How Can You Avoid A Pedestrian Accident?
Thousands of pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents every year in the United States. Many more are treated for serious injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle. Obviously, a person walking on the street is completely vulnerable when hit by a two-ton car or truck.
Pedestrian accidents are often the result of driver negligence. Many drivers fail to stop at a clearly marked intersections or when they do stop, it is a “rolling stop” that does not afford sufficient distance to safely avoid hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk. In other cases, a pedestrian accident is simply the result of drunk driving or similarly reckless conduct, such as driving while texting.
Anytime that a driver’s negligence causes a pedestrian accident, the victim has a right to sue for damages. At the same time, the driver may try and defend their actions by trying to shift blame onto the victim. Florida is a “comparative negligence” state, which means that a negligent driver’s damages are reduced to account for any relative fault on the part of the victim or a third party.
In pedestrian accident cases, for example, a common defense argument will be to claim the victim “suddenly darted out into traffic,” leaving the driver no time to avoid a collision. Another common claim is that the victim was “jaywalking,” i.e., crossing a street at some place outside of a designated crosswalk. Again, even if such blame-shifting does not completely absolve the defendant of liability, it can often succeed in reducing the amount of compensation that the victim ultimately receives at trial.
What You Need to Know as a Pedestrian
As a pedestrian, you need to think and act smartly. Do not assume that a driver will automatically be held responsible in the event of an accident. Your own actions will also be on trial. With that in mind, here is some general advice when walking out on the public streets:
- Always cross the street at a designated crosswalk. Never dart out into traffic even if you think it “looks safe.” Similarly, always obey any stop signs or other traffic signals. Remember, you need to follow the same traffic laws as anyone driving a vehicle.
- Make sure you are visible to traffic. This advice is especially important during evening hours. If you are out walking at night, try and wear lightly colored clothing that will reflect a car’s headlights. Ideally, your clothing should have reflectors on them. Alternatively, you can carry a light with you to maximize your visibility.
- Never confuse your legal rights with reality. In other words, even when you have the “right of way” under the law, do not assume that drivers on the road will automatically respect it. So if you are at a crosswalk or intersection with a green light, you still need to keep an eye out for oncoming traffic and wait until any vehicles stop before making your crossing.
Speak with a Parkland Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Being hit by a car as a pedestrian is one of the scariest and most life-threatening traumas a person can suffer. You will likely come out of the collision with serious injuries and medical bills. An experienced Parkland pedestrian accident lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Contact the trial lawyers at Lyons & Snyder today to schedule a free consultation.