the harm that the pedestrian experienced.
Depending on the specifics of the case, proving this may be easier said than done. Accordingly, accident victims are encouraged to seek legal counsel from an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
After you’ve received appropriate medical care, get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer. The attorney at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. will protect your best interests and serve as your legal advocate throughout the process. Insurance companies may try to approach you with a low offer or deflect blame to another party.
We’ll work to achieve a settlement that’s fair and appropriately represents your bills, lost wages, and suffering.
Your personal injury claims process begins with a free initial consultation. Let us review the specifics of your case and help you decide on your next best steps. Contact us online to schedule your appointment today.