Pedestrian accidents occur far too often in Florida. In fact, Florida is the most dangerous place in the entire country to walk. Not only do pedestrian accidents lead to life-changing, catastrophic injuries. They’re also fatal in many instances.
While people typically assume that the driver is to blame when a vehicle hits a pedestrian, there are times where the person walking can share some of the responsibility for the accident. The following is a list of five dangerous mistakes that both drivers and pedestrians often make.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident that occurred due to the driver’s negligence, the attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm will fight to help you obtain compensation. Schedule a free case review as soon as possible by contacting us online or calling 1-888-CALL-JON.
1. Ignoring Right of Way
There are times where a pedestrian will have the right of way when crossing a street. However, drivers will also have the right of way in other instances. For example, a person trying to cross at an intersection will NOT have the right of way if the “don’t walk” light is flashing. Drivers in this situation won’t have enough time to stop for a pedestrian, making an accident almost inevitable.
Drivers, on the other hand, are often impatient – even reckless. They’re so engrossed in their own thoughts, or they want to get to their destination so badly, that they simply ignore the fact that a pedestrian has the right of way. They must, for example, always make a complete stop at a crosswalk when a pedestrian is present and the “walk” light is flashing.
2. Texting While Driving
Even though motorists know full well just how dangerous texting and driving can be, they continue to do just that. Predictably, the results can be horrible. Texting while driving causes a lot of different types of collisions, and pedestrian accidents are no exception.
But there are a lot of potentially dangerous distractions that can lead to a motorist hitting a pedestrian. They may, for example, try to eat or drink while behind the wheel, or they might take their eyes off of the road to change a radio station or look at their GPS. It doesn’t take very long for a loss of focus to have severe consequences.
3. Ignoring Walk Signals or Signage
Although many of the causes of pedestrian accidents involve some sort of negligence on the part of the driver, pedestrians also contribute to their fair share of these unfortunate occurrences as well.
Maybe the most common reason pedestrians cause accidents is that they fail to use designated crosswalks. When they dart out in front of traffic, drivers can’t react quickly enough. Pedestrians will also ignore sidewalks at times, even though the whole reason they exist is to keep walkers safe. Of course, there are times where no sidewalk is available. When this happens, pedestrians must walk facing oncoming traffic, on the shoulder of the road.
4. Pedestrians Using Headphones
While there really isn’t a category of negligence known as “distracted walking,” you could argue there should be. Pedestrians can be so wrapped up listening to their favorite music or podcast on their headphones, they’re completely oblivious to their surroundings. If this happens and they’re struck by a car, it’s going to be very difficult for them to obtain all of the money they need for their medical treatment, lost wages and other damages.
Unbelievably, people will sometimes listen to headphones or be immersed in a phone or text conversation when they’re trying to navigate a busy parking lot. While motorists are usually to blame for parking lot pedestrian accidents, when a pedestrian doesn’t pay attention to their surroundings, they could also be assigned at least partial responsibility.
5. Walking at Night Without Bright Clothing
This is probably one of the main factors that can lead to nighttime accidents involving pedestrians. A major rule of thumb when walking at night is to assume that no vehicle drivers can see you. Pedestrians always need to be ready to take evasive action just in case something happens.
But they also have a duty to try and reduce the risk of something like this taking place. One of the best things they can do is to wear brightly colored clothing whenever they know they’re going to be walking after dark. Drivers typically don’t expect to see pedestrians at night in the first place. When someone is on foot and wearing dark clothing, that just makes the situation even more dangerous.
Who is Liable in a Pedestrian Accident?
The answer to that question really depends on the facts of the case. Again, drivers are usually more likely to be blamed for a pedestrian accident. But if a walker is partially to blame, that will have a significant effect on their ability to obtain compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Florida law follows the principle of comparative negligence. This means that both parties could be found at least partially at fault when an accident occurs. Suppose your damages come out to be $100,000 after you were hit by a car at night. The driver who hit you ran a stop sign, but you were wearing headphones, as well as dark clothing.
Taking all of the factors that contributed to the accident into consideration, the jury rules that the driver was 60% to blame, but you were 40% at fault. That 40% ($40,000) will be deducted from the $100,000 in damages. Instead of $100,000, you’ll receive $60,000 instead.
Contact Eberst Law Firm ASAP After a Pedestrian Accident
The pedestrian accident attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm are standing by to tell you how we may be of assistance if you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident that wasn’t your fault. We can launch an investigation to see why the accident happened. And we will work to uncover the evidence needed to provide you with the strongest possible case.