Pedestrian accidents are a major concern in the United States, with thousands of fatalities and injuries reported yearly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, there were 6,205 pedestrian fatalities nationwide. The situation is particularly alarming in Florida, as the state ranks among the highest in the nation for pedestrian fatalities].
The risk of pedestrian accidents in urban areas like Boca Raton is even higher due to increased foot traffic and vehicle congestion.
You can file a claim if you are injured as a pedestrian due to someone else’s fault or negligence. Contact our legal team at Fetterman & Associates, PA, to discuss your situation.
Laws in Boca Raton to Protect Pedestrians – Know Your Rights
Florida has specific laws to protect pedestrians, including right-of-way rules and guidelines for drivers and pedestrians to follow. Some key laws include:
- Florida Statutes §316.130: Pedestrians must obey traffic control devices and use crosswalks where provided.
- Florida Statutes §316.123: Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk.
Being aware of these laws is crucial, as they can significantly impact your case if you’re involved in a pedestrian accident in Boca Raton.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents – Identifying the Perils
Pedestrian accidents often occur due to driver negligence or inattention. Some common causes include:
Distracted Driving, Such as Texting or Using a Cellphone
Distracted driving, including texting or talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel, is a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. Drivers who engage in such activities have their attention diverted from the road, putting pedestrians at risk. Increased awareness and stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting distracted driving are essential in ensuring pedestrian safety.
Speeding or Reckless Driving
Speeding or reckless driving significantly contributes to pedestrian accidents. Drivers who exceed the speed limit or engage in dangerous maneuvers have less time to react to pedestrians, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Traffic calming measures and stricter penalties for speeding and reckless driving can help reduce these risks to pedestrians.
Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way to Pedestrians
Drivers’ failure to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians is a common cause of accidents. When drivers disregard crosswalks or ignore pedestrians’ right-of-way, they endanger lives. Education and enforcement of right-of-way laws can help prevent such accidents and protect pedestrians.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to operate a vehicle safely. This impairment poses a significant risk to pedestrians. Strict enforcement of DUI laws and public awareness campaigns can help curb this dangerous behavior.
Poor Visibility or Inadequate Lighting
Poor visibility or inadequate lighting can contribute to pedestrian accidents, as drivers may struggle to see pedestrians in low-light conditions. Ensuring well-lit streets, crosswalks, and pedestrian pathways can reduce the risk of accidents and enhance pedestrian safety.
Faulty Traffic Signals or Road Signs
Faulty traffic signals or road signs can lead to confusion and accidents involving pedestrians. Proper maintenance and timely repair of traffic infrastructure are crucial in preventing pedestrian accidents and ensuring the safety of all road users.
Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents – The Physical and Emotional Toll
Pedestrian accidents can result in severe injuries or even fatalities, given the lack of protection for pedestrians compared to vehicle occupants. Common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) result from sudden impacts or jolts to the head, causing damage to brain tissue. TBIs can lead to cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments, affecting an individual’s quality of life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries involve spinal cord or nerve damage, leading to temporary or permanent loss of sensation, mobility, and function below the injury site. Such injuries often require long-term care and rehabilitation.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Broken bones and fractures occur when excessive force is applied to the bone, causing it to break or crack. These injuries can be simple to complex and may require surgery or prolonged immobilization.
Lacerations and Abrasions
Lacerations are deep cuts or tears in the skin, while abrasions are superficial scrapes. Both can result from pedestrian accidents and may require stitches, infection management, and scar treatment.
Internal Organ Damage
Internal organ damage involves injuries to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, or lungs. Such damage can result in severe complications, often requiring surgery or other medical intervention to prevent life-threatening conditions.
Emotional Trauma, Such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Emotional trauma from pedestrian accidents, including PTSD, can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s mental health. Symptoms may include flashbacks, anxiety, and depression, requiring professional therapy and support.
Do You Have a Claim? – Understanding Your Legal Options
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Boca Raton, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other
damages. To have a valid claim, you must prove that the driver or another party was negligent and their negligence directly caused your injuries.
Examples of negligence include speeding, distracted driving, or failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options.
How to File a Claim – Navigating the Legal Process
Filing a pedestrian accident claim can be complex and time-consuming. The process typically involves the following steps:
- Seek medical attention and document your injuries.
- Report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Gather evidence, such as photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and any available surveillance footage.
- Consult a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer to review your case and discuss your legal options.
Your attorney will help you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit if necessary.
Keep in mind that Florida follows a no-fault insurance system, which means your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance may cover your initial medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault. However, if your injuries are severe or meet specific criteria, you may be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance for additional compensation.
How Our Law Firm Can Help – Expertise and Compassion at Work
At Fetterman & Associates, PA, our Boca Raton pedestrian accident lawyers have extensive experience representing victims in their pursuit of justice and compensation. Our team is committed to providing compassionate, personalized legal representation, and we work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
We handle all aspects of your case, from investigating the accident and gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies and, if necessary, taking your case to trial.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Answers to Your Queries
Q: What should I do immediately after a pedestrian accident?
A: Seek medical attention, report the accident to the police, and document the scene and your injuries. It’s also essential to consult with a pedestrian accident lawyer immediately.
Q: How long do I have to file a claim?
A: In Florida, you generally have four years to file a personal injury claim from the accident date. However, contacting an attorney as soon as possible is best to preserve evidence and build a strong case.
Q: What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
A: Florida follows a pure comparative negligence rule, meaning that your fault percentage may reduce your compensation. However, you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault.
Q: How much is my pedestrian accident claim worth?
A: The value of your claim depends on the severity of your injuries, the extent of your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help evaluate your case and estimate your potential compensation.
Q: Will my case go to trial?
A: Most pedestrian accident claims are resolved through settlements with insurance companies. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may advise taking your case to trial to secure the compensation you deserve.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to handle my pedestrian accident claim?
A: While you’re not legally required to hire a lawyer, having an experienced pedestrian accident attorney on your side can significantly increase your chances of obtaining the maximum compensation for your injuries. They will navigate the complex legal process, gather crucial evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your best interests.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer?
A: Most pedestrian accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay any upfront fees. Instead, your attorney will receive a percentage of the settlement or judgment you receive if your case is successful. This arrangement ensures you access high-quality legal representation without worrying about upfront costs.
Let Our Boca Raton Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Help with Your Claim
Consulting with a knowledgeable and compassionate pedestrian accident lawyer is crucial if you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Boca Raton.
Fetterman & Associates, PA is here to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options.