Thousands of pedestrians are killed every year in the United States at the hands of a negligent driver. These types of accidents usually happen unexpectedly, and the aftermath can be catastrophic. When pedestrians are hit, there is no protective barrier that stands between them and the motor vehicles who crash into them. In places with warm climates like Florida, people typically dress in typical summer attire, so not even a coat or jacket could shield them from injury.
Pedestrian accident litigation can be tricky. Victims usually suffer from acute injuries, and thus, the cost of their present and future medical care can sky rocket quickly. Seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident is a necessary step in healing and recovering from the various losses that victims incur. On the same token, determining fault in this type of personal injury claim can be complicated. Drivers and their attorneys will try to avoid liability by saying that a pedestrian crossed against traffic or did not obey a crosswalk sign. This is why it is so important for injured pedestrians to consult with an accident attorney to ensure that you are not shortchanged in receiving the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes and Injuries Involved in Pedestrian Accidents
There are many factors that can cause a pedestrian accident to occur. Drivers often fail to notice pedestrians, especially when driving at night. There are also times when drivers do not realize that they have to yield when a crosswalk indicates to pedestrians that it is safe to walk. Below is a list of common causes of pedestrian accidents:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign
- Failure to yield
- Disregarding inclement weather conditions
- Illegal substances
- Prescription medication
- Driving at night
The injuries that pedestrians can incur from a collision with a motor vehicle are often life-threatening. In the event of a collision, motor vehicles are basically a two-ton weapon. Even if a car is traveling at a slow rate of speed, the lack of protection and relatively fragile physical makeup of the human body makes for disastrous outcomes. Some common injuries suffered due to pedestrian accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Torn and sprained ligaments
- Cuts and lacerations
- Head trauma
- Dental damage
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Brain injury
Proving Driver Liability in a Pedestrian Accident
As stated before, it is difficult for courts to ascertain who is at fault when a pedestrian accident occurs. Most of the time, victims pursue personal injury suits against drivers on a theory of negligence. There are three essential elements that a plaintiff must prove in order to recover damages in a personal injury cause of action. These elements are:
- The driver had a legal duty to follow the rules of the road;
- The driver breached this duty; and
- As a result of the breach, the pedestrian suffered damages
Florida follows the Pure Comparative Fault Doctrine that states even if a plaintiff is partially at fault in contributing to the accident, he or she can still recover damages reduced. The amount of damages that a plaintiff recovers will be reduced by the portion of fault apportioned to him or her. For example, a court finds that a plaintiff can recover $100,000 in damages for injuries suffered in a pedestrian accident. The court also finds that the plaintiff was 30% at fault for the accident. Thus, the damages will be reduced by $30,000 and the plaintiff can collect $70,000 in damages.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
In a personal injury cause of action, plaintiffs can recover two types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages include:
- Present and future lost earnings
- Present and future medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Household services
- Wrongful death damages
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress.
Punitive damages are awarded less frequently than compensatory damages. A court will award punitive damages in cases where a defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious or outrageous. The purpose behind punitive damages is to “throw the book” at the defendant so as to deter people from committing similar acts in the future. Florida has a cap on the amount of punitive damages that a plaintiff can collect in a personal injury lawsuit. A plaintiff can collect three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Miami Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
It is a stressful and frustrating time when you are injured, out of work, and trying to support yourself and your family. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA can help you get back on your feet again. If you or someone you love have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact a Miami personal injury attorney right away. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA provide high quality legal services in the greater Miami and South Florida areas. Call (305) 694-2676 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer who will fight tirelessly for your legal rights.