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What factors does Florida law look at in a pedestrian accident claim?

Negligence

A Florida pedestrian accident claim is a standard negligence claim. The law looks at the behavior of the parties. Negligence is determined based on the facts and circumstances of the particular accident - and asks the question - "did the driver" or "did the pedestrian" act as a "reasonable person" under the circumstances.

If you were in a cross walk and a driver hits you. It is clear that the driver was negligent because Florida law requires drivers to stop for pedestrian's in a cross walk. On the other hand, if you are walking down a city street and you decide to cross the street by cutting in between a couple of cars, a jury or judge may decide that your actions were "not reasonable."

Because the facts of the accident are so important, if you are injured as a pedestrian, you or someone on your behalf must act quickly to preserve all the potential evidence. For instance, photos should be taken of the scene of the accident. The scène needs to be inspect to see if there are areas of limited visibility or lighting. If there were witnesses to the accident, the witnesses' statements should be taken as close to the accident as possible because peoples memories fade and stories change. If there is video surveillance in the area, it is important to make sure the video is preserved and not taped over. The truth is that if you wait for weeks after the accident to get this information, it may no longer be available.

It brings up the question, how do you reconcile the need to get this information so quickly with the fact that you are injured? In my view, you must have a friend or family member gather this data or hire a lawyer as soon as practicable so their investigator can get out to the scene and capture the information.

I can't tell you how many people I've sat with over the years, who were severely injured in accidents but were not able to prove their claim because they, or someone on their behalf, did not do the leg work up front to preserve the necessary evidence.

Insurance

A big determinative factor in pedestrian accident claims is the amount of insurance available. Most of these accidents happen between an individual and a driver. In Florida, car owners and drivers are not required to carry bodily injury insurance. So, a driver can hit you and break your leg and they do not have insurance to compensate you for your loss.

This is one of the reasons that I always preach that everybody needs to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are hit by a car or truck that has no bodily injury insurance or not enough bodily injury insurance.

You maybe asking, will my uninsured motorist coverage protect me if I wasn't in my car. Under the terms of most insurance policies yes. The definition that applies is that the other vehicle is considered "uninsured or underinsured." The only time your policy will not cover you - is if the uninsured motorist is a member of your own household.

Injuries

The next factor that we look at in pedestrian accident claims are the injuries. The nature and extent of your injuries is a driving factor in the value of your claim. If you are hit by a vehicle, you are covered under Florida no-fault law, the good part is that you will receive PIP coverage for your medical expenses. The bad part is that you have to have a permanent injury, or significant scarring, or loss of an important bodily function before you meet the threshold for pain and suffering.   

There are so many different scenarios that can happen with a Villages pedestrian accident claim, which is why you should probably speak with an attorney as soon as practicable.

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