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​What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Experts In This Article

Many pedestrians who survive a collision have to live with severe, potentially permanent disabilities, not to mention the emotional and financial toll of a major accident.

What makes pedestrian accidents so infuriating is that responsible drivers can prevent many of these crashes. Below you’ll find more information on the common causes of Florida pedestrian accidents, your rights if a driver hits you, and what compensation you could recover for your injuries.

Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

​What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?Pedestrian accidents are all too common, especially in crowded cities like Orlando. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports more than 9,500 pedestrian crashes occurred statewide in one recent year, leading to 835 deaths and more than 1,400 incapacitating injuries.

Pedestrian crashes occur for many reasons, but some of the most common causes include:

  • Speeding. Speeding drivers put pedestrians at risk because it is harder for these drivers to see what’s happening around them at high speeds, meaning it is more likely that a driver will not see a pedestrian stepping into a crosswalk or intersection. Furthermore, the faster a car moves, the more time and space a driver needs to slow down and stop safely. Even if a speeding driver sees a pedestrian in front of them and slams on the brakes, it might be too late to avoid a collision.
  • Impaired driving. An impaired driver is likelier to hit a pedestrian because alcohol and drugs dull drivers’ reflexes and senses. Furthermore, alcohol and drugs make drivers more prone to risky or aggressive driving behaviors that can cause a collision. Finally, impaired drivers sometimes fall asleep behind the wheel, which can put pedestrians at risk if the driver passes out in an area with a lot of foot traffic.
  • Distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize three main types of driver distractions, each of which can lead to a pedestrian accident. Visual distractions take drivers’ eyes off the road, and a driver can’t avoid a pedestrian they don’t see. Manual distractions cause drivers to take one or both hands off the wheel, making it harder for a driver to stay in control and avoid a pedestrian accident. Finally, cognitive distractions prevent drivers from focusing on the act of driving. Drivers who aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing behind the wheel are likelier to hit a nearby pedestrian.
  • Drowsy driving. Research shows driving without adequate rest is nearly as dangerous as impaired driving. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), driving after more than 20 hours without sleep is roughly equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent, the legal limit in Florida. Drowsy driving is a growing problem throughout the country, as NSC researchers also say about one in every 25 adult drivers reports falling asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days.
  • Mechanical defects. Cars are complex machines, and when critical components break or fail, there may be little that drivers can do to prevent collisions. If a car’s brakes fail as it approaches a crosswalk or intersection, a driver might hit a pedestrian even if they see the pedestrian well ahead of the crash. Similar issues can happen if a car’s tires, transmission, or other crucial parts break or fail in a crowded area.
  • Poor road conditions. Many drivers fail to adjust their speed to account for poor road conditions, which can put pedestrians at risk. For example, seeing pedestrians at night or in poorly lit areas is harder. Similarly, rain, gravel, sand, and other hazards can make a road surface slippery and increase the chances of a pedestrian accident. While drivers cannot always control road conditions, they should consider current conditions and adjust their behavior accordingly.
  • Poor intersection or road design. If government agencies don’t take care when designing intersections or placing crosswalks, they can put pedestrians at risk. For instance, placing a crosswalk far away from streetlights can make it harder for drivers to see and recognize pedestrians at night. It is difficult to sue a government agency after a pedestrian accident, but it is possible with help from a determined personal injury lawyer.
  • Drivers turning at intersections without checking for pedestrians. All drivers should check carefully before turning left or right at an intersection. Even if a driver has the right-of-way, they can cause severe injuries by hitting a pedestrian, so they must take appropriate precautions. Drivers should be conscientious when turning right at red lights, as pedestrians with the right-of-way might be trying to cross where the driver is turning.

Florida Pedestrian Laws

Florida laws outline several rules pedestrians must follow when trying to cross a street, such as:

  • Pedestrians must obey traffic signs and signals unless a police officer specifically directs them to do something else.
  • No pedestrian should walk on a street when a sidewalk is available unless circumstances require them to walk on the road.
  • If a pedestrian has no sidewalk, they should walk on the left side of the road, facing opposing traffic.
  • Drivers generally must stop for pedestrians crossing at an intersection or sidewalk and allow the pedestrian to finish crossing the street, as long as the pedestrian correctly follows traffic signals.
  • Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to passing cars when crossing a street outside an intersection or crosswalk.
  • Pedestrians should only enter the street if there is enough room for cars in the street to stop safely.
  • Pedestrians generally have the same rights and responsibilities as anyone using Florida roads.

Common Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents in Florida

Pedestrians have little protection from the impact of cars and frequently suffer severe injuries in accidents.

Common injuries from pedestrian accidents in Florida include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries. Pedestrian accidents often cause traumatic brain injuries because the impact of a car can cause the pedestrian to go flying into the air and land hard on the ground. Traumatic brain injuries are often fatal and can cause permanent brain damage.
  • Spinal cord injuries. The force from a pedestrian crash is more than enough to cause significant damage to someone’s spine. In severe cases, pedestrian accidents can cause partial or complete paralysis. Additionally, a spinal cord injury’s effects are often permanent.
  • External injuries to the head and face. Pedestrians involved in collisions frequently suffer severe injuries to the head and face. These injuries can leave permanent scars and impact critical bodily functions.
  • Neck injuries. A pedestrian hit by a car might sustain a neck injury from the initial impact or from landing hard on the ground after the vehicle hits them. These injuries are often excruciating and can cause permanent health problems, including paralysis if pedestrians break their necks in the crash.
  • Crushed or severed limbs. The human body is extremely fragile compared to a car, and the force from a collision is more than enough to crush or sever a pedestrian’s limbs. Losing a limb could cost an injured pedestrian their livelihood and prevent them from participating in everyday activities.
  • Lacerations and abrasions. Pedestrians involved in collisions frequently suffer severe cuts where the car’s frame hits them. These lacerations can cause severe bleeding and leave permanent scars. Similarly, road rash from a pedestrian accident can leave deep, painful abrasions on the skin.
  • Broken bones. Bone fractures are the most common injuries pedestrians suffer in collisions. In particular, pedestrians are likely to suffer broken legs, arms, feet, hands, wrists, ribs, and hips if a car hits them.
  • Soft-tissue injuries. Muscle tissue, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues can break or tear in a pedestrian crash. Soft-tissue injuries can cause extreme pain and permanently hamper an injured pedestrian’s movement and coordination.
  • Emotional distress. The mental and emotional effects of a pedestrian accident can be as severe as any physical injury. Heightened anxiety, nightmares, depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions are common among pedestrians involved in collisions.

Potential Compensation After a Florida Pedestrian Accident

Your compensation for a pedestrian accident depends on your injuries, financial losses, and other factors.

With help from an experienced and dedicated pedestrian accident lawyer, you could recover compensation for:

  • Any medical expenses related to the accident, including the cost of future care you need
  • Any lost earnings or other lost income due to the accident
  • Any reduction in your future earnings due to an accident-related injury or disability
  • Your physical pain and suffering
  • Your diminished quality of life due to an accident-related injury or disability
  • Your damaged personal property

While you may recover compensation for your mental and emotional anguish, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you can only recover damages if a physical injury accompanies these losses.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident in Florida

You want to protect your rights as best you can after a pedestrian to give yourself the highest chance of recovering fair compensation for your injuries.

Here are the key steps to take after a Florida pedestrian accident:

  • Call 911 to report the crash. Notify the authorities immediately after a pedestrian accident because you may need medical treatment and want help to arrive as fast as possible. Second, calling 911 will bring the police to the scene to investigate the crash. Once the police finish their investigation, you can use the accident report as evidence in a personal injury claim.
  • Document the scene. If you can, take pictures of your injuries, the damage to any vehicles involved in the collision, and the general crash area. Ask someone else to take photos if your injuries are too severe. Make sure to save your pictures in a secure place.
  • Look for eyewitnesses. Write down the names and contact information of anyone who might have seen the collision, as eyewitness accounts can be significant evidence in a personal injury case.
  • Note the locations of nearby surveillance cameras. Traffic and security cameras provide a neutral view of what happened in a collision and can be crucial evidence in a personal injury claim.
  • Seek medical treatment immediately. Emergency medical personnel may take you to a hospital from the crash scene. But if they don’t take you to a hospital, see a doctor immediately. You need to be sure you don’t have severe internal injuries, and a doctor can also document your injuries from the collision.
  • Stay off social media. We understand that you want to let your friends and family know you’re okay after a collision, but you don’t want to post about the crash on social media. Insurance companies have ways of finding anything you post, and you don’t want to give them anything to use against you.
  • Don’t give any statements to insurance companies. Avoid providing detailed accounts of the collision to insurers until you have met with an attorney. If you say the wrong thing to an insurance company, you could lose the money you need to rebuild your life.
  • Hire a pedestrian accident attorney. The faster you speak to a lawyer after a pedestrian accident, the more they can do to protect your rights and help you recover fair compensation. Your attorney can deal with the insurance companies and investigate the collision while you rest and heal.

Time Limit to File a Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill into law changing the statute of limitations for negligence-based lawsuits from four years to two. However, negligence is not always the basis for a pedestrian accident suit, so you might have more time to take legal action. You may have substantially less, however, so talk to a personal injury attorney for more information about your legal options.

Are You in Need of Legal Assistance?

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We know that accidents don’t always happen during business hours. That’s why our experienced lawyers are standing by, 24/7/365, to listen to your story, evaluate your claim, and help you decide what to do next. Call us now and we’ll see if we can pursue compensation for your injuries!

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