Pedestrians face special dangers in Florida in terms of car related accidents and injuries. Naturally, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle is going to be more injured than someone in a car struck by another vehicle. But Florida is a dangerous place for pedestrians for many reasons.
With our warm climate, South Floridians enjoy the ability to comfortably take full advantage of year-round pedestrian activities, whether on our beaches, sidewalks, trails, or roadways. Perhaps due in part to our year-round warm weather, as well as our various crowded attractions and thoroughfares, Florida has seen a significant increase in vehicle versus pedestrian accidents.
In fact, a 2014 comprehensive study found that Florida was by far the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians, with Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami being the top four most dangerous major cities nationwide for pedestrians. Our law firm has been representing injured pedestrians across South Florida since the firm’s founding in West Palm Beach in 1927. We bring nearly nine decades of experience fighting for and helping every one of our injured clients, and we have learned a lot about these pedestrian accidents that we want to share in the hopes that we can keep more people safe and out of these sometimes catastrophic accidents.
There are certain common factors involved in pedestrian accidents. It should come as no surprise that when a vehicle of any kind collides with a pedestrian, it is the pedestrian who usually suffers some injury, and sometimes the injuries are catastrophic, on occasion resulting in traumatic death.
The most common causes of vehicle versus pedestrian accidents include intoxicated drivers, speeding, a driver’s failure to stop at a stop sign or light, poorly designed crosswalks and sidewalks, and pedestrian entrance into the street at non-designated areas. The comprehensive study shows that children and older adults are the most at risk for pedestrian accidents. Florida has a higher elderly population, as well as a large number of tourists that visit annually.
Pedestrians need to realize that they cannot walk whenever and wherever they want to go, with the false thought that the driver will not hit them. In the age of distracted driving, pedestrians need to be more alert and careful than ever before. And drivers need to put their cell phone down and keep their eyes open for pedestrians, regardless of where they are walking. Studies show that pedestrians and bicyclists are less “visible” to a driver than a car in their immediate field of vision.
Because vehicle versus pedestrian accidents usually result in injury, these accidents usually result in cases being brought against the party at fault. I have handled a large number of these cases over the years, and almost all of these accidents could have been avoided if at least the driver or the pedestrian was more careful and alert. These cases end up being more “significant” as the injuries are more serious, but the ordeal of being in this type of accident and sustaining major injuries is obviously best avoided. So be extra alert and careful if you are walking in a traffic area, or if you are behind the wheel of the car where pedestrians may be walking, enjoying their day in Florida. Stay safe!