In the United States, a pedestrian dies in an accident every 88 minutes. Many other people, including pedestrians and the drivers involved, sustain injuries. Roughly half of the deaths occur in just five states, and Florida leads the pack. If you live in Florida, you should know the facts about pedestrian-involved crashes and what to do if you’re ever involved in one.

Who is most likely to be the victim of a pedestrian accident?

According to the CDC, people over 65 and children age five and under are most likely to be hit by cars while walking. Minorities and people walking in poor communities are also disproportionately affected, unfortunately. 

If I was hit by a car while walking, what should I do now?

As with any car accident, if you are able, call 911 immediately. Take photos and video of the scene, get the driver’s information and the information of any witnesses. File a report with the police and seek medical attention, even if you’re not sure you need it. As soon as you finish immediate emergency medical treatment, contact a lawyer who handles pedestrian accident cases

What insurance covers bike or pedestrian accidents?

Pedestrian accidents can get highly complex, with both medical insurance and auto insurance policies coming into play. Generally, personal injury protection (PIP) on an auto policy would pay for medical bills. This compensation may come from the pedestrian’s own auto policy, even though they were not driving at the time of the crash. If the pedestrian does not own a vehicle or does not have auto insurance, the driver’s PIP may cover expenses. In the event that PIP will not fully cover costs, injured parties may have to pursue coverage through their health insurance carrier. If the pedestrian is not a Florida resident, they would not be covered by PIP and would need to turn to health insurance coverage.

Naturally, every insurance company seeks to escape responsibility and/or pay out as little as possible, meaning legal assistance is often required to get medical bills paid.

How long does it take to settle with an insurance carrier after a pedestrian car accident?

Settling a pedestrian accident claim can take anywhere from from a few months to several years, depending on the nature and severity of injuries, length of medical treatment, and how much resistance the insurance companies exert. Sometimes, these cases go to trial, adding more time to the duration.

How long after an accident can a pedestrian claim injury?

Unless the victim dies, the Florida statute of limitations on personal injury cases, including pedestrian car accidents, is four years. Some kinds of injuries require long term treatment, for example six month of physical therapy, or multiple surgeries. Sometimes the full extent of injuries is not known right away. It is important to follow through on all medical treatment and keep careful records. A letter from an attorney can help keep medical providers from pursuing payment until the victim is able to collect compensation.

How much should you ask for pain and suffering in a pedestrian accident?

In addition to medical bills, a victim in a pedestrian accident may be able to seek compensation for other expenses, including lost wages and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is always the most difficult kind of compensation to calculate, since it is not tied to a specific monetary expense. Note that a claim against a government agency or its employee cannot exceed $200,000 per person. Apart from that guideline, you will only discover how much you can get in a pedestrian accident settlement by working with an experienced attorney who can review the details or your individual case.

What happens if a pedestrian caused an accident?

Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to follow laws and exercise reasonable care on the roads, which include crosswalks and intersections. Contrary to popular belief, a pedestrian is not always in the right. A driver or pedestrian who breaks the law can be found liable if their actions lead to an accident. If the pedestrian’s actions are deemed the sole cause, they will probably not be able to recover compensation for injuries. If the driver gets injured or their car is damaged, they may actually be able to sue the pedestrian for compensation.

What if a pedestrian leaves the scene of an accident?

Leaving the scene of an accident, even if you did not cause it, is a criminal act. It is in the pedestrian’s interest to stay to get medical attention and speak to the police, regardless of how the accident occurred. If you hit a person with your car, they leave the scene, and you are injured, the police may attempt to locate the person. Any witnesses can prove helpful in piecing together what happened and attempting to identify all parties.

Why do you need a lawyer if you’re involved in a pedestrian accident?

Vehicle accidents are complicated, involving traffic laws, road conditions, weather, and the behavior of each person involved. Insurance companies review hundreds of accident claims every day and know all of the nuances to examine and gaps to look for. As a person involved in an accident, you do not have all of the information. You cannot see everything that transpired, know all of the related laws, or maintain an objective perspective. In other words, the insurance companies hold a major advantage over you. You need an injury attorney on your side who can parse all of the information and guide you toward the full compensation you deserve.

Matthews Injury Law specializes in pedestrian accidents

The personal injury attorneys at Matthews Injury Law fight for the rights of pedestrian crash victims — including pedestrians and drivers —  throughout Florida. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in the Tampa Bay area, Sarasota or another part of Florida, Matthews Injury Law can help you get the settlement you deserve. To request a free consultation, reach out to us today.

Matthews Injury Law is also committed to providing safe sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians and bicyclists in the communities we serve. We support non-profit organizations and efforts to make Florida safer for those trying to enjoy the outdoors safely. Contact us to learn more about what we are doing to help protect you and your family.

The information on this page was either written or reviewed for accuracy by attorney Marc Matthews. Marc is a managing partner at Matthews Injury Law and has been an advocate for safer crosswalks and sidewalks for school children in the Tampa area.