Injured in a West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident? Here’s What to Know About Filing a Claim for Damages.

South Florida has a reputation for being somewhat risky. It’s got a plethora of alligators, firearms and hurricanes. But as it turns out, one of the riskiest things you can do here is take a stroll. West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are an average of more than 9,300 pedestrian accidents in this state every year. As a result of those, more than 5,800 pedestrians are injured (more than 1,360 of those injuries are serious), and nearly 800 die. Risky driver behaviors, such as speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving, contribute to these incidents and have been on the rise.

From 2010 to 2021, the pedestrian death rate in Florida rose nearly 80%, while other types of traffic fatalities increased by 25%. Florida has the third-highest rate of pedestrian deaths nationally in 2021. (In some recent years, it’s ranked No. 1.) That same year, state lawmakers passed a measure requiring the state driver education test to include a minimum of 25 questions on pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Most pedestrian deaths in Florida occur on roads without sidewalks when it’s dark outside.

Pedestrians in South Florida are especially vulnerable to hit-and-run crashes. In 2023, the FLHSMV reported there were more than 104,200 hit-and-run crashes in Florida, resulting in 271 deaths and 871 serious bodily injuries. Of those, nearly 60% were pedestrians and 17% were bicyclists.

As our West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyers can explain, Florida law requires motorists to stop immediately at the scene of a crash that results in property damage, injury, or death. Failure to do so in a case involving serious injury or death is a felony – regardless of whether they caused the crash or not.

How To Recover Damages After a Florida Pedestrian Accident

Pursuing a claim for damages after a pedestrian accident is a bit more convoluted than your typical car accident case.

For one thing, pedestrians may not have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which is the no-fault insurance that most motorists are required to have. This is your own policy that covers up to $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages following a crash – regardless of who is at-fault. If a pedestrian has PIP coverage, they can use it if they’re struck by a motor vehicle. If they do not have it, they may be able to file a claim for PIP from the driver’s PIP carrier, regardless of fault.

If the driver was negligent in causing the crash AND the pedestrian’s injuries meet the serious injury threshold as outlined in F.S. 627.737, (which is often the case), the pedestrian can sue the driver for compensatory damages. If the driver was drunk, they may even be able to pursue additional punitive damages (intended to punish the driver for egregious wrongdoing).

If the driver does not have insurance, does not have enough insurance to cover the cost of the damages, or is not known due to the fact that it’s a hit-and-run, the injured pedestrian and/or their surviving family members may file a claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage from their own insurance carrier. This is only if they can prove the other driver was at least partially at-fault for their injuries.

Pedestrians may have additional claims against third parties, such as dram shop liability claims against the bar that served the driver, dangerous instrumentality claims against the vehicle owner (if different from the driver), or vicarious liability claims against the driver’s employer if they were acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash.

If you are injured in a West Palm Beach pedestrian accident, our dedicated injury lawyers can help you ascertain your legal options and next steps.

Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

Pedestrian Safety, FLHSMV

More Blog Entries:

What Happens if I’m in a Palm Beach Car Accident While Driving for Work? Feb. 14, 2024, West Palm Beach Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog

Contact Information