Florida is a notorious hotspot for pedestrian accidents. The state saw 9,685 pedestrian crashes in a recent year alone, resulting in 716 deaths. Thousands more were injured — and the numbers are on the rise, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
People who are hurt in Winter Haven pedestrian collisions deserve compensation for their losses. This can come from filing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver’s no-fault insurance policy. But insurance companies don’t always make fair settlement offers. A compassionate and skilled Winter Haven pedestrian accident lawyer can fight for maximum compensation for you.
Contact Brooks Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.
What Causes Pedestrian Accident in Winter Haven?
Most pedestrian accidents are caused by a driver’s negligence or recklessness. This careless behavior can take several forms:
- Distracted driving: When motorists are talking on the phone, eating, or fiddling with the radio, their eyes and attention are no longer on the road. It only takes a few seconds of distraction for a driver to miss seeing someone on foot.
- Speeding: Driving too fast also makes it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. It also gives them less time to stop to avoid a collision. The force of impact from a hit by a speeding car can cause catastrophic and fatal injuries.
- Driving under the influence: Motorists who drive while intoxicated have reduced reaction times, poor judgment, and impaired coordination. All of these factors can lead to a pedestrian accident.
- Failure to yield or stop: Pedestrians have the right of way in Florida intersections. Drivers that roll through stop signs or move through crosswalks when a pedestrian is trying to cross can cause an accident.
- Poor weather conditions: Certain weather conditions in Winter Haven, including rain, fog, and high winds, can make it more difficult for motorists to see pedestrians. Regardless, they are expected to know how to drive in these conditions so that everyone is safe.
- Left turns: Drivers who are focused on turning at an intersection may begin to move forward before ensuring that the crosswalk is clear, striking an unsuspecting pedestrian.
- Reversing accidents: Some of the most tragic pedestrian accidents happen in people’s driveways when they back up and fail to see people behind them. These “backover” crashes are also common in crowded parking lots.
While driver negligence accounts for many pedestrian accidents, that’s not always the case. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation into the crash to determine whether other parties, such as a product manufacturer or municipality, can be held liable. In some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be possible.
Visit Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Office in Winter Haven, FL
Where are Pedestrians Most at Risk?
Most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas because the roads are heavily congested with vehicle and foot traffic. But regardless of whether an area is urban or rural, pedestrians are most at risk when they are in crosswalks at intersections. Pedestrian accidents can also happen non-intersections, when a pedestrian steps into traffic unexpectedly.
Pedestrian collisions are also common when people walk along the roadsides or on shoulders, as well as at night.
What to Do if Hit by a Car While Walking in Winter Haven
In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, you may feel shocked and uncertain about what to do. The actions you take now can greatly affect any future claim you file. Immediately after any pedestrian accident, you should:
- Get medical help: Pedestrians sustain some of the most severe injuries after being struck by a car. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Seeing a doctor after a crash shows the insurance company that you took your injuries seriously and creates a direct link between the collision and your injuries.
- Document your injuries: Seeking medical help will ensure the documentation of your injuries. Taking pictures of all injuries can help prove the severity of them.
- Call the police: If you do not need emergency medical treatment, remain at the accident scene and call the police. Filing a police report will create an official record of the accident. In addition, the responding officer may include in their report who was at fault for the crash. If you must leave to get medical care, report the accident to the police as soon as possible. Do not speculate who was at fault or claim that you don’t have any injuries: Some injuries don’t appear for days.
- Call a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer: Pedestrian accidents can quickly become complicated, particularly when the insurance company or negligent driver denies liability. An attorney will ensure your rights and push for the full amount of compensation possible.
- Report the accident to the insurance company: When you hire Brooks Law Group, we can handle all communications with the insurance company for you. Your only job will be to focus on recovering from your injuries.
Distracted Walking vs. Distracted Driving
Drivers are not the only ones who get distracted on the roads. Pedestrians are often distracted by their phones, which can cause them to walk out into traffic unintentionally.
A survey by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) found that 78 percent of Americans believe distracted walking is a serious problem. However, three-quarters of the respondents thought the problem was mainly done by others, not themselves. Only 29 percent of people said that they personally had walked while distracted.
In addition, nearly 4 out of 10 Americans have witnessed a distracted driving incident, with 26 percent involved in an incident themselves, according to AAOS.
Distracted walking has become such a problem that some cities have even installed sidewalk traffic lights, so walkers can see the signals while looking down.
Could I Be Partly At Fault as a Pedestrian?
Contrary to what many people believe, the pedestrian does not always have the right of way. Pedestrians are expected to follow Florida’s laws for safe walking. When they break the rules, they can also be found liable for a crash.
For example, if a pedestrian darts between cars and runs into traffic without using a proper crosswalk, he/she may be found partly liable if a crash occurs.
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that you could still obtain compensation even if you are partly to blame for a pedestrian accident. Fault will be assigned to each party as a percentage. Your ultimate compensation will be reduced by your proportion of fault.
It’s critical to work with a pedestrian accident lawyer if there is a question regarding fault in your case. Insurance companies will try to push the blame onto you to reduce their final payout. An attorney will present evidence to ensure that you are not assigned an unfair portion of fault.
Florida Pedestrian Laws
Just like drivers, pedestrians must follow certain laws when out on the road. According to Florida Statute 316.130, pedestrians must:
Obey traffic signals and signs: Pedestrians must follow all traffic signals, including signals indicating when they can proceed through a crosswalk. If already in a crosswalk and the “Do Not Walk” sign starts flashing, pedestrians must try to quickly but carefully move through the crosswalk.
- Use sidewalks properly: As a pedestrian, use sidewalks when they are available and must never walk on the road. In the event that there is not a sidewalk, pedestrians must walk on the shoulder of the road and face oncoming traffic.
- Avoid standing on roadways: Pedestrians should never stand on the portion of a road meant for motor vehicles. Individuals on foot are also prohibited from moving into traffic when it is impossible for a driver to yield right of way.
- Use crosswalks: Pedestrians should only cross the street at crosswalks, if possible. When a crosswalk is not available, pedestrians can cross the street in a different area, but they must yield to traffic. Drivers need to yield right of way to any pedestrian within a crosswalk.
Complying with these laws can help keep you safe as a pedestrian in Florida. But if you are hurt, getting the help of a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney is essential so that you can receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.
How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian in Winter Haven
With its gorgeous weather and scenery, Winter Haven is a great place for walking. However, pedestrians should always keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Wear reflective clothing and other accessories that will make you more visible to drivers.
- Always use crosswalks when available.
- Look both ways before crossing any street.
- Keep an eye on the road and watch for curbs, slippery surfaces, and cracks in the pavement.
- Avoid distracted walking.
- Be cautious not only on the streets, but also in parking lots, parking garages, and in driveways.
Don’t Wait – Contact Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyers in Winter Haven Today
You don’t have to fight for fair compensation alone. Get a pedestrian accident lawyer in Winter Haven, FL from Brooks Law Group on your side. We will determine who was liable for your crash and demand maximum compensation for your losses.
Are you ready to start? Call us today for a free case review.