Pedestrian Accidents and Negligence

Pedestrian accidents in Florida occur with dangerous regularity.  A pedestrian many times may be in a rush and may feel like he or she does not have time to wait for a pedestrian signal at a busy intersection to change before crossing a busy street.  For instance, you may be hurrying back from a weekday lunch, running late to make it back to the office for a big conference call with an important client.  So, after halfheartedly looking in each direction, you cross the street directly into the path of an oncoming city bus.  The bus driver, who was speeding, swerves so that only the side of the bus strikes you and knocks you over.  However, after an ambulance arrives and takes you to the hospital, you discover you have a fractured leg despite the bus driver’s quick thinking.

Or, as is likely more commonly the case these days, you might be on your phone and either talking to someone, reading an article, listening to music, or writing an email or texting when you walk through an intersection without even looking up.  A driver who had sped up to make it through a light that was just about to turn red is unable to stop in time and plows into you, sending you to the hospital with serious injuries.

In both of these scenarios, the question our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys often would be asked by clients who have been involved in similar types of pedestrian accidents is: can the driver in either scenario be held liable for the injuries and other damages suffered by the pedestrian that were caused by the driver’s negligence, even though it appears that the pedestrian was also at fault?  The answer is a simple yes.  If the driver was in any way negligent and this negligence was a legal cause of your injuries in the accident, then you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries from that driver.  Any negligence on your part will serve to reduce the ultimate award that you can receive against the driver that hit you, but does not bar you from recovering any of your damages from that driver or his or her insurer.

Comparative Negligence in the Context of Pedestrian Accidents

Florida law, as with any other scenario in which someone is or may be injured, requires that a person exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety if he or she is crossing the street.  The same would be true for someone who walks into a store where there is liquid on the floor or someone who is walking past a dog that is known for being vicious that is not on a leash or behind a fence.  Therefore, regardless of whether someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident, by a dog bite, or in a slip and fall, the victim is required by Florida law to have been taking reasonable care to ensure his or her own safety in connection with whatever occurred to cause the injuries.  However, even if he or she were not doing so, this does not prevent others whose negligence may have contributed to those injuries from not being held liable for their own negligence.

Thus, texting while crossing the street or completely ignoring a do not walk is not fatal to your case if you are a pedestrian who is involved in a situation like the two scenarios described above.  Like just about every factual scenario involved in Florida personal injury cases, it is for the jury to decide questions of fault, and specifically the allocation of fault, in the accident in which you were injured.  It is very possible that the jury may conclude that multiple parties were at fault depending on the circumstances.  For example, in the second scenario above, the driver who sped up to avoid a red light may very well have been acting negligently when he did so.  In addition, the bus driver in the first scenario, although he did swerve to avoid hitting you, may very well have been negligent by speeding at lunchtime on a workday, when the number of pedestrians on the street is likely to be much higher than at any other time of day.

Therefore, in either case, a jury may conclude that the pedestrian did indeed bear some fault in causing the accident that resulted in his or her injuries.  However, this would simply reduce whatever amount the pedestrian could recover for damages from either the bus driver or the motorist whose negligence also served as a contributing factor to the incident in which the pedestrian was injured.  There would not be any sort of bar to prevent the pedestrian from recovering the proportion of his or her injuries that the driver’s negligence did cause.  Thus, the pedestrian would still be free to pursue the motorist for compensation for the injuries that the pedestrian suffered as a result of the driver’s negligence.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.

Pedestrian accidents in Florida occur with alarming regularity.  Although many times they occur because a pedestrian may be in too much of a hurry to pay attention to a pedestrian signal at an intersection or to look up from his or her mobile phone before crossing a busy street, that does not mean that the driver that hit the pedestrian is not responsible if he or she was operating his or her vehicle negligently.  Even if a pedestrian did something wrong that contributed to an accident occurring, when a motorist operating his or her vehicle negligently hits the pedestrian, the pedestrian can seek recovery from the motorist for his or her injuries or losses suffered as a result of that driver’s negligence.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of pedestrian accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. If you are a pedestrian who has been injured due to the negligence of a Florida motorist, you have the right under Florida law to receive compensation for your injuries, even if you may have had some fault in causing the accident in which you were injured. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured or killed by a motor vehicle while walking on a Florida road, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.