Everyone should be able to cross the street and walk on the sidewalk without fear of getting hit by a negligent driver or struck by a piece of falling construction equipment. No one expects that a quick stroll or lunchtime walk will put their life in danger. However, it may come as a surprise that recent studies rank the Greater Tampa Area as the fourth-deadliest city for pedestrians in the nation.
When walking on foot, you have no protection against the force and weight of a motor vehicle. Consequently, the resulting injuries of a pedestrian accident can be severe or even fatal. Following a pedestrian incident, injured parties may have grounds to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death case.
The experienced Tampa pedestrian accident lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys provide tailored solutions to help our clients seek rightful compensation. Our Tampa office serves clients throughout Central Florida, including Tampa, Spring Hill, and Wesley Chapel. Call us at 813-915-1110 to schedule a free consultation.
Why Choose Hancock Injury Attorneys?
Pedestrian accidents are likely to leave their victims in unrelenting pain, facing rising medical expenses, and under the overwhelming stress of not knowing what to do next. It can take a large amount of time and money to recover from an accident like this, and some, unfortunately, do not recover fully from their injuries.
With so much to worry about, you don’t need the added stress of dealing with dozens of calls from the insurance company. This is where we can help. If a careless motorist has injured you or an immediate family member, consult a Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer for assistance. A compassionate personal injury lawyer could assist you and your family with seeking compensation for your losses, and help you get back on your feet.
Our Tampa-based attorneys are familiar with the local court system, judges, and opposing attorneys, giving us an advantage during negotiations and legal proceedings. Hancock Injury Attorneys can provide effective tailored legal representation specific to the area. Contact us today to discuss your case and discover how we can help you on your path to justice.
Our Office Locations
Our primary offices are located in Tampa at 1317 W Fletcher Ave., Tampa, Florida 33612. You can reach us by phone at the Tampa office at 813-915-1110. We have additional offices in Wesley Chapel at 2224 Ashley Oaks Circle, Suite 102-E, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544. Call the Wesley Chapel office at 813-537-6927. We serve clients in Tampa, Spring Hill, Wesley Chapel, and throughout central Florida.
Pedestrian Accidents in Tampa and Florida
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Tampa Bay area residents travel roads with the highest traffic fatality rate per capita among large counties in the United States. Over a six-year reporting period, nearly 1,300 people died because of motor vehicle crashes in the county.
FHWA reports the Tampa Bay area also has one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities among metropolitan areas in the United States. On average, one pedestrian and one bicyclist are involved in a crash per day. Many people are severely injured or killed in these incidents.
A recent report by Smart Growth America notes that Florida is the second deadliest state for pedestrians with an average of 3.22 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people annually. In its four-year study, 3,420 pedestrians were killed in the state.
The study placed the Tampa area, together with St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as the fourth deadliest city in the nation for pedestrians. The Tampa area recorded 559 pedestrian deaths in the four-year reporting period, an average of 3.55 deaths per 100,000 people annually.
The most current national injury data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that Florida’s injury rates were 12.57% higher than the national average for unintentional injuries. Compared with the nation's six most populous states, Florida's injury death rates were highest in the following categories: motor vehicle injuries, suicides, drowning, pedestrians, and pedal cyclists.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), on its Florida Crash Dashboard, reports there were 276,492 crashes in the state at the latest count, accounting for 2,331 deaths and 176,029 injuries. In Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, there were 22,967 crashes during the reporting period, with 176 fatalities and 15,879 injuries.
The Tampa area saw a total of 537 pedestrian crashes with a total of 51 pedestrian fatalities.
Typical Causes of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Common causes of pedestrian injuries in Tampa include:
- Crosswalk Accidents: Pedestrians can be injured when drivers fail to yield the right of way at crosswalks or when pedestrians don't cross at designated crosswalks.
- Distracted Driving: Drivers distracted by mobile phones, in-car entertainment, or other distractions may not see pedestrians in time to avoid accidents.
- Speeding: High speeds increase the severity of pedestrian accidents. Speeding drivers may not have enough time to react and stop when encountering pedestrians.
- Impaired Driving: Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs may have impaired judgment and slower reaction times, making them more likely to collide with pedestrians.
- Intersection Accidents: Collisions at intersections can be particularly dangerous for pedestrians, especially when drivers fail to stop at red lights or stop signs.
- Turning Vehicles: Pedestrians are vulnerable when drivers make turns at intersections and fail to yield or check for pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Parking Lots: Accidents can occur in parking lots when drivers back out of spaces without noticing pedestrians walking behind their vehicles.
Pedestrians should use crosswalks and be cautious when crossing streets, while drivers should always be alert and adhere to traffic laws to ensure the safety of pedestrians.
Negligence in Pedestrian Accident Claim
In most traffic scenarios, pedestrians have the right of way, so you may have the opportunity to hold the responsible person accountable for their actions. All drivers are legally responsible for following traffic laws and driving safely to protect everyone on the roadways, including other motorists, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Drivers who violate this legal duty or drive with wanton disregard for the safety of others may be liable for any injuries they cause.
In Florida, there are specific laws and driver responsibilities when it comes to pedestrian safety. Here are some key points to be aware of:
- Yielding to Pedestrians: Florida law requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in marked crosswalks and at intersections where there are no traffic signals. Even if there is no marked crosswalk, drivers must yield to pedestrians if they are within the same half of the roadway as the vehicle or are approaching closely enough from the other half of the roadway to be in danger.
- Stopping for School Buses: Drivers must come to a complete stop when a school bus is stopped with its stop sign extended and lights flashing, regardless of whether the driver is approaching from behind or in the opposite direction. This is to ensure the safety of children getting on or off the bus.
- Reduced Speed in School Zones: In designated school zones, speed limits are reduced during specific hours to enhance safety for children. Drivers must adhere to these reduced speed limits when school is in session.
- Use of Crosswalks: Pedestrians are generally required to use crosswalks when provided, and drivers should be vigilant and watch for pedestrians in these areas. However, drivers should always exercise caution and be prepared to stop for pedestrians at intersections, whether marked or unmarked.
- No Passing Stopped Vehicles: Drivers are not allowed to pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross. This ensures pedestrians can safely make their way across the road.
- Care at Intersections: Drivers must exercise additional caution at intersections to avoid colliding with pedestrians who may be crossing the road.
- No Overtaking Near Crosswalks: Drivers are not allowed to overtake another vehicle that is stopped or slowing down at a marked or unmarked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross.
Drivers should be aware of and follow these rules to ensure the safety of pedestrians on the road. Failure to follow these rules could result in legal negligence under state law.
Florida follows a "pure comparative negligence" system. In cases where an injured person is partially at fault for their own injuries, their compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a pedestrian is found to be 20% at fault for an accident, their compensation is reduced by 20%. This means that even if the injured party shares some responsibility, they can still recover damages, but the amount they receive is proportionate to their degree of fault.
Florida's comparative negligence law can significantly impact the amount of compensation an injured person can receive in a personal injury claim. A skilled Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer can explain these laws and work to obtain the injured parties' maximum compensation.
Legal Responsibilities of Pedestrians in Tampa
State traffic laws concerning pedestrians can be found in § 316.130 of the Florida Statutes. For your safety, please be aware of the following regulations:
- Where sidewalks are available, no pedestrian is permitted to walk on the part of the road specified for motor vehicles.
- Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians should walk along the left shoulder of the road, facing the approaching traffic.
- At intersections with traffic signals, drivers must stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street.
- Jaywalking is not permitted, meaning when traffic signals are in operation, pedestrians may only cross at the crosswalk.
If you are accused of violating any of these laws, you could be barred from collecting compensation or have your damages award reduced. Whether or not you broke a traffic law at the time of the accident, you should retain a skilled lawyer who could help you contest partial fault accusations in a pedestrian collision case.
Determining the Value of a Pedestrian Injury Claim
If you have been injured due to the negligence of other parties, you must prove that you suffered damages to recover any compensation. Damages can consist of both economic and non-economic losses. Financial losses could include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Surgical costs
- Prescription co-pays
- Costs of medical assistive devices and equipment
- Lost wages
Typical kinds of non-economic damages include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you developed a permanent impairment after a collision at a crosswalk, you might also seek damages for future medical expenses and necessary care. In some instances, you and your family could seek compensation if your loved one lost their life in an accident.
Reduced Compensation for Partial Fault
Even if you were not using a crosswalk, you could still make a claim against the driver for negligence. However, because the state follows the comparative fault doctrine, the jury may apportion a share of the fault for your damages to you, reducing your recovery by the amount of your comparative fault. If a jury awards you $10,000 in damages, but that jury also finds that you were 25 percent at fault for the accident, you would only receive $7,500.
Florida Statute of Limitations
It's important to know the statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death claims in your state. Filing your claim within the designated time frame is crucial. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a personal injury or wrongful death claim is typically two years. If you don’t file your claim within the required timeframe, you may lose your right to seek compensation.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me with a Tampa Pedestrian Injury Claim?
A lawyer can help you with your personal injury claim after a pedestrian accident by managing the complex legal process and working to secure the compensation you deserve. Here's how a lawyer can assist you:
- Legal Knowledge: A lawyer has a deep understanding of Florida's pedestrian accident laws, ensuring that your claim is handled in compliance with state regulations.
- Investigation: They can thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to build a strong case.
- Determining Liability: Your lawyer will work to establish liability, identifying whether the driver or other parties were at fault for your injuries.
- Calculating Damages: They will assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future costs.
- Negotiating with Insurers: Your attorney can handle negotiations with insurance companies to secure a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can represent you in court, advocating for your rights during litigation.
- Reducing Comparative Negligence: If you are partially at fault for the accident, your lawyer can work to minimize your share of responsibility to maximize your compensation.
- Managing Legal Procedures: They will navigate the legal process, file necessary paperwork, and ensure all deadlines are met.
- Mediation or Settlement: Your lawyer can represent you in mediation or settlement talks to seek a resolution outside of court.
- Compassionate Support: A lawyer will provide you with guidance, support, and reassurance during a challenging time, ensuring you understand your rights and options.
Contact Hancock Injury Attorneys Today
The aftermath of being hit as a pedestrian can be a challenging time for you and your family. You may need help with how to proceed. Our Tampa pedestrian accident attorneys can help. We can give you the advice and counsel you need to move forward. Working with a Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer may be the most effective way to protect your right to pursue damages for your injuries. Holding negligent parties accountable may also prevent them from inflicting similar injuries on others. Contact us by calling 813-915-1110 or filling out the contact form on this website so that you can focus on getting better while we take care of everything else.