With beautiful weather and a relatively flat landscape make walking in Florida a great way to get around when you don’t want to drive. Unfortunately, being a pedestrian isn’t always safe, and injuries happen every day.
In 2017, nearly 10,000 pedestrians were injured in collisions with cars and other vehicles. The rate of pedestrian accidents has been increasing year over year, for a variety of reasons. While pedestrian accidents are less common than car accidents in Florida, they often result in much worse injuries, as you may imagine.
FL Pedestrian Accidents (2015 to 2017)
|2015||2016||2017||% change 2016 to 2017||3 year average|
|Total pedestrian accidents||9,085||9,102||9,420||3.49%||9,202|
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you have legal rights. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we have helped thousands of people get the compensation they deserve after they’ve been injured. We can help you, too. Give us a call at (800) 916-8108 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer today.
Florida Laws Regarding Pedestrians
Though motorists have the obligation to watch the road carefully and avoid causing accidents with other drivers, pedestrians and others who share the road, pedestrians also have an obligation to stay alert while they’re walking. If pedestrians cross or otherwise walk in the road improperly and are hit by a car, they may be held partially responsible for their own injuries.
There are a few different laws that pertain to pedestrians in Florida. The most important is Florida Statute §316.130. This statute states that:
- Pedestrians must obey all traffic control devices unless they’re otherwise directed by a police officer
- If there’s a sidewalk, pedestrians must use it. If there’s not, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic (i.e. on the left side of the road)
- If there is a crosswalk present, drivers have to wait for pedestrians to cross the road before proceeding
- If there is no crosswalk, pedestrians must wait until traffic is clear before crossing the road. They cannot step into the road if there’s a car so close it’s impossible for them to stop in time
- Unless specific traffic control devices allow it, pedestrians may not cross an intersection diagonally
- A violation of this statute results in a fine of $15
There’s much more to this statute, but these are the main points. It’s important to note that there’s no specific “jaywalking” law in Florida. Rather, unless you’re at a crosswalk, you must yield to vehicle traffic.
Even if you are at a crosswalk and have a “walk” signal, it’s important that you wait and make sure traffic is going to stop for you before you cross the street. Otherwise, you could find yourself severely injured after getting in a collision with a vehicle.
What’s Causing Increased Pedestrian Accidents in Florida?
It’s not just Florida: Pedestrian accidents and deaths are on the rise across the country. Pedestrian deaths have risen by 35 percent since 2008. There are a few different reasons why. For one, SUVs and trucks are becoming much more popular. When a large vehicle collides with a pedestrian, severe injuries and fatalities are much more likely.
Second, cell phone usage has skyrocketed for all people who use the road. Pedestrians are often distracted when they’re walking, and drivers are constantly texting and talking on their phones behind the wheel. Though Florida Statute §316.305 does ban texting and driving, thousands of people still use their phone while they are behind the wheel.
Of course, the simple fact that the Florida population is increasing. Over the past decade, the state’s population has grown by about 3 million people. With more people driving, walking and otherwise using the road, the number of pedestrian accidents naturally rises.
One of the factors most people don’t think about is the change in climate. As the average temperature climbs upwards, more people get out and enjoy the nice weather. But as more people decide to not drive and instead walk, the risk of pedestrian accidents greatly increases. In fact, pedestrian accidents increase by about 10 percent on days it’s 80°F compared to days it’s 50-60°F.
This isn’t a major factor in South Florida, where temperatures are normally at or above 80°F. But in North Florida and other areas across the country where it does get a bit cooler, the rising global temperatures have definitely had an impact on pedestrian deaths.
Can a Pedestrian Be Blamed for an Accident?
While the majority of pedestrian accidents in Florida are the fault of the driver, the actual pedestrian may also be at fault, at least partially. For instance, if you decide to cross the road at night in an area without a crosswalk, and a hybrid car approaches without its headlights on and hits you, both you and the driver may be held partially at fault.
Florida follows a comparative negligence law. Under this statute, you can still receive compensation if you are at fault for your injuries. However, the amount of compensation you receive will be lessened by the amount you are at fault.
Let’s use the example above about crossing the road at night. Under Florida law, you are required to wait until traffic is clear before crossing the road if you’re not at a crosswalk. But it’s late at night, and there doesn’t seem to be a car coming, since the car’s lights aren’t working, and you can’t hear the car coming since it’s a hybrid.
You are struck by the car and suffer a broken leg, brain damage and a punctured lung. The jury awards you $100,000 for your injuries. However, because you technically crossed the road improperly, you are found 10 percent at fault for the collision. As such, you would only receive $90,000.
How a Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help You
After the collision, you may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. However, that offer may be far lower than what you may need or deserve. Don’t assume you have to take this offer, because it’s the best you’re going to get. Once you accept it, you can’t sue for greater compensation.
Make sure to talk to an experienced Florida pedestrian accident lawyer before you accept any offer from the insurance company. At Steigner, Greene & Feiner, our attorneys have recovered over $1 BILLION on behalf of our clients. With our No-Fee Guarantee®, you don’t owe a dime unless we win your case.
Give us a call at (800) 916-8108 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer today.