Florida ranks consistently as one of the worst states in terms of pedestrian safety. According to 2012 data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities were highest in California (612), followed by Texas (478) and Florida (476). If you or a loved one was hit by a vehicle while in a crosswalk, you should consider speaking to an experienced Miami personal injury attorney to determine whether you have the legal grounds to pursue a civil claim.
Understanding Crosswalk Laws in Florida
Crosswalk laws in Florida are codified in the Florida Statutes Section 316.130 and discuss in detail the rights of a pedestrian while walking on a crosswalk. Pedestrian is defined as “anyone on foot,” provided there is some kind of movement associated with them. Persons on wheelchairs or roller-skates can also be considered pedestrians. However, cyclists are NOT considered pedestrians since they are operating a mode of transportation.
Right of way is mutual in Florida and both pedestrians and automobile drivers are expected to respect each other’s space and not disturb their right to movement. The relevant part of the Florida Statute 316.130(15) specifically mentions that “notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.” Other highlights of the law state that pedestrians must not walk on the road if sidewalks are provided. If sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians are expected to walk on the left side shoulder of the road. Walking or crossing a road in a place other than a marked side-walk is prohibited. Walking on a limited access facility (highway or freeway) is prohibited for pedestrians unless they happen to be a government or maintenance personnel. Crossing of roads should always be done after checking that the pedestrian has the right of way and the light is green, and by moving upon the right half of crosswalks. Soliciting rides, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle is prohibited.
How Pedestrian Accidents Occur
Unfortunately, many Florida drivers do not appreciate the fact that they must exercise caution when they see a pedestrian on the road or in a crosswalk. Many drivers are overly aggressive and do not allow sufficient time for a pedestrian to get through the crosswalk resulting in serious collisions.
Hit and run incidents are, unfortunately, a frequent occurrence in Florida and are governed by the Florida Statute 316.027. All drivers are required by law to stop immediately and stay at the scene of an accident. If they flee the scene, it is a criminal violation – a felony of the third degree. A pedestrian injured in a hit and run accident has the right to sue the negligent driver for restitution of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if the pedestrian is proved to be equally at fault by violating the motorist’s right to way, comparative negligence can decrease the damages award by a considerable percentage.
Contact an Experienced Miami Crosswalk Accident Attorney Today
The South Florida personal injury lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. are ready to listen to your story and fight for your rights. We offer free consultations and can evaluate your case, your legal rights, and how much your crosswalk injury claim may be worth based on your individual circumstances. We work on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay us unless and until we recover damages for you. We proudly represent clients in communities all over South Florida including Miami-Dade, Coral Gables, Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. For more information on how we can help you, contact us online or call us toll free at (877) 475-2905 today.