Auto Accident Settlement
Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault for a Car Accident?
When this question is posed, you may answer in your mind: “of course!” Pedestrians have a duty of care like any other person, and their own carelessness could directly lead to an accident. A pedestrian could run into the street outside of a crosswalk, for example. A person could dart out from behind a parked car on a dark night.
If we are talking about an accident that occurs on the Treasure Coast or elsewhere in Florida, however, the answer would be different. A pedestrian is almost never at fault because Florida is a no-fault state. This means that, in the majority of accident cases, fault won’t even come up in a pedestrian accident. However, if a pedestrian’s injury costs exceed the value of the available Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, then the pedestrian may be accused of contributing to the accident by the liability insurer handling the claim. In these instances, it is important to work with a Florida pedestrian accident lawyer who can establish cause and fight for maximum compensation from all negligent parties.
At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we have been defending personal injury victims for decades. We have learned that nothing is as cut and dried as it seems at the outset. To give some examples, let’s take a closer look at pedestrian accidents versus typical vehicle accidents, and how both relate to fault.
PIP Coverage of the Driver
Florida has laws regarding auto accidents and insurance that are somewhat unique. In the Sunshine State, PIP insurance is a rider that covers the medical bills of the insured. If you are involved in a pedestrian versus vehicle accident, your PIP insurance may cover your bills. If the coverage is not enough to pay your medical bills in their entirety, or if the injured pedestrian has no insurance, then the at-fault driver’s PIP insurance could kick in.
After both policies have been exhausted, it is then that you can sue the “at-fault” driver in court. Only then does the concept of fault or who caused the accident come into play. In these cases, it is important to understand the legal concept of negligence.
Proving Negligence After a Pedestrian Accident Claim
In the instance that you do take your personal injury case to court, you will have to prove four elements in order to establish negligence in hopes for a positive resolution of your claim.
You and your attorney will seek to prove that:
- There was a duty of care on the part of the at-fault party. Essentially, what you will be working to prove is that the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision had the responsibility of obeying traffic laws and looking out for pedestrians while operating their vehicle.
- The duty of care was breached. You and your lawyer will work to prove that the driver of the vehicle violated the law or failed to exercise ordinary care. They may have been driving while distracted, speeding, or even operating their vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
- The negligence of the at-fault driver directly led to the victim’s injuries, which legally is known as proximate cause. It’s not enough to prove that someone didn’t drive responsibly. You and your attorney must also prove that the driver’s negligence directly caused your injuries.
- The victim suffered harm, known as damages. Your injuries caused by the accident must have led to economic damages. You may have experienced medical costs, disability, financial hardship, or other financial difficulties.
Who Should Be Named In My Claim?
It’s a general assumption that the person named in a personal injury lawsuit involving a pedestrian and a vehicle is the driver of the vehicle. This is not always the case. In other instances, you may name more than one party. Let’s take a look at who you may name in your lawsuit.
- The City — You and your lawyer may look at naming the local municipality if the crash involves a traffic light that wasn’t working properly, safety hazards, or even a crosswalk that is poorly placed.
- A Vehicle Manufacturer — In some cases, a vehicle collision, even one involving a pedestrian, may be the result of a faulty vehicle. Brakes may fail, tires may come off, steering wheels may malfunction, and more. If your attorney can prove that the vehicle was manufactured unsafely or improperly, you may name that manufacturer in your suit.
- The Insurance Company — Your personal injury protection may run out. If this happens and the driver’s insurance company refuses to pay the remainder, you may be forced to name them in your lawsuit.
- Someone Else — If you and your attorney can prove that you stepped into the road to avoid a hazard, you may name the person responsible for that hazard in your claim. For example, there may have been a cyclist, a skateboarder, or some other person that can be held responsible.
What Happens When a Pedestrian Contributed to Their Own Injuries?
Should the fault be disputed, it’s possible that the pedestrian injury victim is found to have contributed in part or in whole to their own accident circumstances.
Even in these situations, accident victims in Florida can recover partial compensation. The state has a pure comparative negligence rule, which means that any amount of contributed fault will hold the negligent party responsible for their portion of damages. So, if a pedestrian made a mistake but a vehicle driver was just as much to blame, the driver will be expected to pay 50% of the total damages.
When fighting for a pedestrian injury settlement, it is vital to defend yourself against allegations of contributory negligence since any amount will reduce your total award. A Florida pedestrian accident lawyer can assist with establishing fault and defending against allegations that you contributed fault in your accident scenario.
We Are Your Advocate on the Treasure Coast and Beyond
When you have been involved in an accident with a vehicle, whether you were in or out of a crosswalk, it’s important that you understand your rights. It’s also very important that you have a clear understanding of the no-fault insurance system and comparative negligence rules in our beautiful state. You’re not an insurance agent, nor are you an experienced attorney. This is where we come in!
You and your family do not deserve to suffer financial damage because of someone’s negligence or a lack of cooperation from an insurance company. We understand the finest nuances of insurance and personal injury law, and we will put our experience and expertise to work for you. Call our office at (866) 460-1990 or contact us online to schedule your initial case evaluation. Our entire team is here for you and we are ready to make your case a priority.
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