A collision between a huge semi-truck and a car can have horrible enough consequences. But when a truck hits a pedestrian, the results are typically catastrophic – oftentimes, fatal. Florida is a beautiful state, one where people love to take a walk and enjoy the sunshine. If that walk turns tragic, it will be imperative for the victim, or the victim’s family, to pursue compensation.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident involving a semi-truck, please get in touch with The Eberst Law Firm, P.A. as soon as possible. We will provide you with a free consultation to let you know how we may be able to help. You can give us a call at 888-CALL-JON or use our online form.
Why Are Semi-Trucks so Dangerous?
The sheer size of a semi-truck makes it incredibly dangerous. These mammoth vehicles can easily weigh 80,000 pounds (40 tons) when fully loaded. When one of these huge trucks hits a pedestrian, that person will be incredibly lucky to survive. Unfortunately, in most cases they don’t.
Florida Pedestrian Laws and Truck Accidents
According to Florida law, a pedestrian is defined as a person who walks close to traffic, or walks on the side of a road. If you’re walking on a trail in the woods, you’re probably not going to be considered a pedestrian in most instances. But if you’re walking to the store, or just walking across the street to visit a neighbor, you are.
There is a belief out there that pedestrians will always have the right of way when they’re near traffic. However, that’s not the case at all. Pedestrians have to follow the same laws as semi-truck drivers and drivers of other vehicles. They have to yield the right of way in many different situations, and have to obey traffic signals as well.
Situations where a pedestrian has to yield the right of way include when:
- crossing a road in any other location than a crosswalk.
- pedestrian chooses not to use a pedestrian tunnel or bridge.
- sidewalk is available but the pedestrian chooses not to use it.
However, there are also instances where a pedestrian does have the right of way. These include the following:
- When walking along the shoulder of a road (they must always walk on the left shoulder in order to face traffic) in the absence of sidewalks.
- In a crosswalk when there are no traffic signals and the pedestrian has entered the left portion of a road.
If you were hurt in an accident with a semi-truck due to the driver not yielding the right of way as mandated by the law, you should contact an attorney right away in order to pursue compensation for your injury.
Severe Injuries That Occur as a Result of These Accidents
It’s amazing to even consider the possibility that someone could survive being hit by a semi-truck. But even when victims survive, they are often left with severe, debilitating injuries. Fractured arm, leg and pelvic bones are among the most common, but traumatic brain injuries can also occur – even when a person is hit by a semi-truck moving at a very low rate of speed.
How is Fault Determined in a Pedestrian Accident?
Most – but not all – pedestrian accidents involving a semi-truck are the fault of the driver. If you were safely walking down the road and you were observing the rules, you will typically not bear any responsibility. There are instances where a pedestrian will be found to be at fault – such as when they’re inebriated, not facing traffic, or walking in the middle of a road.
But even if the victim is clearly not to blame for the accident, obtaining compensation from the at-fault party can be extremely difficult. Evidence will need to be gathered to prove the negligence of the driver, and negotiations will likely have to take place with the insurance company. That’s why it’s so important for victims to get the help of a skilled, experienced attorney who has a track record of winning these kinds of cases.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians When Around Semi-Trucks
If you ever find yourself walking in an area where semi-trucks are typically found, you have to be incredibly careful. Florida is already a dangerous state – actually, the most dangerous state – for pedestrians. Being around trucks only heightens the risk. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stay safe, even if you’ll be near these behemoths. Make sure you follow these critically important tips whenever you walk.
- Always pay attention to all traffic signs and signals.
- Whenever you can, always use crosswalks. A driver will tend to pay more attention to the potential for pedestrians to be in these areas.
- Never assume that drivers – especially semi-truck drivers who sit up much higher than other motorists – will be able to see you.
- Never use drugs or drink alcohol to excess when walking.
- No matter what time of day you’re walking, but especially at night, wear bright colors, such as neon, whenever possible.
- Always try to cross a road in the best-lit area you can find if there is no intersection or crosswalk available.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Whether you’ve been injured or suffered the tragic loss of a loved one following a pedestrian accident involving a semi-truck, you will need to contact an attorney as soon as you can. The faster you do so, the better the chances you’ll be able to obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Here are some of the attributes you’ll want in the attorney you choose.
- Experience – Your attorney needs to have experience in cases like yours. They need to know how to perform an investigation and negotiate with insurers. And, if necessary, be prepared to take your case to court.
- Resources – It will also be important for the law firm you choose to be able to devote the time and attention needed to provide you with the best possible representation. These kinds of cases can often call for accident reconstruction and other experts, which can be expensive. Your firm will also need to have the financial wherewithal to be able to pay for these experts.
- Success – You should also make sure that your attorney has a history of helping clients in these types of cases obtain fair settlements from insurance companies.