In a car or truck collision, a pedestrian will almost always suffer catastrophic injuries. It’s rare that a pedestrian bears all the fault for an accident. That is why, if you sustain injuries in a pedestrian accident, you likely have the right to significant financial compensation.
To recover the maximum compensation you deserve, let the experienced Fort Myers personal injury attorneys at Viles & Beckman help. We have years of experience helping victims of pedestrian accidents obtain the funds they need to regain their health and rebuild their lives.
Common Injuries in a Fort Myers Pedestrian Crash
Some chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, make the healing process for these injuries even more difficult and prolonged. Be sure to tell your attorney of any medical condition you have that makes your pain and suffering worse—you may have the right to additional compensation.
The injuries listed below comprise just some of the injuries you can expect if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian. Every person’s injury is different, as is every person’s road to recovery. Our compassionate pedestrian acciden attorneys have years of experience representing injured Floridians.
We have particular familiarity with the medical and financial challenges associated with healing from severe injuries or catastrophic injuries. No matter what your injury, we encourage you to speak with us about the support you need in order to recover and return to a “normal” life.
Pedestrians do not stand much of a chance in a collision with a motor vehicle. Even just a “tap” by a vehicle could cause serious injury, depending on how the vehicle hits a pedestrian. Injuries could include:
Head and Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury from sustaining a blow to the head can leave a victim permanently unconscious or with lifelong motor, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. This can result in years of physical therapy and other medical treatments.
Neck, Shoulder, and Spine Injuries
Spine injuries often cause permanent damage, including paralysis that confines victims to mobility devices for the rest of their lives. Neck and spine injuries can also cause chronic pain and disability.
Internal Bleeding and Organ Damage
The violent impact of a body against a hard road surface or the front of a vehicle can damage internal organs, resulting in internal bleeding and swelling that often proves life-threatening and requires multiple surgeries and hospitalizations to treat.
Abrasions and Lacerations
A rough road surface and sharp metal can inflict deep wounds that bleed profusely, risk becoming infected, and take a long time to heal, sometimes requiring multiple, painful skin graft surgeries.
Torn Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons
Even when injuries do not threaten a person’s life, they can cause serious pain and disability. A torn or ruptured muscle, ligament, or tendon can take months or more to heal. Even then, it may never work the way it once did, leaving the victim with lasting disabilities.
Simple bone breaks heal but are painful. More commonly in pedestrian accidents, however, bone breaks involve multiple complex fractures that require surgery, implants, and physical therapy, and they still may never heal properly.
For a free legal consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer serving Fort Myers, call (239) 334-3933
How Long You Have to File Your Pedestrian Accident Claim
When you are injured as a pedestrian, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a claim against the negligent party under Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a). It’s best to file your claim early in order to increase the chances of winning your case and winning a higher compensation.
While the statute of limitations is four years in Florida, you may have more or less time depending on the details of your case. The only way to know how long you have to file is to contact a Fort Myers pedestrian accident attorney that can tell you the best time to file.
If you try to file your claim after the statute of limitations of four years, you will not be able to receive any compensation. The sooner you contact a pedestrian accident attorney, the easier it will be to start building your case. An attorney can help you gather evidence, file your claim on time, and build a strong case.
Fort Myers Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Near Me (239) 334-3933
How to Prove Negligence in a Pedestrian Accident
In order to prove that a person was negligent in their actions in a pedestrian accident, there must be four elements: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages that resulted from the accident.
A duty of care means that the person who is suspected to be negligent has a responsibility to adhere to a reasonable amount of care toward a person. In the case of a pedestrian accident, the driver had a duty of care to drive safely and not hit pedestrians.
The second element is that there must be a breach of the duty of care. This means that the person who was supposed to provide a reasonable amount of care did not. If a driver on the road hits a pedestrian, they have violated the duty of care.
The third element is causation. You must be able to prove that the person who breached the duty of care is indeed the cause of their injuries. Causation can be proved by gathering relevant evidence that clearly shows that the driver caused their injuries.
The last element that is required to prove negligence is the presence of damages. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you must be able to show that the accident caused you physical damage that requires compensation to cover. A Fort Myers pedestrian accident lawyer can help you prove the negligence of the person who injured you as a pedestrian.
Reported Pedestrian Injuries in Lee County, FL
How to Recover Damages
Because pedestrians usually bear only a minor degree of fault, if any, for their accident and injuries, you have the right to take legal action to recover damages to get compensation for out-of-pocket costs, pain, loss, and difficulty. You can use these damages to pay for a number of costs related to your accident.
As a general matter, lawyers separate the damages potentially recoverable for a pedestrian accident into three categories: economic (or “special”), non-economic (or “general”), and punitive (or “exemplary”). We’ll go over these three categories in more detail.
Economic (a.k.a. “Special”) Damages
Economic damages consist of a victim’s and/or victim’s family’s actual out-of-pocket costs associated with a pedestrian accident and its resulting injuries. They typically include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Past and future lost wages for the time the victim and/or the victim’s family members cannot work because of injuries from the accident or the need to tend to an injured loved one
- Loss of earning capacity, if the victim can never return to work in his or her former capacity
- Services necessary to help a person heal from an accident, or to perform functions such as transportation, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, etc., that the injured person cannot perform because of a pedestrian accident injury
- The replacement of personal property you may have had on you in the accident if that property was damaged.
- If the victim of the accident tragically dies, the costs associated with a funeral, burial, and/or cremation.
Non-Economic (a.k.a. “General”) Damages
Non-economic damages compensate a victim for injuries and difficulties that do not necessarily have a fixed dollar amount associated with them. They frequently include:
- Pain and suffering: A victim has the right to compensation for the physical and emotional pain an accident causes and for the interruption and negative impact on the victim’s life.
- Loss of companionship: A victim and the victim’s family can recover compensation for the negative impact a pedestrian accident and resulting injuries have on personal relationships and the ability to enjoy time together.
- Loss of consortium: Victims and their spouses/partners also may recover compensation for the loss of a physically and/or emotionally intimate relationship.
- Loss of life enjoyment: To the extent not covered by the categories above, a victim may also have the ability to recover compensation for the impact the accident and injuries had on the victim’s ability to engage in life pursuits, such as a favorite hobby or sport.
The families of victims who tragically died in a pedestrian accident typically have the right to recover damages similar to those above in a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawyer can help you navigate how to build a wrongful death case for your loved one.
Punitive (a.k.a. “Exemplary”) Damages
Punitive (or “exemplary”) damages seek to right a wrong. They’re available under Florida law when the victim can present “clear and convincing evidence … that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.”
Punitive damages are less common than other damages, but they’re certainly possible in pedestrian accident cases where a driver recklessly disregards the safety of pedestrians or, worse, intentionally targets them.
Damages You Can Expect to Recover
Clients often want to know how much they can expect to recover in damages. At the beginning of a case, that is a very difficult question to answer. As the categories above reflect, the amount of damages depends very much on the specific facts of a case, including the severity of injuries, the prognosis for recovery, and the victim’s age and health when the accident happened.
Recovering damages also depends on someone being able to pay them. So, the amount of damages in a case can depend on the availability of insurance or on the personal or corporate assets of the parties with legal liability.
An experienced lawyer can help you calculate the appropriate amount of damages to seek in your case after having reviewed the facts and circumstances of your accident.
Finally, Florida is a no-fault insurance state. If the injured pedestrian also carries no-fault insurance coverage as a result of having registered a car here, it may cover the pedestrian in an accident involving a motor vehicle. A Fort Myers pedestrian accident attorney can help you figure out what insurance may cover your injuries in a pedestrian accident.
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If You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
In many cases, when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the pedestrian suffers catastrophic injuries. However, if you are not seriously injured, you could help your case by collecting as much information about the driver and accident scene as possible. In the event of a hit-and-run, pedestrians should try to remember the vehicle’s license plate number, make, model, and color.
As with all accidents, if you are able, get the driver’s name, address, and phone number. You should also get the driver’s registration and insurance information. You may also give the driver your contact information but never admit to any kind of fault to the driver, first responders, police, or your insurance company.
When you call the insurance company to advise insurance adjusters that you have been in an accident, give the date, time, and location of the accident and let the insurance company know that your attorney will be contacting it. It’s important to remember that you should never meet with an insurance company without the company of your Fort Myers pedestrian accident lawyer.
What Your Loved Ones Should Do
Because walking or jogging could be dangerous, especially on busy city streets, you should carry the contact information of a relative or friend that you trust to handle your affairs for you in the event that you suffer major injuries or are killed in a pedestrian accident. Instruct this person to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible.
You should also tell the loved one that he or she shouldn’t give any information to any insurance company or first responder that is about the accident. However, your emergency contact should be able to tell first responders information such as your allergies, who your doctor is, and other pertinent medical information.
If you have ever had surgery and have metal pins or other metal in your body, your loved one should also give first responders that information so that emergency room technicians don’t give you any magnetic testing, such as an MRI. The magnets in MRIs are extremely strong and can rip out any metal that you have in your body.
Walking and Jogging Safely
Of course, in the best of all worlds, you will never get into a pedestrian accident and never have to speak with a pedestrian accident attorney. Below are some tips to help keep yourself safe and injury-free as a pedestrian on Florida sidewalks and crosswalks.
- Keep music low. Many joggers and walkers like to listen to music with earplugs. While there isn’t a law against this, it could be dangerous if it prevents you from hearing what is going on around you. If you are going to listen to music, keep the volume low enough to remain aware of your surroundings. Hearing tires squealing or a horn could save you from getting seriously injured or could even save your life.
- Don’t text and walk. Screens are designed to hold our attention. As a result, many do not look up from their phones as they enter a crosswalk. They rely on drivers to see them and don’t realize that they may be in a driver’s blind spot. Or the driver may not be paying attention to his or her surroundings, either.
- Use crosswalks and obey traffic signals. Everyone jaywalks from time to time. But if there’s a crosswalk available, you should use it. Wait for a walk signal. Entering a road outside of a crosswalk or against a walk signal puts pedestrians at risk because drivers do not necessarily expect to see pedestrians in their path.
Why Crosswalk Accidents Happen
Most crosswalk accidents occur because of a motorist’s failure to yield the right of way. Too often, drivers zoom through crosswalks without realizing it or without caring to slow down and look before entering. That is unacceptable, and it leads to needless tragedy.
Crosswalks exist because society realizes that pedestrians need special protection when walking across a dangerous intersection or roadway. Drivers violating that special protection can be held accountable under the law, and their victims are entitled to economic reimbursement for the full value of their suffering.
Common causes of crosswalk accidents include:
- Texting while driving
- Other kinds of distracted driving
- Running red lights
- Running stop signs
- Attempting to “beat” a yellow light
- Negligently passing other vehicles near a crosswalk
- Making a turn without looking carefully first
- Failure to check blind spots (particularly problematic with Fort Myers commercial trucking accidents)
- Reckless driving
- Intoxication (DUI/DWI)
Florida Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the Miami Herald, Florida has the second highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the nation. The amount of pedestrian accidents increased 31% in the first six months of 2021. And those numbers don’t even count the huge number of pedestrians who do not die but still suffer severe, life-changing injuries in collisions with automobiles.
Why such high rates of pedestrian accidents in the Sunshine State? The blame lies with a combination of factors. In designing a wealth of wide, multilane streets and long blocks, road designers in Florida prioritized vehicle speed over pedestrian friendliness.
Florida’s population of elderly residents, who may have difficulty moving quickly through a wide intersection, also poses a risk factor. And Florida also has a high number of SUVs and trucks, which tend to cause greater injuries than smaller cars in a collision with a pedestrian.
Contact a Viles & Beckman Fort Myers Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
If you have sustained an injury or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident in the Fort Myers, Florida area, it’s likely you have a right to recover significant compensation. One of our Fort Myers pedestrian accident lawyers can help you build a strong case and fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you’re ready to start fighting for your rights, so are we. Contact Viles & Beckman for a free consultation with a member of our team to learn how we can help during this difficult time of your life. Give us a call or fill out the contact form to start building your case today.