Despite having a bounty of waterfront sidewalks in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater area, Florida is nonetheless not a pedestrian-friendly state. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The Sunshine State is the number one deadliest state for pedestrians.
Smart Growth America calculated a Pedestrian Index (PDI) for every metro area in the U.S. The PDI is gauged by the likelihood of a person on foot being hit by a vehicle and killed. It’s also based on a number of local commuters who walk to work. The average PDI in America is 52.2. Tampa/St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida has a PDI of 190.13. Because PDI is a measure that helps indicate how many people are out walking each day, the local PDI is important when taking into account the likelihood and risk of potential pedestrian accidents.
Due to the lack of protection on the part of pedestrians, accidents involving cars and people on foot are very serious. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident and are able or relatively unaffected, try taking pictures of the scene of the accident. It’s important to gather as much information as you can to provide your attorney. Any piece of evidence can be used to help your case. The team of experienced attorneys at Clark Law are not afraid to fight for you.
Anyone who’s walking on our streets has a duty to comply with safety regulations — such as using sidewalks and crosswalks when available and crossing the street at a 90-degree angle. However, regardless of circumstances, drivers are required to exercise precaution at all times. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
The scenarios are grim, since pedestrians are in such a vulnerable position when hit by a motor vehicle traveling at a high speed. To add insult to injury, distracted driving is rampant in today’s society — despite Florida enacting laws prohibiting texting while driving, it’s still common to see motorists with their mobile devices in their hands. Between cell phones, looking up addresses on a GPS, or simply being absent-minded while driving, pedestrians face serious risks on a daily basis. So, what should you do if you’re hit by a car while you’re walking around town?
What to Do When You’ve Been in a Pedestrian Car Accident
1. Never admit fault. Florida is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, and guilt will be apportioned between the parties, if applicable.
2. Get witnesses’ information. If at all possible, get the full names and contact information of anyone who saw the accident happen.
3. Take pictures. Also if possible, take pictures of the site of the accident, your injuries, and any dents or cracked glass on the car that hit you or a loved one.
4. Seek medical attention immediately. You want to safeguard your own wellbeing, as well as establish a record of what the costs are going to be.
5. Speak with a car accident attorney. Medical bills, lost wages, and future costs can add up fast. Having experienced legal representation is crucial.
What happens during pedestrian car accident settlements?
At some point during litigation, the insurance company for the driver who hit you will likely make a settlement offer. It’s supposed to be based on your damages. This is why it’s essential to have an attorney on your side. No matter how reasonable the driver’s insurance company may sound, their job is to safeguard their own interests — meaning saving as much money as possible.
Having a lawyer means having someone who will reconstruct the accident as accurately as possible — highlighting every single aspect that affects you personally. Not only will they take into account your current injuries, but possible future ramifications — as well as recover wages from time off work or future time off work, mental anguish, disability, and/or loss of consortium. This is done through a process called discovery. Your attorney will be able to obtain the sworn testimony of the driver, any passengers, other victims, witnesses, medical providers, or accident reconstruction experts. It can get overwhelming and complicated — and if you are doing it on your own, you may be tempted to agree to an unfair offer just to get it all over with.
When does a driver face criminal liability for hitting a pedestrian?
In addition to facing civil liability after hitting a pedestrian, a driver may face criminal charges if any of the following circumstances apply to the case:
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
Call Clark Law Tampa Bay Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Today for Your Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, please contact our law offices today. Call our office now at (855) 680-4911 to schedule your free consultation or fill out the initial query form on our website.