Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Tampa, FL
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, they tend to sustain severe injuries that have long-lasting consequences. Florida is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians, with the Miami Herald reporting that nine of the top 20 most deadly cities for American pedestrians are located right here in the Sunshine State, according to Florida pedestrian accident statistics.
If you were injured in a Tampa pedestrian accident, it’s important to understand your rights and the options you may have to seek compensation for your losses. For more than 20 years, the personal injury lawyers of Brooks Law Group have worked tirelessly to pursue justice and maximum compensation for injured pedestrians in Tampa and the surrounding Florida areas.
We care about our clients, and we believe in putting people first, which means we’ll listen to your story and provide you with exceptional, personalized customer service through your case. Contact our law office today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you recover.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Because of the relative lack of protection available to those traveling on foot, any collision between a pedestrian and a car, truck, or motorcycle can be dangerous. In many cases, pedestrian accidents are caused by driver errors, such as failure to yield the right-of-way, running red lights, or failure to check their surroundings before backing up. Other common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Drivers illegally passing other vehicles stopped to allow pedestrians to cross
- Drivers making negligent turns or merging maneuvers
- Drivers negligently backing out of driveways or parking spaces
- Dooring accidents
- Pedestrians or drivers making intersection crossing errors
- Distracted driving or walking
- Intoxicated driving or walking
Where Are Pedestrians Most at Risk?
It’s a good idea to recognize which areas and conditions may present the greatest risks to you next time you travel by foot. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- The majority of pedestrian accident fatalities (80 percent) occurred in urban areas rather than rural areas.
- The majority of pedestrian fatalities (73 percent) were in accidents that occurred at non-intersection areas.
- Of the 9 percent of pedestrian accident fatalities that did not happen on roadways or at intersections, most occurred in locations like roadside shoulders, parking areas, sidewalks, driveways, and shared-use paths.
- Three-quarters of all pedestrian accident fatalities happened after dark rather than during daylight hours or at dusk or dawn.
- The highest percentage (26 percent) of pedestrian fatalities occur between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
- More pedestrian fatalities tend to occur on weekends than on weekdays.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also note that the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more likely it is for the car to hit a pedestrian and cause severe injuries. This means that it’s especially important to be alert and stay safe near high-speed, high-traffic areas while walking.
What to Do If Hit by a Car While Walking
If you were the victim of a Florida pedestrian accident or were hit by a car on a crosswalk, it’s very likely that you suffered serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. There are several important steps you should take to protect your physical health as well as your legal rights. If you are too injured to complete these steps, try to ask someone else for help. The personal injury lawyers of Brooks Law Group recommend:
- Seeking immediate medical attention, either by requesting emergency assistance at the scene of the accident, visiting an emergency room, or scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as you can
- Following any treatment plans prescribed by your doctors, which will give you a much better chance at recovery and demonstrate to any concerned parties that you are taking your health seriously
- Taking photos of the accident scene, details like traffic signs or skid marks, and any visible injuries you sustained
- Contacting your insurance provider, if you have an auto insurance policy, to report the accident and determine whether you have personal injury protection or any other type of coverage that could grant you benefits
- Contacting a seasoned pedestrian accident attorney for a free consultation to find out whether you could be entitled to financial compensation
Distracted Walking vs. Distracted Driving
Distracted walking and distracted driving are both dangerous. According to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), each type of distracted traveling has its own associated risk factors.
When pedestrians engage in distracted walking, they travel on foot without paying adequate attention to objects, vehicles, or other people around them. Studies have shown that pedestrians who are distracted by visually demanding tasks like texting at intersections tend to wait longer to cross, miss more opportunities to cross safely, and cross more slowly than attentive pedestrians.
Keep in mind that just because a pedestrian is texting or otherwise distracted does not necessarily mean they are at fault in a collision. Car drivers are considerably less vulnerable than those on foot, so it’s important for them to observe the proper pedestrian right-of-way rules and avoid any distractions that could cause an accident with a pedestrian.
When drivers are distracted by texting, talking, or eating, their attention is not focused on the task of safe driving. The NCBI says that both new and experienced drivers make more dangerous driving errors when they are distracted by cell phone use behind the wheel. Studies suggest that distracted drivers are more likely to deviate from traffic lanes, exhibit slower response times, demonstrate greater variations in speed, and miss turns or exits, all of which are dangerous behaviors that place pedestrians at risk.
Can I Be Partially Liable as a Pedestrian?
In most cases, pedestrians who are behaving rationally and traveling along designated walkways or crosswalks cannot be held responsible for collisions with motor vehicles. However, if you were involved in a Florida pedestrian accident, it’s important to understand how you could be considered liable as a pedestrian should you try to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.
The driver’s insurance provider may have grounds to hold you partially or fully responsible for the collision under certain situations. For example, if you were walking while distracted or intoxicated, or if you were committing a traffic violation, such as jaywalking when your pedestrian accident occurred, the insurance company may blame you for the accident. This is especially true if you darted out into a non-intersection area or otherwise acted in a way that made it impossible for a driver to avoid colliding with you.
However, even if you were engaged in distracted walking prior to your pedestrian accident, it’s likely that the driver also shares some portion of fault for striking you. Florida law allows injured victims to recover money in personal injury claims even if they were 99 percent responsible for their own accident. So, it’s a good idea to speak to a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney to learn more about your options.
Florida Pedestrian Laws
Florida has specific traffic laws that apply to pedestrians and drivers who travel near them. Namely, pedestrians in Florida are expected to:
- Obey traffic control devices, signs, and signals.
- Walk along sidewalks whenever possible.
- Walk along road shoulders, facing oncoming traffic and staying as far away from vehicles as possible, when sidewalks are not available.
- Avoid standing in roadways designated for vehicular traffic.
- Avoid soliciting rides, employment, or business from vehicle occupants.
- Avoid leaving curbs or other places of safety too suddenly for nearby vehicles to yield or stop.
- Yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing in non-crosswalk areas.
- Crossroads at crosswalks when possible, or at right angles and via the shortest routes possible when crosswalks are unavailable.
Florida law also requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in designated crosswalks and exercise due care around any pedestrians near the road, especially children and those who are obviously incapacitated. Drivers and pedestrians who fail to obey applicable traffic laws put everyone on the road at risk and may be liable for resulting damage or personal injury.
How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian in Tampa
If you are a Tampa pedestrian, you can keep yourself safer by observing the following safety tips provided by the NHTSA:
- Follow traffic rules and obey road signs and signals.
- Keep your movements predictable to others on the road.
- Walk along sidewalks whenever you can.
- If no sidewalks are available, walk facing traffic and as far from moving vehicles as you can.
- Stay alert and avoid distractions like cell phones while you walk.
- Do your best to cross streets only at crosswalks or intersections.
- Check your surroundings in all directions for cars when crossing.
- If you need to cross a road and no crosswalk or intersection is nearby, cross in a well-lit area that gives you a good view of traffic and allows motorists to see you.
- Wait for safe gaps in traffic before you cross and continue watching for traffic the entire time you are in the road.
- Make eye contact with any drivers that approach you to ensure they see you.
- Wear brightly colored clothing or reflective materials to keep yourself visible and consider using a flashlight when walking in the dark.
- Watch out for vehicles driving into or backing out of driveways or parking spaces.
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs before or while you are walking.
Contact Our Tampa Pedestrian Accident Lawyers for More Information
If you were the victim of a Florida pedestrian accident, the pedestrian accident lawyers in Tampa at Brooks Law Group can help. We have decades of experience investigating pedestrian accident claims and a demonstrated history of providing real results to those we represent. Contact us today for your free consultation to begin discussing your case and learn what our experienced lawyers can do to help you.