Pedestrians Are At Higher Risk Of Greater Harm
Most people think of vehicular accidents as something that only happens between cars, trucks, and motorcycles, perhaps even the occasional cyclist. The one thing all of these vehicles have in common is that they are on the road. However, a pedestrian, that is to say, someone that is outside and is walking on foot, spends most of that time on sidewalks, and only occasionally cross the street.
It’s easy to think that because of this, pedestrians don’t have to worry about collisions with vehicles, but sadly this is not the case. People can—and are—hit by cars and other vehicles in Florida and throughout the country. In fact, in 2017, Florida suffered 303 pedestrian-related accidents, making it the second highest in the country, surpassed only by California at 352.
One of the chief reasons for Florida having such a high rate of pedestrian fatalities is, ironically, because the state is so friendly to cars. City planning in many parts of Florida has centered around accommodating the needs of drivers, not pedestrians, and so there are many areas—even residential—where sidewalks don’t even exist. This forces pedestrians to walk on the shoulder of roads, or a lack of crosswalks for many miles, encouraging pedestrians to take a chance on jaywalking. The proximity of highways allowing cars to travel at high speed with no need for braking, and pedestrians just trying to walk, also means a poor mix of high speed with little time, and very fragile victims that crumple in a confrontation with a high-speed vehicle.
Of course, the other big cause of the high number of pedestrian-related accidents is the same thing that is responsible for vehicular accidents; distracted driving. People continue to use their phones while on the road, and this inattentiveness has led to everything from people not being aware they are about to collide into another vehicle, to drivers not realizing their vehicle is veering off the road and onto sidewalks until it is too late.
The Final Outcome
The biggest issue with an encounter between a vehicle and a pedestrian is that the physics in this equation never favor the pedestrian. The size, speed, mass and material of a vehicle mean that it’s extremely unlikely an impact with a person will result in superficial injuries like scrapes or scratches. Broken bones, major organ damage, and concussions that may result in traumatic brain injury are all possible outcomes of a person being hit by a car. And in some cases, death is the final result.
This is why it is so important for anyone caught in a traffic accident—or surviving family members of a traffic casualty—to talk to a personal injury lawyer. Pedestrians are, in theory, always supposed to be given the right of way by drivers, especially if those pedestrians are obeying traffic law as it relates to pedestrians. If the carelessness of a driver, or the poor design of the roads has led to an accident, a personal injury lawyer can help resolve these issues.