Accidents On Foot In Florida
Florida has a notorious reputation for traffic accidents, given the volume of cars and trucks on state roads at any given moment. However, what is often overlooked is that many people outside vehicles – pedestrians, bicyclists, and others using non-powered vehicles – wind up getting injured in accidents as well. Pedestrians are more likely to be injured or even killed in vehicle crashes, and if you manage to survive, your injuries will generally be quite severe. Calling a dedicated attorney can help you determine whether you have a case against the driver who struck you.
Pedestrians At High Risk
Florida sees a high volume of pedestrian accidents each year, mostly because its infrastructure is sorely lacking in terms of pedestrian safety. The urban planning think tank Smart Growth America puts out a report every year called Dangerous By Design, which ranks the most dangerous metropolitan areas in the United States for pedestrians and cyclists. Florida metro areas have consistently ranked very high for the last part of the decade, and in 2019, the top 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas included 8 from Florida. (Incidentally, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area ranked No. 9.)
There are a lot of different reasons for these rankings. Many are external factors – for example, Florida’s high percentage of elderly people means that there are more people out on the roads who may not have the ability to react quickly if they are placed in sudden danger. Another often-cited reason for the higher number of accidents is Florida’s beautiful weather in itself; it stands to reason that most people wish to be outside enjoying sunshine when it is available. Other reasons, however, can be attributed directly to driver error, and in these cases, you may be able to seek compensation from them for your medical bills.
Be Aware Of Insurance Issues
One thing that an injured pedestrian in Florida must keep in mind that is not necessarily in play in other states is the question of no-fault insurance. Florida is a no-fault state, which means that every driver must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage, in case of accident – this is then used to help pay for accident claims instead of clogging the courts. If you are in a pedestrian accident with a vehicle, and you have PIP coverage on your own vehicle, you can file a claim with your insurer even though you were not in your vehicle at the time of the accident.
If you do not have a vehicle, or if you have one but lack PIP insurance, you can then make a claim with the (allegedly) negligent driver’s insurer. However, if your injuries are as severe as they can be in pedestrian-vehicle accidents, $10,000 in coverage may not last very long. If you have sustained any kind of “significant and permanent” injury, Florida law allows you to file suit against the driver to try and seek further compensation. (The rationale is that if you have sustained permanent injury, the state is aware that PIP coverage may not be sufficient.)
Contact A Tampa Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrians have the right to be out and about in Florida’s lovely weather, just the same as vehicle drivers. If you have been unfortunate enough to be injured in a pedestrian accident, contacting the Tampa pedestrian accident lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group can be a good first step toward ensuring your medical bills are covered. Please contact our offices today for a free consultation.