South Florida is undeniably a delightful place to be, especially with its pleasant climate that entices numerous individuals to take leisurely strolls or engage in exercise. Among the bustling cities in the region, Hialeah stands out as home to over 16,000 residents, most of whom are descendants of Latin American heritage. As one of the most densely populated cities in Florida, Hialeah sees a significant amount of pedestrian activity, resulting in a heightened risk of traffic accidents.
Unfortunately, pedestrians are particularly vulnerable on the roads. When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, there exists no barrier between the person and the unforgiving surface of the car or truck. Consequently, pedestrians often suffer severe injuries, and in some tragic cases, accidents can prove fatal.
In the event that you find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident, it is crucial to prioritize seeking medical attention promptly. Receiving immediate medical treatment can help minimize the extent of your injuries. Fortunately, there may be witnesses present who can promptly dial 911 for emergency assistance. Once your safety is ensured, it is advisable to reach out to a skilled Hialeah pedestrian accident lawyer who can review the details of your case.
Pedestrian accident injuries can have devastating effects not only on the injured individual but also on their family. Serious injuries often require significant resources, which can strain the household income. Moreover, if the injured person was the primary provider for their family, they may face extremely challenging times ahead. It is not fair that the victim and their entire family should suffer the consequences if the accident resulted from a driver's negligence.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents have a variety of causes; plenty of people may be found at fault, sometimes the situation may seem complex, and it is not clear at simple sight who is the liable party.
A pedestrian accident attorney can help you determine the level of liability that a person could have and find other people or entities that could be facing liability for your accident. It is wise for any injured person to call an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to back them up.
Talking about potential causes, we can list the following:
Distracted driving, particularly due to texting while driving, poses a significant risk for pedestrian accidents. This dangerous behavior compromises not only the driver's attention but also their visual and cognitive abilities, as well as their manual control of the vehicle.
To illustrate the potential consequences of distracted driving, let's consider a common scenario: heavy traffic where cars move slowly through an intersection. In such a situation, a pedestrian may wish to cross the road, and the drivers around them should exercise caution.
However, a driver engrossed in their cell phone might be accelerating at the same slow speed as the traffic, completely unaware of the pedestrian in their path. While the vehicle's speed may be minimal, this distraction can still result in some injuries.
The danger escalates when traffic flows more smoothly, and drivers fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians. In these circumstances, the risk of accidents significantly increases, as distracted drivers may fail to notice pedestrians attempting to cross the road.
Other distractions, such as talking on the phone, eating, adjusting music, or engaging with in-vehicle technology, also contribute to the heightened risk of accidents involving pedestrians.
Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
The direct impact that the pedestrian’s body receives from a motor vehicle can be deadly. Speed is the main factor. Studies have shown that the body parts more vulnerable are the head and thorax, as well as limbs, which can also be highly affected by the strike.
Unless the vehicle speed was less than ten mph, where bruises and scratches may be the resulting injuries, a pedestrian who is hit by a car or truck may sustain serious injuries that may allow any surviving victim to file a lawsuit for non-economic damages that in these cases are more likely to happen.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Our head is a very delicate part of our body; a traumatic brain injury occurs when we hit hard surfaces with our head. It may cause our brain to crash into the inner part of the skull, and in some occasions, the skull may get broken, and the fractured bone can damage the gray matter.
This serious injury may bring long-term consequences, including behavioral changes that may leave the person incapacitated to work and not able to perform daily tasks making them dependent on others.
Spinal Cord Injury
The Spinal cord is a sensitive area. If it gets hurt, it can leave the person with chronic pain for the rest of their life, lose the ability to walk, and provoke other health conditions that may reduce the quality of life.
A serious injury that our arms and legs typically suffer after a pedestrian accident. The incapacity generated by a cast in our hand or leg will probably leave us out of work for a considerable amount of time.
In Florida, workers who must be out of work due to injuries can receive only up to 60% of their monthly income if they have personal injury protection. A percentage that may not be enough to pay for basic needs in a home.
A pedestrian hit by a car may get catapulted several feet from the impact zone and suffer friction burns when they fall over the pavement. These injuries can be found in multiple areas of a victim’s skin, like arms, shoulders, back, hips, legs, and face.
Internal Organ Damages
The smash of the victim’s thorax to the hard surface of a car or truck can cause the ribs to fracture and pierce the lungs. Also, other internal organs can suffer from a strong impact even though no broken rib exists.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics in Florida
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles gives us statistics every year about all traffic accidents occurring statewide. Generally, there were over 400,000 accidents in 2021.
Hialeah is part of the sixth-largest city in Florida and is situated northwest of downtown Miami; it is part of Miami-Dade County, which had 62,536 crashes in 2021, where over 28,000 people were injured and 352 fatalities.
95 people died in pedestrian accidents in Hialeah back in 2021, and 1,201 people were hurt in the same type of accident. It is crucial to be careful while walking on the streets and attempting to cross. Sometimes, pedestrians are liable for accidents because they walk distracted.
It is true that pedestrian has priority, but sometimes people just suddenly walk in front of motor vehicles, and due to the speed at which they drive it is almost impossible to avoid the accident. Florida Law states that pedestrians must follow traffic control signals to cross roads safely. If a policeman is directing traffic, pedestrians must obey the officer's directions too.
What to do after a Pedestrian Accident?
Being involved in a pedestrian accident can be a traumatic experience, regardless of the severity. It is crucial to take immediate action and follow the proper steps to ensure your well-being and protect your legal rights. Let’s consider two different scenarios.
Scenario 1: Minor Pedestrian Accident
Ensure Safety: After the accident, move to a safe location away from traffic, if possible, to prevent further harm. If you stay over the road, you might get into another accident; if you can move due to minor injuries, go to a sidewalk and wait for help.
Seek Medical Attention: Even if the injuries seem minor, it is important to get evaluated by a medical professional. Bruises and scratches may not appear serious initially, but they could have underlying complications requiring treatment. Call 911 and wait for medical assistance. Moreover, there is a specific 14-day rule that if you do not get medical attention, you may lose the chance to get reimbursement from your personal injury protection.
Document the Scene: If you can, take photos of the accident scene, including the surrounding area, any damage to the vehicle involved, and your injuries. This documentation can be valuable when filing an insurance claim or seeking legal assistance.
Exchange Information: Collect the driver's contact and insurance details, as well as the contact information of any witnesses present. This information will be crucial when filing an insurance claim or seeking legal representation.
Report the Accident: Contact the police and provide them with accurate accident details. A police report must be taken, and you have to make sure your name is in there because there is not any other way to prove that you were there and this is a crucial document to present if you want to get compensation for your damages.
Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, even if you were not at fault. They will guide you through the claim process and assess the coverage available to you.
Preserve Evidence: Keep a record of any medical bills, receipts for prescriptions, and other related expenses. These documents will be helpful in supporting your claim for compensation.
Consult with a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: Consider seeking legal advice from an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. They will assess your case, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and help you understand your rights and legal options.
Scenario 2: Severe Pedestrian Accident
Call Emergency Services: If you eyewitness someone else being severely injured in a pedestrian accident, immediately call emergency services for medical assistance. Ensure that medical professionals evaluate and stabilize the injured person's condition.
If you are the one injured, you may not be able to move, ask someone to call 911 for you to receive medical assistance; if no one is close to you, hopefully, there will be people that instinctively call the emergency number for you, so, just try to relax and not to make sudden moves.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: At this specific moment, it may be wise to reach out to a pedestrian accident lawyer who specializes in handling severe injury cases. You may feel confused or very nervous about your injuries, and your lawyer can be present at the scene to support you with the next steps to take. They will provide guidance and help protect your rights during the legal process.
Gather Information: If you are conscious and able, try to collect the driver's information, including their name, contact details, and insurance information. Additionally, gather witness statements or contact information; if possible, your pedestrian accident lawyer can take over this step for you too.
Preserve Evidence: If you are unable to do so yourself, ask someone at the scene to document the accident by taking photographs and collecting any available evidence. This evidence can support your case later on.
Follow Medical Advice: Adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by medical professionals and attend all follow-up appointments. Proper documentation of your injuries and treatment will be essential for your case. If you do not follow their advice, that may be used against you by the insurance provider to award you with less compensation.
Insurance Claims: Your Hialeah pedestrian accident attorney can notify your insurance company about the accident and will provide proper documentation. An experienced attorney can ensure your interests are protected during the claims process. Remember that most insurance companies try to diminish your injuries or accuse you of the at-fault party to deny coverage.
Investigate Liability: Your pedestrian lawyer in Hialeah will conduct a thorough investigation to determine liability and gather evidence to support your claim. This may involve analyzing accident reports, interviewing witnesses, and utilizing expert opinions.
Seek Fair Compensation: Your lawyer will fight for fair compensation to cover your medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident. They will negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, litigate to protect your rights.
Pedestrian Rights in Florida
There is a specific statute for pedestrians, that is 316.130 Pedestrians; traffic regulations. It grants people all the regulations that must be followed. When a pedestrian accident takes place, the victim can receive compensation from their own insurance provider and also from the driver’s insurance provider.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that it does not matter who provoked the accident; they may receive compensation to pay medical assistance. However, there are some rules to follow, and there is a specific amount of coverage that, in most cases, is not enough to pay for all expenses.
For instance, if the injured person does not go to a hospital or a doctor to get a physical evaluation within 14 days, they may not be able to receive compensation from their personal injury protection.
Also, there is a limit of $10,000 to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and any other reasonable expenses. Furthermore, the insured person may only receive 80% of medical costs and up to 60% of lost wages.
Suppose the injured person sustained severe injuries and the driver is found at fault for the accident due to their negligent actions. In that case, they are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit to compensate for the expenses not covered by the insurance.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Hialeah
The Ward Law Group P.L. is committed to helping people injured in traffic accidents. It is expected to see people who get little compensation for their injuries, and it is not fair for them and their families to suffer from the negligent actions of others.
Our experienced and respected pedestrian accident attorneys in Hialeah are available to represent your best interests. They can assist you from the moment you are hit by a vehicle.
With high values and a commitment to service the Hispanic community that lives in this and many other cities in South Florida, we have successfully served hundreds of families.
Contact us now by calling 855-DOLOR-55 or writing to our online chat to receive a FREE consultation of your case.