Why Are Florida Cities Not Safe For Pedestrians?
Each year, the urban planning think tank SmartGrowth America puts out its Dangerous By Design report, which ranks U.S. metropolitan areas according to how dangerous they are to pedestrians, as well as analyzing the reasons for the high rate of injuries and fatalities. In the 2021 report, 7 of the 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas are in Florida (Tampa ranked No. 8); if you are frequently out on Florida roads, it is a good idea to be aware of the potential issues you may face.
Distracted Driving Causes Accidents
The majority of pedestrian accidents occur as a result of negligence, either on the part of the pedestrian or the vehicle driver (or, sometimes, both). That said, there are scenarios that tend to lead to the most accidents. The most common include:
- “Dart-out” accidents, where a pedestrian dashes out into the road, or suddenly becomes visible to a driver, in a moment when neither party has enough time to react;
- Turning accidents, where a driver turns too quickly into an intersection and does not see the pedestrian in time;
- Back-up accidents, where a vehicle backs into a space with a pedestrian crossing; and
- Vendor accidents, involving food trucks or ice cream trucks. This particular type of accident is the most common cause of child injury in vehicle accidents.
The majority of these accidents can all be traced back to distracted driving, which has the potential to be deadly. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that over 3,000 people were killed in 2019 due to accidents involving all types of distracted driving. Florida has also tried to regulate distracted driving in recent years, though so far the state’s policies have focused on texting and driving specifically.
No-Fault Auto Insurance Means Filing Suit Is Unlikely
If you have been involved in a pedestrian-automobile accident in Florida, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. However, Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, which means that unless your injuries are particularly severe, you may not file suit against them in court, as you might in another state. Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL), and in theory, you are intended to file a claim with either your insurer, or the insurer of the person who allegedly caused your injuries.
This is how the system is meant to work, but in reality, $10,000 in PIP coverage simply will almost certainly not cover your damages unless your injuries are minor indeed. This is one of the reasons that many injured plaintiffs enlist an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, even if they are barred from filing a standard claim in court. An attorney can be of help in negotiating with both your insurer and the insurer of the person who allegedly caused your accident, so your chances of getting your medical bills covered is significantly increased.
Contact A Tampa Pedestrian Accident Attorney
The data contained in Smart Growth America’s report are concerning, particularly for states like Florida whose metropolitan areas are so hazardous to its pedestrian population. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you need an experienced Tampa pedestrian accident attorney who can handle the facts, and potentially, the insurer. The Rinaldo Law Group has years of experience in these types of cases, and can assist you with yours. Call us today for a free consultation.