One of the great joys of living in or visiting Florida is the beautiful weather, which allows us to go for a walk or a jog all year-round. Unfortunately, being a pedestrian also means being completely exposed to and unprotected from motor vehicle accidents. All it takes is for a driver to be distracted for a split second and an accident or fatality can occur. And with more than 20 million registered vehicles in Florida – in addition to the constant influx of commercial and tourist vehicles – pedestrian accidents happen all too frequently.
Florida and US Pedestrian Accident Information and Statistics
What is a pedestrian? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, a pedestrian is defined as:
- Any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting, or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash.
The most compelling statistics, according to the "Pedestrian Danger Index":
- In a recent year, Florida led the nation as the most dangerous state for pedestrians.
- The top seven most dangerous pedestrian Metro areas in the country are in Florida.
- The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale Metro area was the 11th most dangerous pedestrian area in the country.
Sadly, thousands of pedestrian injuries and deaths occur every year in Florida and throughout the country.
The statistics in a recent year are eye-opening:
- 8,856 – Number of Florida Pedestrian Crashes,
- 600 - Number of Florida Pedestrian Fatalities
- 5376 – Number of U.S. Pedestrian Fatalities
- 70,000 – Number of U.S. Pedestrian Injuries
Causes of Pedestrian Crashes and Injuries and Deaths
Pedestrian injuries and deaths have reached record highs. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that so many drivers are distracted by their electronic devices. One of the most astonishing facts is that approximately 660,000 drivers in the country are using cell phones or texting at any given time during the day. Texting and driving is obviously incredibly dangerous – and illegal.
Other causes of pedestrian accidents include speeding, failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, eating or drinking while driving, drowsy driving, falling asleep at the wheel, racing, failing to slow down or stop at crosswalks, speeding through school zones, faulty brakes and tires, and failing to obey traffic laws.
It is the responsibility of every driver to follow the appropriate driving laws. As well, pedestrians must obey traffic laws. Pedestrians must cross at crosswalks, obey stop signs and red lights and pay attention to the cars on the road. Nevertheless, a motorist should always drive attentively and pay particular attention to pedestrians. Drivers are duty-bound to drive safely and follow traffic laws.
Damages for Pedestrian Accident Victims and Families of Deceased Victims
There are basically two types of damages: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include those that are able to be quantified. They include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, lost earning capacity and more. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of consortium, loss of companionship and more. Punitive damages may be pursued in extreme cases of misconduct to punish the wrongdoer.
In cases where the pedestrian lost his or her life as a result of another driver's negligence, the deceased’s heirs may pursue compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida this includes the spouse, children and parents of the deceased as well as others, depending on the circumstances.
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].