Lakewood Ranch Pedestrian Accident Attorney
According to CBS Miami, Florida is the worst state for pedestrians. As a whole country, the United States sees approximately one pedestrian death every 13 minutes. When a vehicle hits a pedestrian the impact is violent and the subsequent injuries are often life-altering. All of a sudden the victim goes from being a hard-working employee and supportive family member to needing to put forth all of their energy into recovering from injuries and the emotional strain of being hit. A knowledgeable Lakewood Ranch pedestrian accident attorney is able to ease some of the stress after a victim is involved in a crash by taking on the legal case and advocating for the victim’s best interests.
At least 149 bicyclists and 720 pedestrians were killed on Florida roads in 2018. In addition to those deaths, many more vulnerable road users were seriously injured during that same time frame. While alive, a pedestrian or cyclist who is injured in traffic will face hospital bills, surgeries, pain, possible disability, and more. At Hale Law, we work tirelessly to ensure that the clients we represent receive the best compensation possible so that they can seek appropriate treatment and return to a good quality of life.
Why is Being a Pedestrian so Dangerous?
Pedestrians are vulnerable road users. Without the protection of an enclosed vehicle or even a helmet, pedestrians who are hit by a vehicle often face life-threatening injuries. The dangers are only enhanced by the trend towards large SUVs and trucks which weigh more and have a higher front-end. Street design also plays a role in pedestrian safety. If a street has sidewalks, is well-lit, and has a lower speed limit a pedestrian is less likely to be hit in the first place. According to Florida’s Department of Transportation, another consideration for why Florida’s pedestrian fatality rate is so high is because of the combination of the warm climate and the seasonal daylight changes. Summer nights are more dangerous in the southern states because the daylight hours are not as long and winter nights in Florida remain warm enough for pedestrians to continue walking despite poor lighting conditions. While these are all explanations for the high incident rate, ultimately it is drivers who fail to pay attention to their surroundings that most often cause pedestrian crashes. These drivers must be held accountable with a personal injury claim.
Proving Fault in A Pedestrian Crash
Since pedestrians are often seriously injured when a vehicle hits them, they may not even be conscious or capable of providing a witness statement at the crash scene and may instead be transported to the nearest emergency room by ambulance. Sometimes drivers will flee the scene to avoid punishment. Other times they will lie about the sequence of events that led to the crash to avoid blame. Luckily, even under these circumstances, there is other evidence a skilled personal injury attorney can use to prove the driver is liable for the pedestrian’s injuries such as:
- Crash scene photos;
- Police report;
- Eyewitness statements;
- Traffic cameras;
- Damage caused to the vehicle or surrounding area;
- Surveillance cameras; and
Florida’s Infrastructure is Not Safe For Cyclists and Pedestrians
Florida is making an effort to improve the infrastructure available to cyclists and pedestrians through the Department of Transportation’s campaign called Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow. Manatee County was also listed as a priority county for the state in 2018-2019. However, there are a lot of areas to improve the infrastructure before it can be safe for vulnerable road users such as:
- Flashing crosswalks;
- Bike lanes;
- Streets with shoulders;
- Lower speed limits; and
- Improving street lighting at night.
Ways Bicycles Crashes Occur
Cyclists are required, like vehicles, to follow the rules of the road. Meanwhile, drivers are expected to maneuver safely around cyclists. This includes providing cyclists with at least three feet of space while passing. Common reasons for bike crashes in Florida include but are not limited to:
- A driver fails to yield to a cyclist who has the right-of-way;
- A cyclist is “doored”, which is when a parked car door opens into their path;
- A defective bicycle part causes the bike to crash;
- Poorly maintained roads with potholes and cracks cause a rider to crash; and
- A bike shop was negligent in repairing a bicycle and it was unsafe to ride.
Common Ways Florida Pedestrians are Injured
In Florida it is a law that pedestrians are required to use the sidewalk. However, sidewalks are not always an option because of road design or construction, in which case the pedestrian should walk on the left shoulder to face any oncoming traffic. Common ways for pedestrians to become injured in traffic include:
- A driver fails to yield to a pedestrian who is walking into or is fully in the crosswalk;
- A driver runs a stop sign or red light;
- A driver turns right when the pedestrian has a walk signal;
- A driver blocks the crosswalk with their vehicle, forcing a pedestrian further into traffic; and
- A driver who is attempting to pass another vehicle fails to look for any pedestrians in their path.
Let The Lakewood Ranch Pedestrian Accident Attorneys At Hale Law Handle Your Legal Case
Unfortunately, walking and riding a bike are not always respected modes of transportation in America and as a result, cyclists and pedestrians get blamed after a crash. Even though it was a negligent driver on the road who caused the injuries, the vulnerable road user will get repeatedly blamed because law enforcement, witnesses, and the legal system are biased. At Hale Law P.A., our Lakewood Ranch pedestrian accident attorneys will advocate on your behalf and fight aggressively to get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact our offices at 941-735-4529 to schedule a free consultation.