Walking, running and jogging are great ways for individuals to enjoy fresh air and get some exercise at the same time. Adults and children alike use area walkways, sidewalks and streets to get from one place to another; however, traveling by foot can prove to be quite dangerous, particularly since pedestrians share the area with bikes, trucks, cars and other types of vehicles.
Sadly, it is not uncommon to hear of pedestrian accidents in Florida and elsewhere throughout the country. When such incidents occur, the results are often devastating, especially for the pedestrian who, in essence, has no barrier between him or her and the ground and/or a vehicle.
As concerning as pedestrian accidents are for victims and their families, though, it is important for individuals to know that pedestrians have rights under Florida law, and a skilled Naples accident attorney can help you preserve those rights.
Understanding the Laws Pertaining to Pedestrians
In Florida, just anybody on foot can be considered a pedestrian. However, under the law, the individual must be in motion or moving in some way. For example, an individual who is on the side of the road working on his or her automobile will not be considered a pedestrian. Additionally, you should note that cyclists are sometimes considered pedestrians for purposes of Florida’s no-fault law.
The laws contain specific requirements with respect to right of ways, crosswalks, sidewalks and even hitchhiking. In general, motorists and pedestrians in Florida have a right to use all public roadways, and drivers and pedestrians are expected and required to use reasonable care when driving and walking.
Accident victims should be aware that drivers will not always be held completely responsible for damages sustained in all pedestrian accidents. Still, the law is clear with respect to the right of way for pedestrians, which clearly states that “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.”
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Pedestrian Accident?
Under state law, in order for the operator and/or owner of an automobile to be held legally responsible for hitting an individual, the pedestrian must demonstrate the driver was in some way negligent at the time of the collision. Simply stated, a pedestrian seeking to hold the driver responsible for injuries and damages incurred will have to prove the driver was at fault. If the driver can show he or she used reasonable care when operating the automobile, it is possible the driver will not be made to pay for the pedestrian’s damages.
Nevertheless, drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care, especially if the driver notices that the pedestrian is not being as careful as he or she should be at the time. Drivers are expected to make every effort to avoid an accident with a pedestrian. For example, if a driver notices an individual jaywalking or otherwise crossing an intersection illegally, the driver should take precautions to avoid an accident, even though the driver has the right of way.
No two pedestrian accidents are the same and each incident will have its own set of unique facts and circumstances that must be examined and analyzed by a knowledgeable attorney. If you or someone you love was involved in an accident as a pedestrian, contact Ryan Kuhl at The Kelleher Firm.