Generally, drivers have a sense of their rights and responsibilities when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. This knowledge comes through the driver’s education and licensing process. Less generally well known to people are the basic rights and responsibilities that come with being a pedestrian. For example, you may not be aware that Florida is statistically the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. It’s for this reason that there are pedestrian right-of-way protections, as well as Personal Injury Protection insurance requirements for all licensed drivers. Even with that policy in place, however, the state of Florida operates as a ‘comparative negligence’ state, meaning a percentage of the fault for a given accident may be assigned to both the driver and the pedestrian, if both are found to have been negligent in obeying their respective laws.
Why is it So Dangerous for Pedestrians in the State of Florida?
The state of Florida was largely developed with vehicles in mind, partly because of its focus on a tourist-based economy. Our many attractions, parks, and other wonders draw a lot of visitors from out of state, which means a lot of drivers aren’t as familiar with their surroundings as locals might be. The outcome is an abnormally high rate of pedestrian-related accidents and injuries, many of which can be catastrophic for the pedestrian. Such accidents can result in life-altering head trauma, spinal injuries, debilitating bone fractures, severe contusions, or even death, which is why it falls upon both the pedestrian and the driver to be aware of the respective rules and regulations governing their roles.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?
The phrase “pedestrians have the right of way” is common enough in our culture that you’re likely to have heard it before. The basic idea comes from common-sense pedestrian protections, such as the requirement that drivers yield to pedestrians crossing at intersections marked with a stop sign. It is a misunderstanding, however, that pedestrians always have the right of way. Much the same as drivers, pedestrians are bound by their own laws and regulations. For example, when sidewalks are present, pedestrians are required to walk on those as opposed to walking in the roadways themselves. Similarly, pedestrians are also required to cross the street at designated crosswalks and to obey electronic traffic signals, when applicable.
Why Do I Need to Consult a Personal Injury Attorney if I’m Involved in a Pedestrian-Related Accident?
The laws regarding pedestrian rights and restrictions are complex and multi-faceted. Sometimes pedestrians have the right-of-way, and sometimes they don’t. Simultaneously, they’re bound to their own rules which are distinct from, and yet often similar to, the rules that dictate driver behavior. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be aware of these distinctions and, in the unfortunate instance of an accident, be able to advise you of how to best navigate the aftermath of what might be a physically or financially ruinous situation.