Car vs. Pedestrian. No contest. When the two collide – well, it’s difficult even to think of that as a “collision”. We think, rather, that the car struck the pedestrian. That the driver of the car did a terrible thing. The pedestrian, of course, is nearly always the one injured or killed. Surely the driver of the car must be held responsible. Not necessarily. It’s important to understand the legal aspects of this type of accident. They’re not rare. In Florida, vehicles hit about 10,000 pedestrians each year. About 700 of these die. The law opens the door to judgments of pedestrian liability for these mishaps.
THE LAW AND LIABILITY
Everyone knows there are traffic laws that drivers must obey. A driver involved in an accident while disobeying a traffic law, other things being equal, attracts fault for it. Pedestrians, in like manner, must comply with Chapter 316.130 of the Florida Statutes. Otherwise, they draw liability to themselves. The State of Florida licenses drivers. The State either tests drivers’ competence and knowledge of the law or accepts another State’s testing. In contrast, there’s obviously no such thing as a “pedestrian license”. Hence, there’s no systematic effort by the State to assure people know the laws governing pedestrians. Let’s review the key points of the law.
Pedestrians have to obey pedestrian traffic signals (e,g., WALK/DON’T WALK) unless a police officer directs them not to.
Where there are sidewalks, pedestrians must use them, and not the roadway.
Where there are no sidewalks, pedestrians must walk on the side facing traffic, where practicable.
Pedestrians cannot stand on the roadway to hitchhike, sell, or solicit from drivers.
PEDESTRIAN LIABILITY FACTORS
A scofflaw pedestrian struck by a car thus risks shifting of liability to himself or herself. Thus, when a car hits a pedestrian crossing against a DON’T WALK signal, the driver’s defense is potentially stronger. We’ve all noticed that some Floridians prefer walking or jogging on the roadway rather than on the sidewalk. This puts their personal injury claims at risk if a passing car hits them.
These some examples of the laws’ impact on the outcome of claims in car-pedestrian accidents. The public is largely unaware of those applying solely to pedestrians. Yet, the consequences of such accidents tend to be very serious. That’s why it’s so important to bring such cases to the attention of an experienced personal injury lawyer. At the earliest possible moment.