Last Update: 01/05/16
It’s usually nice weather here in South Florida and most of us like to get out and enjoy the sunshine and ocean breezes as much as we can. Drive through Miami Beach, Hallandale, Fort Lauderdale, or most of Broward or Dade County and you will find streets filled with people enjoying the outdoors. It’s something that South Florida drivers are accustomed to seeing here.
Sadly, our sunny weather creates an environment that increases the likelihood of pedestrian accidents; especially those pedestrian accidents where someone is working or playing in the street or on the side of the road and they are hit and injured by a car. These accidents can happen in all sorts of ways and they often result in serious injuries.
Examples of Pedestrians Accidents That Happen on the Street or the Side of the Road
Common scenarios of pedestrian accidents occurring on the side of the road include:
- Someone working on their car’s engine after it’s stalled out while driving;
- Someone changing a tire on their vehicle on the side of a road or highway;
- Kids playing in the road — games like football, soccer, or even tag;
- Adults jogging or walking in the street;
- Someone waiting for roadside assistance near to their disabled car, truck, or SUV; and
- Kids skating or skateboarding on the street.
Who is to Blame For These Pedestrian Accidents?
When someone is hurt in a car accident where they were hit on the side of the road or in the street by a motor vehicle, the driver and his or her insurance carrier will be quick to place blame on the pedestrian. “They should never have been in the roadway, it’s all their fault!”
However, an experienced personal injury attorney will quickly counter that position by arguing that the pedestrian was not the “proximate cause” of the accident and therefore not a fault. (Your lawyer should try to prove that the driver’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident. If your lawyer is successful in doing so, then it is likely that the judge, or jury, will hold the driver liable, at least in part, for the accident victim’s damages.)
The legal reality is that Florida pedestrians can, and often do, recover damages for the injuries they have sustained (which can include lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses and other economic and non-economic damages) in an on-the-roadway pedestrian accident.
How Does The Victim Show The Driver Was At Fault?
In most cases, (like, for example, where a child is hit while skating in a residential area, or a teenager is struck while he or she is simply skateboarding down the street toward their home, or where an adult is out jogging or cycling and is hit by a distracted driver or a driver who isn’t honoring a designated bike lane) the injury victim will have their lawyer seek out evidence (witness testimony or phone/text records) that the driver failed in his or her legal duty to the victim by doing things like:
- Driving while drunk;
- Driving while intoxicated on drugs or pot;
- Driving while texting or talking on their phone;
- Driving over the speed limit; or
- Failing to slow down in an area known to have kids playing (near a school, a playground, a sports complex).
Distracted driving, for instance, is at epidemic proportions in this country today. So much so, that this month (April 2015) has been designated by the National Safety Council, the CDC, and others as “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”
Moreover, the CDC reports that alcohol was a factor in almost HALF (48%) of the pedestrian accidents where the pedestrian tragically died in the crash. Speeding also contributes to pedestrian accidents according to the CDC; and most people who die in pedestrian accidents are hit in urban areas, on street or road locations that are not at an intersection.
Who Else Shares The Blame in Pedestrian Hit in The Road Accidents?
In these accident cases, there may be more than one person who has legal responsibility for the pedestrian’s damages. The victim’s lawyer may find that not only was the driver at fault, but that the school may be at fault if they failed to protect the kids and keep them out of the street; the car maker or service mechanic may have contributed to the car’s brakes failing; or the bar or restaurant where the driver had been drinking knowingly let the driver drive away in violation of Florida dram shop laws.
Bottom line, Florida pedestrians who are hit by a car while in the road or in the street can recover damages for their injuries.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer in these situations, however, is extremely important because the person who was hit will almost always have the finger pointed at them as the reason why they were injured — and sadly, many people assume this to be the legal reality and do not seek legal counsel to help them fight back.
What Should You Do Now?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed by a pedestrian accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.