Can Pedestrians Be at Fault for Traffic Accidents in Florida?
Florida is notorious for its high rate of pedestrian fatalities. Sidewalks are rare in many parts of Florida, and public transportation is rarer. This means that pedestrians often have no choice but to walk near vehicular traffic and to cross the roads whenever they see the opportunity. Common sense would say that, when a car hits a pedestrian, the driver of the car is always at fault for the accident, but insurance companies do not always see it that way, and sometimes courts don’t, either. Pedestrians often suffer financial disaster after an encounter with a motor vehicle, even if the pedestrian is fortunate enough to make a full physical recovery from his or her injuries. A Jacksonville car accident lawyer can help you exercise your right to fair compensation if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident.
Comparative Negligence and Pedestrian Accidents
Car insurance companies treat collisions between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian in much the same way as they treat collisions between two motor vehicles. They determine which percentage of the fault belongs to which party. Just as drivers of cars have a duty of care to drive safely, pedestrians also have a duty of care to walk safely on roads that are open to traffic. These are some scenarios that can affect how much, if any, of the fault for the accident belongs to the pedestrian:
- If the pedestrian is crossing at an intersection with a crosswalk, the pedestrian has the right of way when the “walk” sign is on. Vehicles in the lanes that the pedestrian is crossing must stop, and vehicles turning through the pedestrian’s path must yield to the pedestrian.
- When the “don’t walk” sign is on, the cars have the right of way, and the pedestrian should stay on the sidewalk.
- When a pedestrian crosses at an intersection with no “walk” and “don’t walk” signs, the pedestrian has the right of way to cross lanes of traffic that are subject to a red light. The red and green traffic lights effectively replace the “walk” and “don’t walk” signs. Red means that cars stop and pedestrians go, while green means that cars go and pedestrians stop.
- Pedestrians do not have the right of way when they cross the road where there are no traffic lights and no crosswalks. In this case, they are jaywalking.
A pedestrian accident can be partially your fault if you jaywalked, crossed at the wrong time, or were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because of Florida’s comparative negligence laws, you can still recover a portion of your accident-related financial losses, even if the accident was partially your fault.
Contact Douglas & Douglas About Car Accident Cases
A North Florida personal injury lawyer can help you if you are suffering from serious injuries as a result of getting hit by a motor vehicle while you were walking. Contact Douglas & Douglas in Jacksonville, Florida for a free consultation.