According to the Department of Transportation, as many as 4,280 pedestrians lost their lives and a further 70,000 were injured in traffic accidents in a single year, which breaks down to a pedestrian fatality every two hours and an injury every eight minutes. Although collisions between motorists and pedestrians can occur just about anywhere, Florida’s metro areas are notorious for their high rate of pedestrian fatalities, so if you were injured in a pedestrian-motorist collision in Florida, please contact one of our dedicated pedestrian accident attorneys for a free case evaluation and an explanation of your legal options.
Why are Pedestrian Accidents so Common?
Recognizing the high rate of pedestrian accidents across the state, the Florida Legislature has taken steps to help reduce these numbers. Unfortunately, passing additional traffic laws has done little to prevent these types of accidents, which is largely attributed to the fact that there are simply more people who travel on foot in Florida than in other states. The following causes, along with a lack of designated pedestrian walkways and high speed limits are also thought to contribute to this alarming trend:
- Distracted driving;
- Improperly designed intersections;
- Malfunctioning traffic lights; and
- Driver or pedestrian intoxication.
Whether a motorist or a pedestrian was at fault in an accident, it is the pedestrian who is almost always hurt more seriously than the driver, as they do not have the benefit of seat belts and airbags, but must instead absorb the entire impact with little to no protection. Certain types of injuries are especially common amongst those who are struck by motorists, including:
- Head trauma;
- Nerve damage;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Broken, fractured, or crushed bones;
- Amputations; and
- Emotional trauma.
The latter is especially common in these types of cases, and can continue to afflict those who were injured in collisions with motorists long after their physical injuries have healed. In severe cases, injured parties may even be required to attend therapy and take prescription medications, which can take a heavy financial toll over time. Fortunately, these costs, as well as those related to treating a person’s physical injuries are all compensable if the injured party can demonstrate that a motorist was the cause of his or her accident. In fact, injured pedestrians could also be eligible to recover compensation for lost wages, loss of future income, and pain and suffering.
Preventing Motorist-Pedestrian Collisions
Collisions between pedestrians and motorists will never be fully eradicated. However, there are steps that both motorists and pedestrians can take to help prevent them, including:
- Using care when driving in parking lots, as collisions that occur at a slow speed can still cause serious injuries;
- Refraining from using the phone when walking;
- Crossing only in designated areas;
- Wearing bright or reflective clothes when walking at night;
- Staying on sidewalks and pedestrian paths whenever possible;
- Refraining from drinking and driving; and
- Abiding by all traffic rules.
Unfortunately, not all drivers follow basic safety rules and not all pedestrians use the utmost care when crossing at intersections and crosswalks, which results in thousands of collisions between pedestrians and motorists every year.
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