Being injured in a pedestrian accident can change your life in an instant. When a car strikes a pedestrian, the impact can cause severe injuries that have long-lasting physical, financial, and professional consequences. If you have been in a pedestrian accident in Florida, this overview of the most common injuries and their potential consequences will help you understand your legal options.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
One of the most severe injuries that can result from a pedestrian accident is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the head can suffer a violent blow, causing the brain to move around inside the skull. TBIs can cause significant physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.
The physical consequences of a traumatic brain injury can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury. Some victims may experience temporary or permanent paralysis, while others may suffer from loss of motor skills or coordination. TBIs can also cause seizures, loss of vision or hearing, and chronic pain.
A pedestrian with a TBI may require extensive medical treatment, including hospitalization, surgeries, and rehabilitation. In severe cases, victims may need long-term care, which can be incredibly costly. Those who cannot return to their previous jobs may need to seek alternative employment or retrain for a new career. Others may be entirely unable to work or earn a living due to their injuries, which can lead to financial hardship.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are another severe result of pedestrian accidents. Spinal cord damage can cause paralysis or loss of sensation below the injury site, leading to significant physical and emotional challenges for the victim.
They may also experience:
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Chronic pain
- Respiratory problems
- Muscle spasms
Spinal cord injuries often require extensive medical treatment, including surgeries, rehabilitation, and assistive devices. In severe cases, victims may need lifelong care. They may also need to modify their homes and cars to accommodate their disabilities.
Additionally, the victim may be unable to work or earn a living due to their injuries. If they can continue in their current line of work, their employer might need to change the workplace layout to ensure that it is accessible. Because these accommodations are not always feasible, the injured individual may need to seek a different job, which can be challenging while simultaneously coming to terms with a new disability.
Pedestrian accidents often lead to broken bones, ranging from minor fractures to severe breaks. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, pedestrians with broken bones may experience pain, swelling, and limited mobility. In serious cases, broken bones may require surgery and extended rehabilitation.
These intensive medical interventions can be incredibly costly. Furthermore, if the injured person’s job requires physical labor or extensive mobility, they may be unable to work during their recovery period, compounding their financial difficulties.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are common in pedestrian accidents. They can include sprains, strains, and bruises. These injuries can cause significant pain and discomfort and often require medical treatment to alleviate the symptoms. In more acute cases, soft tissue injuries may require surgical intervention and physical therapy. These injuries may also force the injured individual to miss work for several days or weeks.
Pedestrian accidents can also cause emotional trauma for the victim.
The terrifying experience can lead to long-term emotional challenges, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Those suffering emotional trauma due to pedestrian accident injuries may require therapy and counseling. Additionally, acute psychological challenges can affect their ability to perform their job or even cause them to miss work, leading to professional difficulties and lost income.
What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Some common causes of pedestrian accidents that are typically the fault of the driver include:
Distracted driving is a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. Distractions such as phones, food, or other vehicle occupants can easily cause a driver to miss seeing a pedestrian crossing the street, leading to a collision.
Speeding is another common cause of pedestrian accidents. Motorists driving too fast may not have enough time to react to a pedestrian in the roadway, increasing the likelihood of a collision.
Failure to Yield
Drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians who have the right of way are a significant cause of pedestrian accidents.
This infraction can include:
- Failing to stop at a crosswalk
- Not giving pedestrians enough time to cross the street
- Ignoring traffic signals and signs
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense that can lead to severe pedestrian accidents. Intoxicated drivers may have slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and reduced vision, all of which can lead to a collision with a pedestrian.
Poor visibility can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, particularly at night or in inclement weather. Inadequate lighting, rain, fog, and other environmental factors can contribute to poor visibility and increase the likelihood of a pedestrian accident. Drivers who do not exercise caution in situations of poor visibility are often liable for injuries in resulting accidents.
Inexperienced drivers, such as those who have recently obtained their license, may lack the skills and experience necessary to safely navigate the roadways, leading to accidents involving pedestrians.
What Should I Do if I Have Suffered Injuries in a Pedestrian Accident?
In Florida, pedestrians who have suffered injuries in an accident because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness may seek compensation. Taking the following steps can help ensure that you have the strongest possible chance of recovering the compensation you deserve:
Seek Medical Treatment
The first and most crucial step after a pedestrian accident is to seek medical treatment. Even if you do not believe you have suffered serious harm, it is essential to visit a medical professional to identify any injuries that might not be immediately apparent. Prompt medical treatment can help ensure you have early documentation of your injuries, which can be crucial in your personal injury claim.
Document the Accident
After receiving medical treatment, it is essential to document the accident. This documentation can include taking photographs of the accident scene, gathering witness contact information, and obtaining a copy of the police report. This documentation can help establish the cause of the accident and the extent of your accident-related losses.
Notify Insurance Companies
It is essential to notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. The insurance company will typically assign an adjuster to investigate the accident and determine the value of your claim. You should also notify your own insurance company, particularly if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Work With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get through the claims process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Your attorney can:
- Investigate the accident
- Gather evidence
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- File a lawsuit if necessary
Negotiate a Settlement
Once you have all the necessary evidence, your attorney can begin negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. The insurance adjuster may offer an initial amount that is insufficient to cover your losses. Your lawyer will work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
File a Lawsuit
If negotiations with the insurance company are unsuccessful, your attorney may file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. A courtroom trial can be a lengthy and complex process involving depositions, witness testimony, and a trial. However, a successful lawsuit can result in significant compensation for your injuries and losses.
How Do I Prove the Driver Was at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
You must prove fault in a pedestrian accident to recover compensations. Even if you partially blame yourself for the collision, you may still recover compensation. You qualify to file a claim as long as the driver bore more than 50 percent or more of the fault for the accident.
Here are some steps that can help you prove that the driver was at fault for the accident:
Gathering evidence at the accident scene is essential to proving fault.
This process may include:
- Taking photos of the accident scene and any injuries you have sustained
- Obtaining contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident
- Making a note of any relevant details, such as the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
- Keeping a journal to record the progression of your injuries and their treatments, as well as how the accident has affected your daily life and psychological health
Obtain Police Report
Contacting the police immediately after the accident is essential, as they can document the accident and create an official police report. The police report can provide valuable support for your case, including notes about witness statements and any citations the at-fault driver received.
Review Surveillance Footage
If there were any surveillance cameras in the area, obtaining the footage could provide a clear picture of how the accident occurred. Many businesses and residences have security cameras, and reviewing this footage can help prove the driver’s negligence.
Consult With an Experienced Kern County Personal Injury Attorney
Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to proving fault in a pedestrian accident. An attorney can review the evidence, assess the strength of your case, and help you navigate the legal process. They can also help you negotiate with insurance companies or file a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.
What Compensation Is Available for Pedestrian Accidents in Florida?
Your pedestrian accident injuries may qualify you for various types of compensation, depending on the nature and severity of the injuries. Here are some of the compensation types available:
You may recover compensation for your medical expenses, including:
- Hospital bills
- Doctor’s fees
- Rehabilitation costs
- Prescription medication costs
These expenses can quickly add up, particularly if you have sustained catastrophic injuries.
You may also recover compensation for lost earnings or income.
This compensation can include lost income from:
- Work you missed because your injury prevented you from performing your job
- Hours or days you missed due to injury-related doctor’s appointments
- Loss of future earning potential if you cannot return to the workforce or must work in a reduced capacity due to your injuries
Pain and Suffering
Pedestrian accident victims may also recover compensation for their pain and suffering, including:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Pain and suffering damages are generally not measurable in dollars and are thus subject to negotiation between the parties. You can only recover compensation for emotional trauma if you have also suffered physical injuries.
If the accident damaged any personal property, such as clothing, cell phone, or other belongings, you might recover compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing the property.
Wrongful Death Compensation
If a pedestrian lost their life in the accident, their surviving family members might file a lawsuit to recover compensation for their wrongful death damages, such as:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Lost income for dependents
Remember that the compensation available will vary depending on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of your injuries. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses.
Pedestrian Accident Cases Are More Successful With an Attorney on Your Side
Pedestrian accidents can cause severe injuries that can have long-lasting physical, financial, and professional consequences for the victim. Yet you should not shoulder the financial burden of these life-altering repercussions if another party was at fault.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you need legal representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer to hold the at-fault driver accountable so you can receive the compensation you deserve.