Florida’s drivers share the road daily with other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Lawmakers and law enforcement officials try to ensure that this comingling of vehicles, bikes, and people on foot progresses safely and uneventfully. However, accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians do occur, and when they do, questions of fault, blame, and liability can be difficult to resolve.

Trending Towards Accidents

States across the country are focused on lowering the number of motor vehicle accidents that occur each year. In particular, states have pushed to limit fatalities from these collisions. In Florida and elsewhere, these efforts have succeeded, with an 18% decrease in the number of motor vehicle fatalities between 2006 and 2015. Yet within this same period, the number of pedestrian-related fatalities due to collisions with cars and other vehicles went up.

The 12% rise in pedestrian fatalities between 2005 and 2016 represents an unfortunate safety trend for those who walk as a primary mode of transportation. Moreover, nearly 70,000 pedestrians were injured in accidents in the United States in 2015. That statistic represents an even greater increase, as from 2006 the number of pedestrians injured in accidents is up by 14.8%.

It would be natural to conclude from these statistics that drivers are more careless, less aware, and generally at fault for pedestrian accidents in Florida. However, the falling number of motor vehicle accidents suggests that all parties who share the road could potentially be at fault for a given accident.

Point of Collision

Every driver in Florida is required to exercise reasonable care when it comes to sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists. This requires the driver to be alert, aware, and recognize the capabilities and abilities of a given pedestrian. Accordingly, expectations of a driver are different when a child is walking on the road or crossing the street, than when the pedestrian is an adult. When a driver of a motor vehicle breaches this duty of care, he or she could be liable for the injuries and costs of an accident. This would include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages, as determined through a civil lawsuit.

However, Florida law imposes a duty on pedestrians, as well. Pedestrians are required to follow the laws when walking on or crossing the street. Breaking these laws, for instance by disobeying a walk signal, can result in the pedestrian’s being held accountable, or partly liable, for the accident. When the driver of a car can show that a pedestrian violated one of the laws or rules of sharing the road, it becomes extremely difficult for the pedestrian to press criminal charges or obtain civil damages related to the pedestrian accident.

Therefore, contrary to the assumption that the driver of a vehicle is responsible for a car accident involving a pedestrian, more factual assessment and investigation is required of each incident. Further, only through cooperation between drivers and pedestrians can statistics of fatalities related to pedestrian accidents fall back to the national estimate of 61,000 or lower.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Florida

Whether you were operating a vehicle or crossing the street on foot, it is possible that the other party is at fault for a pedestrian accident. The best way to determine the potential of your liability and assess your specific circumstances is to speak with a lawyer experienced in personal injury litigation. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers provides a free, confidential consultation for new clients. Call our office today at (305)-441-0440.