When a car strikes a pedestrian, the person on foot is much more likely to suffer severe injuries than the people protected inside the vehicle.
While this may seem like justification for a driver to pay for a pedestrian’s injuries after a crash, the truth is pedestrians can be partially or solely at fault for these accidents, leaving them with little chance of compensation in an accident case.
Florida Laws Referred to in Pedestrian Injury Cases
Every driver, cyclist, and pedestrian is responsible for following traffic and safety laws at all times. These regulations reduce the risk of an accident, and laws regarding pedestrians and drivers play a big part in determining who is at fault for a crash.
Florida pedestrian statues apply to anyone traveling on foot, including walkers, runners, or even people on skateboards. Bicyclists aren't considered pedestrians in most cases, as they can travel in the road alongside cars.
Under state law, pedestrians are required to adhere to laws regarding:
- Traffic signals. Drivers are required to stop at red lights, and prepare to stop when the signal is yellow. Similarly, pedestrians must obey Walk and Do Not Walk signs, and must not attempt to run through a Do Not Walk sign if traffic is approaching. If an intersection doesn't have pedestrian signals, pedestrians must obey traffic signals at the intersection and only cross when the roadway is clear.
- Crossing procedures. All pedestrians should look left, right, and left again before entering the roadway to cross. A pedestrian with the right-of-way should still make eye contact with oncoming drivers to ensure that he or she is seen by them. Once all cars have stopped and it's safe to cross, pedestrians are required to keep to the right side of crosswalks to ensure enough room for all travelers.
- Crossing outside a crosswalk. It's legal for a pedestrian to cross the road at any point as long as there's no traffic. If traffic is present, a pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to the vehicles on the roadway. It's illegal for pedestrians to leave the curb or sidewalk and enter the path of an oncoming vehicle if the vehicle doesn't have sufficient time to stop safely. Pedestrians are also barred from crossing between two adjacent signalized intersections unless there's a designated crosswalk.
- Diagonal crossings. Pedestrians cannot cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless a traffic control officer or traffic light allows a diagonal crossing. Even when diagonal crossings are permitted, pedestrians should take great care to watch for vehicles and only cross when they have the right-of-way.
- Standing in the roadway. Florida law prohibits anyone from standing in or near to the roadway in order to ask for a ride, financial support, or employment. In addition, no person may stand in a street or parking space in order to guard a vehicle or to administer parking advice or save parking spaces for drivers.
- Limited access roads. Pedestrians are forbidden from walking on any limited access facility—such as a freeway or interstate highway—or the ramps leading to and from these areas. The exceptions are for maintenance or governmental personnel.
What Rights Pedestrians Have in Personal Injury Accidents
A violation of pedestrian traffic laws can be charged as a noncriminal traffic infraction, and the pedestrian may be ordered to pay a fine for the citation. While civil penalties may only cost a few dollars, they can cost an injured pedestrian thousands of dollars in lost damages in an injury case. A jury may see your citation as proof of fault in your accident, denying you access to payment for your medical bills.
On the other hand, sharing fault in your accident doesn't completely bar you from suing an at-fault driver. If you were only partially to blame, you may still collect compensation from the party who was most responsible for your injuries.
Our attorneys can determine who is at fault for your medical bills, lost wages, permanent disability, and pain and suffering—and we don't collect any fees until your case is won. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your consultation.