Florida, and particularly Miami, is a hotspot for both visitors and locals who prefer to navigate the city on foot. However, this comes with risks, as highlighted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) placing Florida third in the U.S. for pedestrian fatalities per population.
In many instances in Miami and throughout Florida, people become hurt even when they are legally in a crosswalk and attempting to cross the street. This article explores the potential causes and consequences of pedestrian accidents and underscores the importance of seeking an experienced car accident attorney to uphold your rights following such an incident.
Why are Pedestrian and Crosswalk Accidents Increasing in Miami, Florida?
Pedestrian accidents in the U.S. have significantly increased by nearly 50% over the past decade, and various factors contribute to this alarming trend. One major issue is the prevalence of reckless driving, including impaired driving. At the same time, there are more large vehicles like SUVs on the roads, which tend to cause more severe injuries to pedestrians in collisions.
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that at speeds between 20 to 39 miles per hour, 30% of accidents with SUVs resulted in pedestrian fatalities, compared to 23% for cars. At speeds of 40 miles per hour or higher, all accidents with SUVs were fatal for the pedestrians involved.
Furthermore, many areas lack the necessary infrastructure to ensure pedestrian safety, such as adequate sidewalks, marked crosswalks, and proper lighting. In fact, a study conducted in Central Florida found that the likelihood of pedestrian accidents per mile is 3 times greater in areas without sidewalks.
Other contributing factors include higher vehicle speeds, poor road design that prioritizes vehicles over pedestrians, and inadequate traffic enforcement. All these issues are more pronounced in areas without streetlights and proper pedestrian crossing facilities.
Causes of Crosswalk and Pedestrian Accidents in Florida
In Florida, the law is clear: drivers must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and pedestrians must adhere to signals, yielding to vehicles when it is required. Ignoring these rules can lead to serious road accidents and leave the responsible party liable for any resulting injuries or damage.
Despite these regulations, crosswalk accidents in Miami remain a significant issue, often due to careless behavior. Drivers contribute to the problem when they get distracted by activities like texting, eating, or interacting with passengers, losing sight of pedestrians. Driving while fatigued, which impairs reaction times and judgment similarly to drunk driving, is another risk factor. The influence of alcohol or drugs further compromises a driver’s ability to safely navigate the roads.
Speeding is another significant risk, making accidents more likely and injuries more severe. The risk is particularly high in urban areas like Miami with dense pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The trend of more SUVs and trucks on the roads, also contributes to the severity of pedestrian injuries.
However, drivers are not always the only ones to blame for pedestrian and crosswalk accidents. Pedestrians also need to take care, obeying signals and remaining alert to their surroundings. Despite the shared responsibility for safety, the expectation remains that drivers should always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, especially when they are in a crosswalk. Thus, it is fairly common for pedestrians to receive compensation following an accident, even if they were partially at fault.
Severe Consequences of Pedestrian and Crosswalk Accidents in Florida
In high-speed collisions, pedestrian accidents can be particularly severe and often fatal. The force can cause a person’s legs to swing above their head before they fall onto the vehicle. Sometimes, they might even somersault onto the car’s roof or windshield after the initial impact. If the vehicle is moving fast, a pedestrian could be thrown completely over it, possibly leading to additional injuries from hitting the ground or other objects on the road.
Talking about common injuries in crosswalk accidents, pedestrians often get hurt badly as they have no protection. The injuries vary but are almost always serious. Lower parts of the body, like legs, are usually hit first, leading to broken bones, muscle damage, and pelvis fractures. Faces, heads, and necks are also commonly injured, resulting in jaw fractures, neck injuries, and concussions. Breaking arms and hands are common too, especially if the pedestrian is thrown or lands on the car.
The severity of these injuries depends on various factors, including what part of the body was hit first, which part of the vehicle made contact first, and the design of the vehicle. These factors influence the likelihood of specific injuries, such as damage to muscles and bones, chest and belly injuries, leg and pelvis injuries, knee damage, and brain injuries.
If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, you might have the right to compensation for your injuries, especially if they’re severe and have a big impact on your life. It’s crucial to talk to a professional pedestrian accident lawyer to understand your rights and options.
Free Consultation for Pedestrian and Crosswalk Accidents
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian in Miami or anywhere in Florida, it’s important to get the right legal advice. Our lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein specialize in pedestrian accident cases and are here to help you understand your rights. Our team of attorneys can guide you through your options based on Florida’s laws, including how you can get compensation, even if you were partly at fault. Don’t wait to get the help you need. Call us at 305-371-2692 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer and discuss your case.