Florida law does a pretty comprehensive job of covering pedestrian law. Like drivers, pedestrians have their responsibilities as well. If either a motorist or a pedestrian is careless, the outcome could be catastrophic. Even something as simple as walking through a parking lot could have horrible consequences if the pedestrian or the driver don’t pay attention to their surroundings.
Most of the time, though, when a car hits a pedestrian, the fault lies with the motorist. At The Eberst Law Firm, we’ve seen far too many instances where a driver’s negligence caused severe, long-term injuries to someone who was doing nothing more than taking an enjoyable walk on a beautiful Florida day.
If this has happened to you or a loved one, please contact us online or call 888-CALL-JON as soon as you can for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions, and let you know how we may be able to help.
Here’s a look at Florida pedestrian law, outlining not only drivers’ responsibilities, but the responsibilities of pedestrians as well.
1. Drivers Are Required to Stop for Pedestrians at Crosswalks
The law requires motorists to come to a complete stop at all crosswalks when a “walk” signal is lit and pedestrians are present. When a pedestrian is present, drivers cannot get close enough to present a potential risk.
Unfortunately, many drivers fail to do just that. Florida is notorious as being the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians.
But drivers are the only ones to blame. Pedestrians will, unbelievably, sometimes run into traffic – in clear violation of the law. Also, in cases where an overhead crosswalk is available, pedestrians have to use that crosswalk. They won’t have the right of way if one exists.
2. The Flashing “Don’t Walk” Signal Doesn’t Mean You Can’t be in the Crosswalk
You might have been in a situation where you were in the middle of a crosswalk and you started panicking because the “don’t walk” signal started flashing. If you’re already there, you don’t need to try to race back where you came from. As a matter of fact, the chances of you being hit might just increase if you do.
The light is designed to give you enough time to go ahead and cross at your normal pace. That is, of course, as long as there aren’t any cars turning into the path. Drivers must always yield to pedestrians in a clearly defined crosswalk – even if the “don’t walk” sign is flashing.
3. Pedestrians Do Not Always Have the Right of Way
If, on the other hand, that light is steady, then you DON’T have the right of way. The same goes for a red light. You can’t just enter a crosswalk whenever you feel like doing so. Drivers must have enough distance, as well as time, to be able to react and come to a stop.
4. Pedestrians Are Required to Use Sidewalks
While this should be common sense, there are far too many instances where pedestrians will choose not to walk on a sidewalk and suffer terrible injuries as a result. Sidewalks are there for a reason – to keep pedestrians at a safe distance from cars and other vehicles at all times. That’s why the law states that pedestrians must use them.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. There are certain instances where a sidewalk could be blocked, due to a medical emergency vehicle. Construction may make portions of a sidewalk unusable. In situations like these, pedestrians are allowed to walk as close to the side of the road as they can.
5. Requirement of Due Caution and Due Care Toward Pedestrians
This just means that vehicle drivers have to basically do everything they can to avoid hitting a pedestrian. The law also states that drivers have to be especially careful when children or those with physical challenges are trying to cross a street.
Why is Florida So Unsafe for Pedestrians?
As stated earlier, Florida consistently ranks as the most dangerous place in the United States for pedestrians. Why is this the case? There are a lot of reasons, actually. Many municipal governments simply do a bad job of providing for safe pedestrian access. You won’t find any shortage of roads that can accommodate plenty of traffic. More thought is given to motorists (and, to some extent, even bicyclists) than pedestrians.
Other reasons include weather, crossing when no crosswalk is present, and distractions among both pedestrians and drivers. A pedestrian might be crossing the street and completely oblivious to oncoming traffic because they’re either listening to music through their headphones or looking at their smartphones. Drivers can also be distracted by smartphone use, as well as using one of the many technological gadgets that are standard in most of today’s vehicles.
Hire An Attorney if You’re Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
If you’ve followed the rules and a car still hits you, it will be extremely important that you get in touch with an attorney as quickly as you possibly can. The faster you hire legal representation, the better the chances that you’ll be able to obtain the compensation you deserve for the injuries you’ve suffered.
The biggest reason that fast action is needed is that you’ll need evidence in order to prove the driver was at fault. That requires evidence – the kind that a skilled attorney can uncover. An accident scene can change quickly, due to weather conditions and other circumstances. Getting legal help as soon as possible could make all the difference in your case.
The Eberst Law Firm has a team of skilled attorneys who have a great deal of experience representing pedestrians struck by negligent motorists. Our team also has an extensive track record of success. We will do everything we possibly can to help you get every penny you deserve for the suffering you’ve been forced to endure.