Naples Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrians are classified as “vulnerable road users,” along with motorcyclists and bicyclists, by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) because of their extreme susceptibility to serious injury or death in a collision with a motor vehicle. In its Crash Facts 2020 report, the FLHSMV reported 8,117 pedestrian accidents in the state, resulting in 718 fatalities, 1,265 incapacitating injuries, and 5,039 other injuries. In Collier County, four pedestrians lost their lives in 2020, and another 105 were hurt in the 135 pedestrian accidents that happened here.
Pedestrian accidents can be painful, debilitating, and horrifyingly traumatic. Victims can be left permanently disabled or disfigured or facing a long and painful recovery. Too often these encounters are fatal, leaving family members bereft of their loved ones to deal with the pain and loss and financial hardship caused by a driver’s negligence.
Cardinal Law is a Naples personal injury law firm dedicated to helping accident victims recover the full amount of compensation they are owed after being harmed by another’s negligence. We understand the pain and adversity you are experiencing after a pedestrian accident, which is why we do our best to take care of you and help you get the best result possible. Call our Naples pedestrian accident lawyers for a free consultation after a pedestrian accident in Naples or Southwest Florida, and let us explain how we can help you in your time of need.
Southwest Florida Is a Dangerous Place for Pedestrians
The nonprofit Smart Growth America lists the most dangerous cities in America for pedestrians. Eight of the top 20 worst cities are in Florida, including Cape Coral-Fort Myers (#11) and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (#6) in Southwest Florida. The problem has been getting worse, too. In the decade before the pandemic, pedestrian accidents increased an astonishing 45%, and the last three years were the worst for pedestrians in 30 years. Part of the blame lies with cities designing their streets for speed and improved traffic flow without giving enough thought to pedestrian safety. Add in speeding drivers who get distracted by their phones and don’t notice pedestrians, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Florida Laws for Pedestrians and Motorists
Safety is a two-way street, and Florida law imposes obligations on both pedestrians and motorists to take care to avoid pedestrian accidents. Here are some of the main laws that apply to motorists and pedestrians regarding traffic safety.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. Pedestrians can still lawfully cross the street where there is no marked crosswalk, even in the middle of the street, but there they must yield the right-of-way to motorists. Outside of a marked crosswalk, pedestrians bear the burden of crossing safely.
Pedestrians should use sidewalks where they are present or walk on the left shoulder of the road where there are no sidewalks.
Pedestrians should obey traffic signals.
Pedestrians should look both ways before crossing the street and refrain from suddenly darting out into the street.
When approaching an intersection controlled by a stop sign or red traffic light, motorists should stop behind the crosswalk. If a pedestrian is crossing the street, the driver must stay stopped until the pedestrian has crossed over to the other half of the roadway. This rule applies if the pedestrian is already in the street, stepping off the curb, or coming from the other half of the roadway so close that it would be dangerous to the pedestrian for the driver to move forward.
Recovering Compensation from Negligent Drivers After a Naples Pedestrian Accident
Crosswalks are the most dangerous place for pedestrians and the site of most pedestrian accidents, even though they are the one place where pedestrians are required to cross and have the right-of-way. Accidents happen when drivers don’t yield to pedestrians as they should, when they turn left or right without noticing pedestrians in the crosswalk, or when they run red lights or stop signs. The other main danger to pedestrians comes when a car has stopped to allow a pedestrian to pass, but a following vehicle doesn’t grasp the situation, swerves around the stopped car and strikes the pedestrian. This is an unlawful vehicle maneuver precisely for the reason that it causes pedestrian crashes.
Pedestrians who are struck while crossing the street or walking along the roadway can make a claim for no-fault insurance under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP benefits will pay for 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000, so long as the accident victim seeks medical attention within 14 days and has an “emergency medical condition” as defined by Florida law. Otherwise, PIP benefits max out at $2,500 or could be unavailable.
If the pedestrian suffered a serious injury in the accident, they can move outside the no-fault limits and sue the negligent driver for the full amount of their present and future medical expenses, lost wages or disability, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and other personal injury damages. You might think that anytime a driver hits a pedestrian, the injuries will be serious, but to count as a “serious injury” under Florida PIP law, the crash must have resulted in one of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
Outside of no-fault claims, the burden is on the injury victim to prove that the other driver was somehow negligent – speeding, texting while driving, drinking and driving, inattentive, etc. – and this negligence caused the accident. Cardinal Law can help you put together this case and represent you in settlement negotiations with the insurance company or in litigation if the carrier disputes their driver’s liability or the amount of damages you suffered. Our goal is to make sure you are taken care of while working to get you top dollar for the full value of your claim.
Get Help Today After a Pedestrian Accident in Naples or Southwest Florida
Based on Naples, our personal injury law firm represents pedestrian accident victims throughout Southwest Florida in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties, including Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, and surrounding communities. We boast a strong commitment to taking care of our clients and keeping them informed while we work to get the best result possible. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian accident in Naples or Southwest Florida, or if you lost a beloved family member to a fatal pedestrian crash caused by a negligent driver, call Cardinal Law at 239-610-0845. Your call is free, and there’s never any fee until after we are successful in recovering compensation for you.