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Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Attorney 

Pedestrian Crossing the Street

Pedestrian accidents are a nationwide issue for both young and old individuals. The problem is especially acute in Florida, which has one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the country. Fort Lauderdale, in particular, has a high rate of pedestrian accidents, given its busy roads.When a pedestrian in the Fort Lauderdale area is struck by a vehicle, they will need an experienced Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer in their corner.  Compensation may be available for injured individuals, but the insurance industry and legal system will likely present obstacles. An attorney at Maus Law Firm can help you obtain the financial recovery you deserve.

Potential Pedestrian Injuries in Florida Accidents

When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the pedestrian’s injuries tend to be severe. Unlike a vehicle occupant, the pedestrian does not have a car frame or safety features to protect them. Even impacts by slow-moving vehicles can cause serious injury or death, especially since the pedestrian can fall and hit the pavement or other surface.

The following are some common injuries for pedestrians hit by vehicles in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Bone fractures
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Lacerations

Depending on the severity of these injuries, the pedestrian may also miss work and lose income. Further, in addition to incurring medical expenses, the injured pedestrian could need rehabilitation or therapy to recover.

Causes of Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents can have many different causes. While the pedestrian could be partially to blame for the accident, he or she may still be able to recover compensation if the driver was also at fault. The following are some common types and causes of pedestrian accidents:

  • Intersections and Crosswalks: Any intersection where pedestrians cross the street is an obvious possibility for a vehicle-pedestrian collision. It is common for both drivers and pedestrians to be careless at intersections and crosswalks. However, the pedestrian generally has the legal right-of-way, as well as a far greater chance of injury. It is also possible the crosswalk was improperly designed or had faulty equipment, such as a malfunctioning crosswalk sign. This might result in the government being the party legally at fault. 
  • Passing Vehicles: When a vehicle passes another vehicle stopped on the side of the road, this creates another potential danger for pedestrians. This is especially true for stopped buses, since passengers typically get on and off the bus at each stop. For school buses, Florida law requires other vehicles to stop when the bus stops and turns on the “stop” signal.
  • Vehicles Merging or Turning: When drivers are either merging or turning, they are prone to only pay attention to other vehicles and may not notice pedestrians. A driver turning onto another street, for example, may only pay attention to oncoming traffic and fail to note pedestrians crossing that street.
  • Streetside Vendors: Food trucks and other streetside vendors are common in Fort Lauderdale. This creates dangers for patrons of those vendors who may be struck by vehicles while waiting in line or going to and from the vendor. A variety of parties could be legally at fault in these situations, which turns many of these accidents into complex cases.
  • Vehicles Backing Up: It is all too common for motorists to hit pedestrians while driving in reverse. This often occurs when drivers back out of spaces in parking lots. If the driver was inattentive or distracted, it is likely they will be at fault.
  • Drunk or Distracted Drivers: Many pedestrian collisions are caused by intoxicated drivers who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The driver may also be impaired in other ways, such as due to a lack of sleep. Distracted driving is also very common, with cell phones, GPS and other devices all vying for a driver’s attention.
  • Negligent or Reckless Drivers: There are numerous ways in which negligent or reckless driving can result in pedestrian collisions. The driver could be speeding, disregard traffic signs or signals, or fail to yield right-of-way to pedestrians. The driver’s failure to drive cautiously in inclement weather could also play a part in causing an accident.
  • Pedestrian Dart-outs: When the pedestrian rushes out into the road or “darts out,” this may initially seem to be a case where the pedestrian is at fault. However, drivers often claim the pedestrian darted out when, in fact, the driver was actually the person who was inattentive at the time of the accident. Depending on the circumstances, what appears to be a “dart-out” accident may be one where the driver is partially or completely at fault.

A Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer can flesh out the facts of your accident to pinpoint the most likely cause or causes.

Who is at Fault for Pedestrian Accidents?

In pedestrian accident cases, the insurance companies will frequently try to blame pedestrians for their own injuries. If this happens in your case, you should not simply accept the insurance company’s determination of fault. When you hire a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney to investigate, your attorney will make an independent assessment of liability with your best interests in mind.

But, what if your attorney determines that you were partially at fault? For example, what if you entered a crosswalk without the right of way when a car was visibly approaching? In this scenario, Florida’s law of “pure comparative fault” would apply. Under this law, even if you were partially at fault, you are still entitled to recover partial compensation. The amount of your financial recovery will simply be reduced based on your percentage of fault. So, for example, if your attorney’s investigation reveals that you were 25 percent at fault, you would still be entitled to recover 75 percent of your losses.

Unfortunately, even though Florida’s “pure comparative fault” law is well established, this will not stop the insurance companies from trying to deny you compensation entirely. Determining the percentage of fault, calculating your losses and fighting for a just settlement all require the representation of an experienced Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can recover the financial compensation you deserve.

How Can a Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Help with Establishing Liability? 

Pedestrians injured by auto collisions can obtain compensation, but the process can be daunting. Insurance companies are likely to challenge your claim of liability. They are also likely to delay or underpay your claim and they will undoubtedly retain legal counsel to defend themselves.

Injured walkers and runners will need a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney to have a chance at recovering compensation. Your lawyer will be able to do the following for you:

  • Investigate the accident, including interviewing you and your witnesses and obtaining the police report or other accident reports
  • Obtain and review your medical records
  • Communicate and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
  • File a lawsuit and potentially retain experts to prove your case
  • Go to trial, if necessary

Third-Party Responsibility for Pedestrian Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

While recovering financial compensation for a pedestrian accident usually involves dealing with auto insurance companies, this is not the only possibility. In some cases, injured pedestrians will have “third party” claims as well.

A “third-party” claim is a claim against a party (typically a company or government agency) that was not directly involved in an accident. Examples of third parties that may be liable in pedestrian accident cases include:

  • Companies that employ drivers who are responsible for pedestrian accidents
  • Government agencies that are responsible for dangerous crosswalks or other pedestrian hazards
  • Passengers who distract drivers who hit pedestrians
  • Vehicle manufacturers that sell dangerous and defective cars, trucks and SUVs
  • Vehicle owners who entrust their cars, trucks and SUVs to inexperienced or incompetent drivers

Statute of Limitations for Pedestrian Accident Claims in Florida

One question we frequently receive from individuals who have been injured in pedestrian accidents is, “How long do I have to sue?’ While this is an important question, it is even more important for individuals who have claims to take action as soon as possible. Florida’s statute of limitations for pedestrian accident claims is four years in most cases. However, you do not want to wait anywhere near this long to assert your legal rights.

In fact, if you believe you may have a claim, you should not wait at all. You should speak with a Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney about your legal rights immediately. From determining if you were partially at fault to dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf, there are several steps your lawyer will need to take as soon as possible. 

Speak with a Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at the Maus Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a pedestrian in South Florida, contact the Maus Law Firm.  A Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer from our office can assess your case, help identify the responsible parties and start working to obtain just compensation. For a free consultation, contact us today.

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