Pedestrians in Florida don’t have it easy. Cities like Orlando are overcrowded and lack adequate crosswalks, bike lanes, and sidewalks.
A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) ranks Florida as the second deadliest state for pedestrians. In the first half of 2017, only California – with twice the population of Florida – reported more pedestrian deaths.
WHAT DOES THE GHSA REPORT TELL US ABOUT PEDESTRIAN SAFETY?
Florida is one of five states that account for over forty percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the United States. The other four states in that group are California, New York, Texas, and Arizona.
Florida also ranked second in 2016 in terms of pedestrian deaths per hundred thousand. Florida reported 3.22 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents and trailed only New Mexico (with 3.45 reported pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents).
The disturbing truth is that pedestrian fatalities are rising here in Orlando and across the U.S. after years of decline. In 2016, reported pedestrian deaths in the U.S. numbered 5,987, and the figure has been climbing each year since 2013.
Richard Retting, a consultant with the (GHSA), observes, “There is definitely some bad news here … 6,000 people lose their lives after nothing more than going out for a walk.”
WHY ARE PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES INCREASING?
Why are pedestrian fatalities rising again after years of decline?
“The thing that has changed is the smart-phone revolution,” according to one spokesperson at MetroPlan Orlando, the transportation planning agency.
How are authorities responding? The Orlando Police recently obtained a grant of $43,000 that will be dedicated to reducing pedestrian accidents.
And back in 2015, Orange County designated $15 million toward pedestrian safety. Those funds are providing new turn lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks, traffic signs and signals, and additional safety upgrades for pedestrians.
WHEN ARE INJURED PEDESTRIANS ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION?
Anywhere in this state, if you sustain injuries as a pedestrian because of a driver’s negligence, you are – in most cases – entitled to full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and all other losses and damages arising from the accident.
If you are injured as a pedestrian in Florida, here’s what you must try to do:
Get medical attention at once.
Then call the police. If they write an accident report, find out how to get a copy of it.
Take photos or have someone take photos of the scene and the vehicle.
Try to get the driver’s name, license and license plate numbers, as much contact information as possible, and full insurance information.
Try to get any eyewitnesses’ names and contact information.
WHY IS IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION IMPERATIVE?
Do not wait to seek medical attention after a pedestrian accident, because a negligent driver’s auto insurance company could charge that you were injured prior to the accident or not really injured at all.
Jurors and insurance claims adjusters tend to think that if you don’t seek medical care right away after an accident, maybe you weren’t actually hurt.
Seeking immediate medical attention is imperative for medical as well as legal reasons. Latent and hard-to-detect injuries can later turn into serious health problems.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON PEDESTRIAN INJURIES?
The most common injuries sustained in non-fatal pedestrian accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Multiple broken bones
- Scarring and disfigurement
WHO PAYS FOR PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS?
If you are injured as a pedestrian, who pays the medical costs? That answer hinges on several factors.
In a no-fault state like Florida, the driver’s auto insurance company generally pays some or sometimes all of an injured pedestrian’s medical expenses.
If the pedestrian has his or her own personal injury protection (PIP) policy, that policy may also provide some coverage.
Typically, when pedestrians are struck by vehicles, the driver will be deemed at-fault, even in some cases where the pedestrian wasn’t in a crosswalk.
Still, pedestrians who are not in crosswalks should not expect vehicles to stop for them, and pedestrians who injure themselves through their own carelessness will have no legal recourse.
Pedestrians who are impaired by alcohol or drugs and those who are distracted by smart-phones are a growing concern everywhere.
WHY WILL AN INJURED PEDESTRIAN NEED AN ATTORNEY’S HELP?
But almost everyone is a pedestrian, sooner or later, so almost everyone is a potential injury victim. In cities like Orlando, the risk is even higher.
In Orlando and anywhere in central Florida, if you’re struck and injured by a careless motorist while you’re a pedestrian, obtain medical treatment first.
Admit to nothing, sign nothing, and say nothing to an auto insurance company before you speak to an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney.
Your personal injury attorney will aggressively work to obtain the maximum compensation available.
Your injury attorney is a trained negotiator who routinely deals with insurance companies and knows how to get the settlement an injury victim needs.
Most pedestrian accident claims can be handled without a trial, but if no acceptable settlement is offered, your personal injury attorney will go to court for the compensation you need and deserve.
WHAT ARE INJURED VICTIMS OF NEGLIGENCE ENTITLED TO?
Pedestrian personal injury victims in Florida may be compensated for:
- immediate medical expenses
- future surgeries, rehabilitation, and therapy
- lost wages and lost earning capacity
- pain, suffering, and emotional trauma
WHAT CAN DRIVERS DO TO HELP PEDESTRIANS – AND THEMSELVES?
What can motorists do to reduce pedestrian mishaps in the Orlando area?
Get rid of the distractions. Don’t eat, text, groom, or drink and drive. Focus exclusively on driving, and stay vigilant.
Drive slower in construction zones and anywhere pedestrians may be present.
Maintain your vehicle routinely and comprehensively, especially the tires, wipers, lights, safety belts, and brakes.
Be aware of vehicle and vehicle part recalls.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN A VICTIM’S COMPENSATION?
If you’re injured by a negligent driver while you’re walking in Orlando or anywhere in central Florida, an experienced personal injury attorney can assess your claim, explain your options, safeguard your rights, and provide the legal advice and advocacy you need.
Injured victims of negligence are entitled by Florida law to compensation. Proving that you are entitled to compensation takes an attorney’s training and expertise.
Personal injury lawyers usually provide an initial consultation at no charge, so it costs injured pedestrians nothing to learn more. If you are injured by negligence, get the legal help you need – immediately.