If you or a loved one got injured in a pedestrian accident caused by someone else, you should get in touch with a Miami pedestrian accident lawyer today. Our personal injury lawyers at Klotzman Law Firm have extensive experience handling pedestrian injury cases.
Pedestrian accidents are quite common in Miami, and they often result in serious injuries and even fatalities. Injuries caused by pedestrian accidents could also be very painful and costly to recover from, usually resulting in expensive medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as time spent away from work. If you have been injured as a pedestrian in Miami, you should get the help you need by contacting an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer.
At Klotzman Law Firm, our team has handled claims from pedestrian collisions throughout Florida, and we will work hard to prevent the insurance companies from taking advantage of the situation to minimize your claim or overlook certain aspects of your injuries.
Get in touch with our offices today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an attorney who can start the process of filing your claim. Call us at 954-915-7405 or complete our case evaluation form and we shall contact you.
Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
In accidents involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian is more likely to suffer the most. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Miami include:
Most pedestrian accidents occur when the driver is not being attentive on the road. This may happen in situations such as when a driver is texting, talking on the phone, emailing, or just checking their smartphone.
It could also occur when the driver is manipulating the car’s navigation system, adjusting the a/c or heater in the car, switching radio stations, or tending to children in the backseat. Whenever a driver takes their attention off the road, pedestrians and other motorists are all at risk.
Failure to Yield Right of Way
Right of way refers to the legal right for a pedestrian or any other road user to proceed with precedence in each location or situation. For instance, when a traffic signal gives pedestrians a right of way to proceed onto the crosswalk, all motorists are required to allow the pedestrians to finish crossing the road before continuing to drive through the intersection or crosswalk.
Failure to yield the right of way happens when a road user or pedestrian proceeds without giving precedence to the other party. This could be where a car fails to stop at the traffic lights to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk, thereby committing a traffic violation.
Three times as many people are estimated to get hit by cars turning to the left than cars turning right, even at crosswalks and intersections with traffic lights. This is mainly because drivers making left-hand turns are focused on whether it’s safe for them to turn, forgetting to check for pedestrians on their path.
When a car is going too fast, the driver might not have ample time to properly react to an upcoming pedestrian. Speeding also increases the potential severity of injuries that the pedestrian sustains.
Intersections should ideally have designated crosswalks that are properly marked, however, many of them are not marked clearly. This makes them especially prone to causing accidents, as drivers could easily forget to look for pedestrians, which increases the risk of accidents
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (or while intoxicated) entails driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other illegal substance. Such a driver will be much less likely to spot a pedestrian on the road, far more likely to get distracted, and will have a far worse reaction time when they unexpectedly spot a pedestrian crossing their path.
Poor Lighting and visibility
Several factors can lower visibility on the road, which may end up causing drivers to get into accidents with pedestrians. Some of these factors include:
- Poor weather
- Vehicles parked on the side of the road
- Bright lights shining in the eyes of the driver or pedestrian
- Poor or faulty headlights on a vehicle
- Dust storms
Depending on the circumstances of the case, liability may fall on the pedestrian, motorist, or government agencies when poor visibility is the issue.
Defective traffic lights
Pedestrians and motorists alike rely on the traffic light signals functioning properly. A faulty traffic light signal could easily lead to devastating results.
Aside from the mistakes other motorists could make, pedestrian negligence could contribute to the risk of accidents. For instance, failure to use sidewalks, jaywalking, darting into traffic, standing, playing, lying, or working in a roadway, and being distracted or impaired on the road can increase the risk of a pedestrian accident.
What Are Some of the Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
The automobile is usually the victor when it collides with a pedestrian. This is simply because the pedestrian doesn’t have enough protection against a motor vehicle. Unlike other forms of traffic accidents, the driver doesn’t sustain serious injuries, but the pedestrian does. The following are some of the most common pedestrian injuries:
- Loss of limb
- Lower extremity injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Facial injury and disfigurement
- Chest injuries
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Soft-tissue injuries
In many cases, there are the initial injuries that the pedestrian will suffer from the accident’s initial impact, but secondary injuries may also show up later. For instance, some injuries will be caused by contact with the car, and secondary injuries from landing on the pavement.
With so many potential injuries, it’s evident why most pedestrians don’t fare well in these kinds of accidents. Factors such as speeding and recklessness may contribute to how severe the impact will be.
What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
Few things in life can be as traumatic as being struck as a pedestrian in a vehicle-related collision. The accident may not only result in physical injuries but also psychological and emotional problems may come up from the traumatic experience.
In many cases, the victims have to take time off from work, which exacerbates financial hardship, especially if the injuries were severe enough. Moreover, being struck by a car may also inherently interfere with your ability to carry out normal daily tasks.
Take the following steps immediately after you have realized that you have been struck by a vehicle to help protect your best interests, your legal rights, and your future.
Seek immediate medical attention
Anyone involved in an accident should seek medical attention even when they don’t believe that they were seriously injured. This will help you accomplish two main things: making sure that your injuries are properly treated and creating official medical records that document the nature and extent of your injuries, and the current and future medical treatment you might need.
Document your injuries
As time passes, a person’s memory invariably fades, and it might make the account of the accident unreliable. For this reason, if you’re involved in a pedestrian accident, you should record as much information as possible about the accident soon after the accident happened. This can be done by journalling or taking photos or videos of the scene of the accident and the injuries sustained.
When possible, jot down a short journal about each of your injuries, including ones you can’t document in a photo. Include the location, size, pain level, severity, and any other relevant information.
Call the police
Likely, witnesses or motorists at the scene of the accident have already called the police. If they haven’t, ask someone to call them. You need the police at the scene of the accident, even if you think you weren’t hurt, to file an official report on the accident.
Calling the police will also notify emergency services, such that they can come and attend to everyone that has been injured. You might also have been injured and not know about it due to the adrenaline rush and shock from the accident masking the pain.
Do not discuss fault at the scene or with the motorist’s insurance company.
One of the key things to keep in mind when you’re involved in a pedestrian crash is that you should never admit fault to anyone. While this might seem simple enough, it might end up harming your case if you accidentally say something that might be taken as an admission of guilt. For instance, politely saying sorry that you didn’t see the car could be used against you.
Keep in mind that you should avoid speaking at length with the other party’s insurance company. They just don’t have your best interests at heart. Don’t sign any documents they provide or accept any settlement they offer without the presence of your lawyer. If they insist, you should simply ask them to contact your lawyer.
Contact your insurance company
If you have car insurance, you should contact your provider as soon as possible after the accident. While you might have been a pedestrian at the time of the accident, most car insurance policies cover these kinds of accidents. However, you need to inform them as soon as possible so that you will be eligible to make medical claims after the accident.
Seek professional legal assistance
The motorist’s insurance providers will likely attempt to put the blame on you in an attempt to deny the claims you file. When they do make a settlement offer, it will likely be undervalued by a huge margin, meaning it won’t account for any difficulties you might encounter in the future and the future treatment you might need.
Acquiring a qualified personal injury lawyer is your best bet to ensure that your rights and livelihood are protected. If you or a loved one is a victim of a pedestrian accident, reach out to the lawyers at Klotzman Law Firm to learn more about your legal options. There are no obligations or fees involved when we evaluate your case.
Our Miami pedestrian injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. We won’t charge you any fees unless we win the case and recover compensation for you.
How Do You Determine Liability or Fault in a Pedestrian Accident in Florida?
Recovering compensation from the other party needs you to show that the driver at-fault was negligent, careless, or wrongful in their actions, which ended up causing your injuries. For this, your personal injury lawyer has the uphill task of proving liability based on the four elements of negligence. These are as follows:
Duty of care
You must demonstrate that there was a duty of care on the part of the driver at fault. This entails proving that the driver of the vehicle had a responsibility to obey traffic laws and look out for other road users while operating their vehicle.
Breach of Duty
The next element to prove is that the driver breached this duty of care. You can do this by proving that the driver failed to exercise a reasonable level of care while on the road or they violated traffic laws. This might have been through speeding, impaired driving, or distracted driving.
The breach of duty of care by the at-fault driver directly caused the pedestrian’s injuries. This is legally known as proximate cause. It’s not enough to prove that the other driver wasn’t driving responsibly. You must also prove that their negligence directly resulted in your injuries.
You must demonstrate that you suffered harm, which is commonly referred to as damages. The injuries that were suffered in the accident must have caused compensable economic and/or non-economic damages.
It’s also worth noting that Florida uses a comparative fault system, meaning the courts assess the evidence surrounding the case and assign fault in percentages. For instance, in an accident where a driver struck a pedestrian while speeding, but the pedestrian was also jaywalking, the court knows they are both responsible for the crash. It will assign each party a percentage of fault. The percentage you receive will be deducted from the total damages you’re awarded.
How Will an Attorney Help With My Claim?
If you were in a pedestrian accident in Miami, Florida, you ideally want to work with an experienced attorney that will help you with your claim and ensure you get the best possible settlement amount. Here are some of the key ways a lawyer will help with your claim:
Our pedestrian accident lawyers will conduct a thorough and independent case investigation. We will investigate the facts surrounding your case, collect the evidence available, and work to build a strong case on your behalf.
Our team will analyze employment records, medical records, police reports, dashcam footage, toxicology reports, and any other available documentation to determine whether you have a case, how much it’s worth, and who is liable for your damages. From there, we’ll file the paperwork needed when filing a claim, and ensure that you meet the set deadlines.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. They care so much about their profit margins. As such, you should never be fooled by their antics of acting friendly or pretending to care so much about your situation.
If you choose to represent yourself, the insurance company will most likely offer a raw deal that doesn’t cover all your losses. This may not account for your lost earning capacity or future medical expenses. When you sign the paperwork, you will be giving away your right to recover any additional compensation from the insurance company in the future, even with solid evidence.
Hiring a pedestrian accident attorney will ensure that you have an aggressive negotiator by your side, to give you the best chance of receiving the maximum compensation available for your case. Your lawyer will know how insurance adjusters work, and they won’t rest until you get the settlement offer you deserve for your claim.
Trial Preparation & Representation
In case the settlement negotiations with the insurance companies fail, your lawyer will take the matter to court. In court, our lawyers will provide aggressive representation to ensure that you attain a favorable outcome in court.
In other words, with our legal team on your side, you will get a large compensation amount, while still being able to focus on making a full recovery. We will be taking care of everything, from start to finish. You just need to sign some documents on occasion. This will remove a huge amount of stress from your shoulders. Plus, we won’t charge you anything until we win your case.
How Much is My Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?
Pedestrians injured in vehicle accidents may be eligible for financial compensation for their damages from the at-fault drivers. However, since every case is different, there’s no universal formula to determine how much a case is worth. The value of your claim will largely depend on the circumstances of your case, and the nature and severity of the injuries sustained.
Once you have proven liability on the defendant’s side, you could be awarded compensation for damages such as:
- Medical costs including ER and ambulance, diagnosis, prescriptions, and procedures needed in treating your injuries
- Loss of income because of the time spent away from work
- Decrease in future earning potential due to permanent impairment or disability
- Compensation for any ongoing rehabilitation or specialist medical care for a permanent impairment
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
- Scarring, disfigurement, and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Psychological injuries, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A Miami pedestrian collision could result in devastating effects for you and your loved ones. Reach out to the experienced pedestrian injury lawyers at Klotzman Law Firm to help you figure out how much your case is worth.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Pedestrian Accident Claims in Florida?
According to Florida law, anyone injured in a pedestrian accident should file a claim within 4 years from the time of the accident. This is based on the state’s statute of limitations. If you’re unable to meet this deadline, the court will most likely dismiss the case if you ever bring it.
However, there are some instances where the court might be willing to extend this deadline, such as in situations where the injured victim was a minor or if the injuries took a lot longer to manifest.
Do I Have a Pedestrian Accident Case?
Not every pedestrian hit by a vehicle will give the pedestrian the eligibility for compensation through a lawsuit or an insurance claim. If the motorist was at fault in the crash, and the pedestrian can prove it, then his/her own insurance company will be held liable for the damages. For instance, if the driver was reckless, you might have grounds to file a claim.
How Much Will a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Cost?
As a victim of a pedestrian accident, we know that you already have enough difficulty, expenses, and pain to deal with. You might not want the burden of paying for a lawyer. Fortunately, the Miami pedestrian accident lawyers at Klotzman Law Firm offer free consultations to establish whether you do have a case.
Even after this is established, we will continue to work with you on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay anything upfront – we only get paid when we win a settlement for you. The fee we receive is a percentage of your net recovery.
Talk To a Miami Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Who Can Help
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Florida, reach out to us as soon as possible. We have handled many lawsuits and claims involving pedestrian accidents in Florida, and we will work relentlessly to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Call Klotzman Law Firm today at 954-915-7405 for a free and confidential consultation with a Miami pedestrian accident lawyer. We can also come meet you at a convenient location, or you could come visit our Miami office.