Compensation for Pedestrian Accidents
If you are injured or a loved one killed in a pedestrian accident in South Florida, the financial impact may not be foremost on your mind, but it certainly can’t be overlooked. You probably have several options for compensation, particularly if the driver who struck you was clearly at-fault.
Pedestrian injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale at The Ansara Law Firm work diligently to help clients obtain compensation for their losses.Types of Damages
Compensable losses may include:
- Money paid for past or future medical bills because of the crash.
- Lost wages – either because you were out-of-work for a time, haven’t been able to return to work at all or will never again work in the same capacity as before due to the collision.
- Money spent for incidentals like travel to medical appointments, payments for hired help around the house while you recover, etc.
- Recovery for pain and suffering. This is one that can be hard to quantify, but being struck by a motor vehicle while on foot is probably one of the most physically painful types of collisions, and the road to recovery may be extremely difficult. You deserve compensation for that.
- Mental anguish . This goes along with loss of life enjoyment. When you are no longer able to enjoy activities and relationship as you once did or you are no longer able to complete the tasks of daily living, it can be emotionally agonizing.
- Loss of consortium . This is compensation to loved ones for the loss of your companionship. It’s usually collected by spouses, but can also be asserted by children and parents.
Collectively, these are called “damages.” Specifically, these types of damages are referred to as “compensatory damages,” because they allow you to be compensated for specific losses.
There are also “punitive damages,” which are paid to you, but intended to punish the negligent party. Per F.S. 768.72, you cannot make a claim for punitive damages unless you can first show defendant engaged in intentional misconduct or gross negligence (i.e., defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care, it constituted a conscious disregard for the life, safety or rights of persons exposed to such conduct). Generally, in pedestrian accident cases, we’ll only see this arise in cases where the motorist was drunk.How Much Is My Claim Worth?
The exact amount of damages to which you are entitled following a pedestrian accident in Florida will depend on a myriad of factors.
First and foremost, the question will be who was at-fault. Your obligations as a pedestrian are outlined in F.S. 316.130. You have a duty to obey all traffic laws and use reasonable care. However, even if you do not and you share some portion of the blame for what happened, that doesn’t mean you are out of options. Florida is a pure comparative fault state, per F.S. 768.81, which means you being partially at-fault won’t stop you from making a claim. It can, however, proportionately reduce the amount of damages you can receive.
For instance, if you are deemed 70 percent at-fault and the driver is 30 percent at fault and your damages are calculated at $100,000, you can only collect $30,000. You can see why it’s often still worth pursuing the claim anyway.
You may also be entitled to personal injury protection (PIP) benefits – up to $10,000 – regardless of who was at-fault, even though you weren’t driving a car. As long as you were struck by a motor vehicle, it’s generally still considered an “auto accident” for insurance purposes.
Proving the driver was negligent could mean showing a violation of law (per se negligence), but it could also mean showing failure to use reasonable care. The proof burden in civil negligence lawsuits is on the plaintiff (you). You will be required to show:
- Defendant owed a duty of care;
- Defendant breached that duty of care;
- Defendant’s breach of care caused the accident;
- You suffered injuries as a result of the accident.
Another factor that could impact the amount you receive after a pedestrian accident is how many defendants there are and how much insurance they have. This might seem like an obvious question, particularly if the only people involved were you and the driver.
However, consider the driver is operating a vehicle owned by someone else. In many cases, the owner of the vehicle can be found vicariously liable – even if they were not personally in any way negligent. Similarly, if the driver was someone who was on-the-job, the driver’s employer can be held vicariously liable under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior. Another element to explore is poor road design/ maintenance. If there is any evidence that this was a problem intersection or road and the agency responsible for that road failed to address it, that could be grounds to assert a case against the government. If the pedestrian was a child walking to school or getting on the bus, our attorneys would want to look carefully at whether the child was under the supervision/ protection of the school at the time of the accident, which may be grounds for liability.
Another factor that could affect how much you receive is your own insurance coverage. Specifically, if you carried uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. These are benefits paid when the driver who struck you:
- Didn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages (common in pedestrian accident cases, which tend to involve severe injuries);
- Didn’t have any insurance, as required (1 in 4 Florida drivers are uninsured);
- Was not identified/ hit-and-run driver (as is the case in 1 in 5 fatal pedestrian accidents, according to the NHTSA).
That means if you’re covered under a UM/UIM policy, you’re more likely to receive adequate compensation. Of course, pedestrians aren’t required to carry this insurance, but it can certainly help if you’re struck by a negligent driver who can’t cover the full extent of your damages.
If you have questions about how much your South Florida pedestrian accident claim may be worth, our injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys offer free initial consultations, which can help you decide whether pursuit of your claim is worthwhile.
Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer – (954) 761-4011 – Free Consultation