Florida offers enviable tropical weather, an abundance of beaches, and tourist attractions that draw visitors from around the globe. Foot traffic is extremely common whether we are talking about University of Miami students headed to the beach or nightclubs on the weekend, tourists visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, or fitness minded individuals jogging to stay in shape. During a six year period ending in 2012, 333 pedestrians were killed in pedestrian accidents in Orlando with similar pedestrian death tolls in Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa, which makes Florida the nation’s deadliest state for pedestrians. This two-part blog post examines the risk of injury and death faced by a Florida pedestrian, as well as the challenges and benefits of pursuing a legal claim for injuries or wrongful death.
Florida Receives Notorious Title “Most Dangerous U.S. State for Pedestrians”
During the 2000 decade and so far this decade, the author of a widely cited study based on census data that evaluated pedestrian safety ranked Orlando as the nation’s deadliest city. Tampa was the second most dangerous city with Jacksonville not far behind in third. Approximately 850 pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles in Central Florida annually with about 150 suffering debilitating injuries and 40-70 dying.
While Miami has not yet been mentioned, it would be a mistake to Miami is safer. Orlando has the second worst pedestrian fatality rate of any major metro area behind only Miami. The main reason Orlando has garnered the title of deadliest city in America for pedestrians rather than Miami is that Miami has a higher number of walkers, joggers and runners, so the percentage of fatalities is lower based on the total number of pedestrians.
Challenges in Seeking Compensation for Injuries: Disputes over Fault
Injured pedestrians tend to suffer devastating injuries that can cause permanent mental and physical disabilities, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, and internal organ damage. These types of injuries can result in months or even years of hospital treatment and rehabilitation, as well as partial or total permanent disability. Skyrocketing medical bills combined with the long-term disability of a primary wage earner can undermine the financial security of a family. While a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death action might result in the recovery of much needed monetary compensation, the issue of fault often is hotly contested.
Many people might be surprised to learn that of the 1,188 serious crashes from 2007 through 2012 that resulted in debilitating injury or death to a pedestrian, pedestrians were at-fault 80 percent of the time according to an analysis by the Orlando Sentinel. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the insurance company for the motorist will routinely attempt to blame the pedestrian. The insurance carrier for the driver might argue the pedestrian “darted” into a roadway with a high speed limit, so the driver did not have a reasonable amount of time to stop. The scenario can be even more complicated when the pedestrian is wearing dark clothes at night.
Insurance companies usually attempt to shift responsibility for causing a pedestrian-auto collision to the person on foot. If the insurer for the driver is able to convince the jury that a pedestrian failed to take reasonable care for his or her own safety, the amount of the pedestrian’s recovery will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the pedestrian. If a pedestrian suffers a traumatic brain injury that results in damages amounting to a million dollars, the amount the pedestrian would actually receive would be reduced to $800,000 if the jury apportions fault 80 percent to the driver and 20 percent to the pedestrian.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Injuries and Wrongful Death Suffered in Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
If you or a family member has been injured in a pedestrian accident, our Florida Pedestrian Accident Injury Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.