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Determining Liability for Pedestrian Accidents


Personal injury law is a complex field, particularly when accidents involve pedestrians. In Florida, understanding how liability is determined in these accidents is crucial for either party involved in a dispute.

As a personal injury victim, however, it's not just about knowing your rights; it's about having the knowledge needed to act upon them and to understand the intricacies of a pedestrian accident in Florida.

Understanding the Impact of Pedestrian Accidents

Florida consistently ranks among the top states for pedestrian accidents, a dubious distinction due in part to its high tourism numbers that lead to heavy foot traffic interacting with vehicles.

When an accident occurs, the stakes are incredibly high for the injured party. Medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering can be devastating. Understanding the factors that play into liability is the first step toward seeking justice and compensation.

The Basics of Liability

In any pedestrian accident lawsuit, determining liability is crucial to the outcome of the dispute. Factors that can affect this determination include the driver’s duty of care, adherence to traffic laws, any negligence demonstrated by either party, and the potential that both parties share liability for the accident.

We’ll explain these concepts in more detail below.

What Is a Driver’s Duty of Care?

In the legal context of a pedestrian accident, "duty of care" refers to an individual's legal obligation to act prudently to avoid causing harm to others. Drivers have a heightened duty of care when it comes to pedestrians, because pedestrians are not surrounded by the protective barriers of a vehicle.

Breaches can occur when drivers fail to follow traffic laws or use common sense to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. Any breach of this duty could increase the amount of liability attributed to a driver for causing a pedestrian accident.

Fidelity to Traffic Laws

Florida, like all states, has numerous traffic laws that dictate how motor vehicles and pedestrians must interact on the roadways. Violations of these laws can be a clear indicator of liability. Pedestrian-specific laws include the right-of-way at crosswalks, while drivers are expected to obey speed limits, come to complete stops at stop signs, and avoid distracted driving practices that may impede their ability to identify and avoid pedestrians.

Unpacking Negligence

In the majority of pedestrian accidents, negligence is a central component. Negligence occurs when someone fails to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. Determining negligence in a pedestrian accident involves examining actions such as jaywalking, failure to use a designated crosswalk, or even driving under the influence. Each of these actions can potentially shift the liability from one party to another.

Comparative Fault

Florida operates under a system of comparative fault. This means that each party's degree of fault is assigned a percentage, and any damages awarded are adjusted accordingly. Therefore, it’s possible that pedestrians can be found at-fault for causing the accident that resulted in their injuries, and any damages they win are reduced according to the percentage of fault attributed to the pedestrian.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer for Help

A pedestrian accident in Florida is a complex confluence of factors that require a nuanced approach to resolve. Awareness of the laws, the duties of drivers and pedestrians, and the role of the legal system is critical. Victims must be proactive in seeking compensation, whether that comes through a settlement or a court decision.

Remember, you are not alone in the process. Counsel from an experienced personal injury lawyer can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case. If you find yourself in need of assistance after a pedestrian accident, reach out to the Paulsen Law Group for the support you deserve.

Contact us at any time to request a consultation and get started with your claim.