Do I Always Have the Right of Way under Florida Pedestrian Law?
It is a common misnomer that the pedestrian is always in the right in every interaction with a motor vehicle in the Sunshine State. Many people are told from the time they are children that pedestrians always have the right of way. However, the situation is a bit more complex than this; it is not true that in every situation under Florida law that the pedestrian has the right of way. Pedestrians still have laws they must follow when interacting with motor vehicles, and a pedestrian can be in the wrong or found to be negligent in an accident with a motor vehicle in which the pedestrian is injured.
Nevertheless, even if you were a pedestrian who was not following Florida law to its exact letter and you were involved in an accident in which you were injured, this does not mean you are not entitled to recover against a motorist or bicyclist who may have injured you in a pedestrian accident in Florida. The point to always remember in every personal injury scenario is that Florida is a comparative negligence state. Even if you cross against a light or take some other action so that you may technically be at fault to some extent, you can still recover for your injuries to the degree they were caused by the motorist’s own negligence.
Florida Law for Pedestrians Who Are Sharing the Road with Motor Vehicles
Florida has a series of pedestrian safety laws meant to ensure the safety of anyone who walks along or crosses a Florida road. According to those laws, pedestrians must yield to vehicles that are on the road where the pedestrian does not have the right of way. This would mean that, contrary to popular belief and what your parents may have told you when you were a child, pedestrians do not always have the right of way to attempt to walk in or on or cross a road whenever they may please.
As an example, Florida’s pedestrian laws mandate that pedestrians must obey all traffic signals and may cross a road only when a pedestrian light is green. A pedestrian therefore would be in the wrong if he or she ignores a “Don’t Walk” signal and crosses a road when oncoming traffic has a green light. In addition, Florida law also provides that any pedestrian who is crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the road. Florida law also provides that, if a road has a sidewalk, then the pedestrian is required to walk on the sidewalk.
However, although these rules do create obligations on the part of pedestrians on Florida roads, Florida state law also provides that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.” This means that, even if a pedestrian may be violating Florida law in some manner, whether by crossing outside a crosswalk or crossing the street against a signal, motorists are still required to do everything they can to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. This is particularly important given that drivers rather than pedestrians are usually in a better position to avoid a collision than a pedestrian.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.
Pedestrian accidents in Florida occur with dangerous regularity. Often a pedestrian may be doing nothing wrong and is obeying the law, following all applicable traffic signals and walking in designated crosswalks, when a motorist operating his or her vehicle negligently hits the pedestrian. In other instances, the situation may not be so clear-cut; perhaps both the pedestrian and the motorist may both bear some fault in the incident occurring. 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. This is true even if you may have had some role in causing the accident. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one has been injured or killed by a motor vehicle while walking on a Florida road, regardless of whether you bore any fault in connection with the situation or not, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.