Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
It seems that every week we hear news of pedestrians critically injured or killed in local accidents. Many of these accidents appear to occur at night, where pedestrians are either difficult to see or are victims of a hit and run accident by an unidentified vehicle. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2012 alone, approximately 5,000 pedestrians were killed and 80,000 others injured in traffic accidents. That equals one pedestrian killed every two hours, and one injured every seven minutes. Given these alarming statistics, it is crucial that both motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians understand the traffic rules applicable to them.
According to state law, pedestrians are:
- Required to use sidewalks instead of roadways (when provided);
- (If sidewalks are not provided) required to walk only on the shoulder of the road (left side), facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction;
- Prohibited from standing in the roadway to solicit a ride, employment, etc.;
- Prohibited from standing in or very close to a street or highway for the purposes of guarding a vehicle while parked or about to be parked on a street or highway;
- Required to yield the right-of-way to all vehicles when crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing exists;
- Prohibited from suddenly leaving a curb and walking or running into the path of a vehicle where it is impossible for the driver to yield;
- Required to yield right-of-way to vehicles when crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection; and
- Prohibited from crossing a roadway outside a marked crosswalk between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation.
Accordingly, drivers must:
- Stop before entering crosswalks and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk;
- Yield right-of-way, slow down, or stop, to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk;
- Never overtake vehicles stopped at a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross; and
- Exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian at all times.
Pedestrians and drivers can both be guilty of breaching their standard of care. Vehicle drivers are sometimes texting, or will run a red light while speeding, or even continue through a crosswalk after seeing a pedestrian already enter that crosswalk. And almost every day, we see pedestrians jaywalking outside of crosswalks and sometimes even walking in roadways.
Whether you are a pedestrian who has been injured in an accident, or a driver who has injured a pedestrian, you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney in dealing with claims for negligence. Bringing a successful claim can make all the difference in dealing with medical expenses, insurance claims, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact Mike Walker Law to speak with an able and experienced Florida personal injury attorney.