Can You Still Make a Claim if You Were Hit as a Pedestrian Outside a Crosswalk in Florida?

Imagine you’re enjoying a sunny Florida afternoon, walking down the street. Suddenly, a car zooms by and hits you – you weren’t in a crosswalk at the time. You’re hurt, confused, and wondering: Do I have a case?

Being struck by a car as a pedestrian is a scary experience, and the legal situation can feel even more overwhelming. Here at Zweben Law Group, we understand the complexities of pedestrian accidents in Florida.  In this blog post, we’ll break down Florida’s laws and answer your question.

Florida Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities

Florida law prioritizes pedestrian safety. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked crosswalks at intersections, and drivers are legally obligated to yield. This extends to unmarked crosswalks at intersections when a pedestrian is within the portion of the roadway where a marked crosswalk would be expected.

But what happens when you’re not in a crosswalk? While pedestrians do have a responsibility to use crosswalks whenever possible, Florida follows a comparative negligence system. This means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident (like jaywalking), you can still seek compensation for your injuries, but the amount you receive may be reduced based on your percentage of fault.

Key Factors Determining Your Claim

When assessing the viability and value of a personal injury claim, particularly in traffic-related incidents, there are several pivotal factors that legal professionals and courts examine. These elements not only influence the determination of fault but also the potential compensation that might be awarded. Here’s a closer look at these key determinants:

  • Driver’s Negligence: The behavior of the driver involved in the incident is a primary consideration.
    • Examples of negligent actions include speeding, reckless driving, and failure to observe traffic laws.
    • Specific acts such as texting while driving, operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and ignoring traffic signals are significant indicators of negligence. These actions not only breach road safety laws but also substantially increase the risk of causing accidents.
  • Your Actions: Being outside a crosswalk, for instance, could be seen as comparative negligence. However, the context matters greatly, such as whether the claimant was jaywalking at a crowded intersection or crossing a road in a less busy area where visibility might be poor.
  • Severity of Injuries: Generally, more severe injuries lead to larger compensation claims, reflecting the increased costs of medical treatment, potential long-term care, and the impact on the claimant’s quality of life.
  • Evidence: The strength of the evidence available to support the claim is crucial.
    • Witness statements can provide corroborative accounts of the incident, offering insight into the actions of both the driver and the pedestrian.
    • Police reports are authoritative sources that document the incident, potentially indicating any violations of law or negligence.
    • Traffic camera footage serves as an objective witness, visually recording the circumstances leading up to, during, and immediately following the incident.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Florida Statute of Limitations: In Florida, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. Don’t delay – evidence fades over time, and witnesses become harder to locate.
  • Comparative Negligence: A personal injury lawyer can help you understand how comparative negligence might affect your claim. For instance, if the court finds you 20% at fault, your potential compensation would be reduced by 20%.

Seeking Medical Attention After a Pedestrian Accident

Being involved in a pedestrian accident can leave you feeling shaken and unsure what to do next. Here are some crucial steps to take:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Call 911 or have someone take you to the nearest emergency room. Even if your injuries seem minor, a medical evaluation is essential to document your condition.
  2. Report the Accident: File a police report to document the accident details. The police report can serve as valuable evidence in your claim.
  3. Gather Evidence: If possible, take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and any vehicle damage. Collect witness contact information if anyone saw what happened.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today

Being involved in a pedestrian accident can be stressful and confusing. If you’ve been hit by a car and have questions about your legal rights, don’t hesitate to contact Zweben Law Group. Our experienced Florida personal injury lawyers can review your case, explain your options, and help you go through the legal process. Call Zweben Law Group in Stuart, Florida, today at 772-223-5454 or visit us online. We’re committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve.