Although it is always a good idea for pedestrians in Hillsborough, Florida, to use crosswalks when crossing the street whenever they are available, sometimes people are in a hurry to get from point A to point B, and decide to cross a street along the fastest route. At other times, a pedestrian might not notice a nearby crosswalk or may just forget to use it.
Floridians are fortunate that even in winter, mild temperatures make so that they can walk places. They may walk to shops, to school or to work. However, walking on Florida's streets is not always safe. Between the first part of 2015 and the first part of 2016, the number of deadly pedestrian accidents increased in Florida from 277 to 301, which marks an increase of 8.7 percent.
A Tampa woman was fatally injured following a hit and run accident on a major street in the area. Police are currently looking for the driver and are asking the public for any leads. The police are also looking for video of the area around the time of the accident in the hope that they will identify the driver who hit the woman and then left the scene of the accident.
As many Tampa area residents can probably guess, accidents involving pedestrians who are walking alongside the road or are trying to cross the street can get hurt seriously if a driver carelessly hits the pedestrian with a car.
A previous post on this blog discussed how uninsured motorists coverage works in Florida. Basically, assuming a Tampa resident bought the coverage when he or she purchased automobile insurance, uninsured motorists coverage offers an extra layer of protection in case he or she gets hurt and the other person did not follow Florida's laws about having automobile insurance.
Like many other states, Florida has abandoned the traditional rule of "contributory negligence" in favor of a system based on comparative negligence. Traditionally, if a Hillsborough, Florida, resident got in to an accident and was responsible for it, even only to a slight degree, then he or she could not sue for compensation from the other party and be left on his or her own to cover medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.
With its sunny skies and warm weather for most if not all of the year, the Tampa area is a great place for people to walk or ride a bike. Of course, these pedestrians and bicyclists have to be mindful that they are often sharing the road with motor vehicles, and the drivers of these other vehicles need to look out for them.
Tampa residents are likely familiar with the busy thoroughfare that is Fowler Avenue. The roadway is populated with a number of large employers but does not provide a significant amount of safety for pedestrians or bicyclists. The crosswalks are not abundant and are significant distances apart. Additionally, the sidewalks do not boast any shade for pedestrians, and sidewalks are separated from the road by ditches that have been overgrown. Bicyclists travel in a bicycle lane only separated from other traffic by a white line.
Accidents involving pedestrians can occur anywhere, including on interstate highways. As is always true, pedestrians are required to exercise due care on the roadways but it is also incumbent upon drivers to exercise due care as well for the safety of others on the roadways. In Florida, victims injured in any type of accident can recover damages to the full extent of the harm they have suffered, which will only offset by their own liability, if any, to the extent they are liable.
Pedestrian accidents are a serious concern for victims and their families. During the recession, fewer drivers resulted in fewer pedestrian accidents. As the economy improved, an increase in pedestrian accidents resulted in more pedestrian fatalities. According to a new study, 4,884 pedestrians were killed during 2014, which is the most recent year for which data is available. The number of pedestrian fatalities represents a 19 percent increase from 2009 and the highest number since 2005.