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.
Though there have been advances in safety in recent years, pedestrians remain uniquely vulnerable on roadways and in our communities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, greater than 75,000 victims are injured each year in auto-pedestrian accidents, and there are 5,000 fatal pedestrian accident victims each year. Pedestrians are injured, on average, every 7 minutes in pedestrian accidents.
An 8-year old girl was recently struck in Tampa while walking to school. According to police, the little girl was struck in the face by a side-view mirror as she stepped of the curb while walking to school. The victim was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Following the accident, police noted that it did not seem they would cite the driver and traffic was stopped in both directions while authorities investigated the pedestrian accident.
It was estimated that 76,000 pedestrians were injured during 2012 in traffic accidents. The number of pedestrians that lost their lives in auto-pedestrian accidents increased from 2011 to 2012. During 2012, Florida was in the top 3 among states with the highest number of auto-pedestrian accident fatalities. Pedestrian accidents can also cause victims to suffer with catastrophic injuries that may be lifelong.
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are not uncommon. Approximately 76,000 pedestrians were injured nationwide during 2012 when they were struck by a car or truck, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian accidents can occur in a variety of ways and leave victims and families suffering significant physical, financial and emotional damages.