Who is Negligent When a Pedestrian is Hit by a Vehicle?
While the vehicle operator is usually at fault for hitting a pedestrian, the pedestrian may also be found to have had an opportunity to avoid the collision and, therefore, insurance companies usually try to place some percentage of blame on the pedestrian. Drivers and pedestrians both owe each other a duty of care. The person who fails to uphold their duty of care will typically be found negligent and liable for any accident that occurs as a result.
Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence Rule
Florida recognizes the pure comparative negligence rule which allows apportionment of fault to multiple parties. Even if a pedestrian is found to be 99% at fault, they are still allowed to pursue compensation from the driver who is found to be 1% at fault. Under this rule, settlements and jury awards will be reduced by the party’s percentage of fault.
For example, imagine you are struck by a car as a pedestrian and found to be 10% at fault, while the driver is found to be 90% at fault for the accident. If a jury awarded you $100,000 for damages but found you 10% responsible for contributing to the accident, your recovery would be decreased by 10% to account for your percentage of fault in the accident, which means you would receive $90,000 in compensation. Because insurance companies usually attempt to place a large percentage of the blame on the pedestrian, it is very important that you hire an experienced attorney to investigate the accident and protect your rights to ensure blame is not wrongfully placed on the pedestrian.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Florida law allows plaintiffs to recover economic and non-economic damages in personal injury claims. Economic damages include easily quantifiable damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and in the case of a wrongful death claim, funeral and burial expenses. Non-economic damages are those that are more difficult to quantify and typically include compensation for loss of the enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and any additional pain and suffering.
What Steps Should I Take to Pursue a Claim?
The first step you should take if you have been injured or someone you love has been incapacitated or killed in a pedestrian accident is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can assess your claim and provide guidance at each phase of the legal process. There is a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida, which means you must file a civil lawsuit within four years of the date of the accident.
If your loved one has been left incapacitated or has died after being hit as a pedestrian, you should speak with an attorney immediately to file a civil suit or wrongful death action against the negligent driver. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is only two years from the date of death, so it’s important to act quickly.
You Deserve an Experienced Advocate On Your Side
Recovering damages requires a thorough investigation of the accident. Establishing liability and understanding comparative negligence will be critical to your claim. This may require witness statements, medical experts, and crash engineers, or other experts. Don’t face these challenges on your own. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is your best option for documenting a claim and garnering compensation. With extensive experience handling personal injury litigation, I have the knowledge and expertise needed to help you pursue the compensation you need. Don’t wait. Call or reach out to my firm, Steven J. Litvack P.A., today to schedule a free case evaluation. Let me help you pursue justice!