Just going for a walk can be dangerous in many parts of Florida. In fact, this is the second-most-dangerous state for pedestrians.
Are you at risk? Are your loved ones at risk?
WHAT ARE THE RECENT FIGURES REGARDING PEDESTRIAN DEATHS?
Some disturbing figures regarding pedestrian deaths were published in February by the Governors Highway Safety Association, including these:
1. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 27 percent from 2007 to 2016.
2. During the same period, all other traffic-related fatalities declined by 14 percent.
3. During the same period, pedestrian deaths as a percentage of total traffic fatalities increased from 11 percent to 16 percent.
4. Five states (California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Arizona) accounted for 43 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2017.
5. In the first half of 2017, only California reported more pedestrian fatalities than Florida.
6. In the first six months of 2017, there were 303 pedestrian deaths reported in Florida.
Every year in the U.S., about 5,000 pedestrians are killed and another 64,000 are seriously injured in collisions with motor vehicles.
WHO ARE FLORIDA’S INJURED PEDESTRIANS?
Surprisingly, the pedestrians injured most often in the state of Florida are not office workers or shoppers in downtown settings.
Instead, they are changing a tire next to a highway, repairing a stalled vehicle, or doing road construction work – away from a crowded urban setting. Some are police officers conducting a traffic stop or accident investigation.
Stuart personal injury attorney Barbara Kibbey Wagner offers these insights:
“My thoughts would be perhaps that Florida has many rural areas without proper lighting or sidewalks, lots of drivers without licenses here, and not many mass transportation options.”
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF THOSE INJURED BY NEGLIGENCE?
If you’re injured as a pedestrian in Florida by a negligent car, truck, or bus driver, you are entitled to reimbursement for your medical treatment, lost wages, and related damages.
However, after being injured, it is imperative to understand your legal rights and options. In central or south Florida, you’ll need to speak at once with an experienced Stuart personal injury attorney.
One insurance company reports that about sixty percent of us are distracted when we are pedestrians.
Many people text, talk, listen to music, and even try to read as they walk. But distracted walking is extremely dangerous. People have walked into buildings, traffic, and even off bridges because their eyes were glued to a screen.
HOW CAN A LAWYER HELP?
If you’re injured because of your own negligence, a lawyer can’t help you, but if you are injured by someone else’s negligence, discuss your case right away with an injury attorney.
Most personal injury lawyers in Florida provide a free first legal consultation, so it costs you nothing as an injury victim to learn how the law may apply to your case – and entitle you to compensation.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO PEDESTRIAN SAFETY?
As a pedestrian, the key to safety is simply avoiding the typical distractions. Do not read or text as you walk. If you talk on the phone, step off the sidewalk and stop to talk.
If you walk after dark, carry a flashlight, and walk only where it’s well-lit. Do not overlook the basics – look both ways before crossing, for example.
If a distracted driver injures you while you are a pedestrian in Florida, once you’ve been seen by a doctor, discuss the case with a personal injury lawyer you can trust.
The outcome is often tragic when a pedestrian is struck by a moving car, truck, or bus.
Pedestrians usually have no protection at all. If a pedestrian survives a collision, he or she may suffer multiple broken bones, internal organ damage, neck and back injuries, and traumatic brain injury – even in a “minor” accident.
IF YOU’RE INJURED, HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
In Florida, if you are injured by a negligent driver while you are a pedestrian, seek medical treatment immediately, and make no statement to any insurance company representative before you’ve consulted a personal injury attorney.
Your attorney will make every effort to recover the maximum available financial compensation on your behalf.
If you are injured as a pedestrian, do not agree to any settlement with an insurance company before consulting with your attorney.
An insurance company may offer you a low settlement amount or nothing at all. It may postpone payment and hope you will just go away. It may even try blaming you for your own injury.
Do not even speak to the insurance company if you’ve been seriously injured. Your health and your future are too important. Let an accident attorney negotiate on your behalf.
When an injured pedestrian’s personal injury claim prevails, the compensation covers medical expenses, rehabilitation, and therapy, lost wages and lost earning capacity, and most other related losses and damages.
In some cases, pedestrian victims of negligence are also compensated for pain, suffering, and personal emotional trauma.
HOW CAN DRIVERS HELP REDUCE PEDESTRIAN INJURIES?
What can drivers do to help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents in Florida – and to avoid winding up on the wrong end of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit?
1. Eliminate distractions: Don’t drink and drive. Don’t text, eat, groom, or do anything but concentrate on the road. Do not be distracted by pets, kids, or the radio.
2. Stay alert. Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, and be even more cautious after dark.
3. Reduce your speed in construction zones.
4. Have a certified mechanic routinely check your vehicle, especially your brakes, tire pressure, lights, wipers, and safety belts.
5. Stay abreast of defective vehicle recalls and defective vehicle part recalls.
If you are injured by negligence as a pedestrian, an experienced injury attorney will review your claim, outline your options, protect your rights, and offer the sound legal advice you need.
WHO IS A POTENTIAL VICTIM OF NEGLIGENCE?
Everyone is a potential victim.
You could be ambling down the sidewalk, minding your own business, when a bus, truck, car, or even a motorcycle spins out of control.
As a pedestrian, you can be injured seriously by a skateboarder or even by a bicyclist. If you’re injured, get the medical help you need.
Then get the legal help you need. If you’ve been injured by negligence in Florida, you have the right to compensation, and you have the right to justice.