Pedestrians often use Tampa’s roadways and crosswalks due to the proximity of stores, offices, and public transportation to people’s homes and the year-round sunshine. Unfortunately, Tampa is also among the most dangerous places for pedestrians. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, even in the sunshine streets of Tampa.
If a negligent motorist struck you, a Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer from Perenich Law Injury Attorneys can help you explore your legal options.
Our firm’s successes include many pedestrian accident claims. In one case, we obtained a significant jury verdict for our client, who suffered a crushed pelvis and a permanent colostomy after being struck by a car while walking along a rural Pasco County road. Each case is unique and will have different results, so call our seasoned personal injury attorneys today to learn more about your legal options for recovery.
How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents in Tampa?
Across the country, around 76,000 pedestrians sustain injuries each year, and more than 6,000 die due to their injuries.
In the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater metropolitan areas, pedestrians experienced 968 fatal accidents in a decade. This is equivalent to nearly 100 pedestrian deaths each year, making it the eighth-most dangerous place for pedestrians in the nation.
Six other metropolitan areas in Florida also made the top 10 list of the most dangerous places for pedestrians.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers can cause pedestrian accidents in many ways, including:
Making a left-hand turn
Turning left can often be a stressful experience for drivers in high-traffic areas around town, such as County Line Road from Dale Mabry Highway to U.S. 41. Left-hand turns often require the driver to judge a safe gap in traffic going straight through the intersection to complete the maneuver. Drivers can become so distracted by the task of evaluating a safe gap that they fail to look for pedestrians when turning.
Failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian at a marked or unmarked intersection
Failing to yield to a school bus when the bus has stopped, extended its stop sign, and has red lights flashing.
Driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs
Alcohol impairment can create significant deficits in drivers’ skills to operate their motor vehicles safely. Tracking moving objects or people such as pedestrians, controlling speed to avoid causing accidents with other roadway users, and exercising good judgment when driving are almost impossible tasks when driving while intoxicated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all pedestrian accidents involve either an intoxicated person.
Failing to pay attention to all hazards on the road
Inattentional blindness refers to how a driver’s brain processes information in a chaotic environment by focusing on the most significant dangers, such as commercial trucks, while failing to see more minor hazards such as pedestrians.
Driving during times of poor visibility
A pedestrian accident is most likely to occur during the hours of darkness when it can be difficult for a driver to see the pedestrian walking along the roadside.
Driving while distracted
Distracted driving is a significant cause of all types of accidents, including pedestrian accidents. Three types of driver distractions can result in a driver losing control of their vehicle: manual distractions, which cause them to take their hands from the wheel; visual distractions, which cause them to look away from the road; and cognitive distractions, which draw their minds from the task of driving safely. A distracted driver can easily cause an accident with a pedestrian who steps into the crosswalk or runs into the roadway while the driver is not paying attention.
Common Injuries Suffered in Tampa Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians can incur nearly any type of injury in roadway accidents. However, whichever part of the body sustains the initial impact with the vehicle is the most likely to be injured. SUVs are known to cause particularly severe injuries to pedestrians. Their higher profile results in the vehicle’s bumper and grill striking the pedestrian in the abdomen or chest area rather than the lower extremities, which would be the impact point in a pedestrian accident involving a sedan-type vehicle.
Some of the ways that pedestrians can be injured in accidents include:
- Head injuries, including facial trauma and traumatic brain injuries. Injuries to the head are often secondary injuries that result from the pedestrian hitting the hood of a car or ground during the accident.
- Lower extremity injuries, such as broken hips, legs, ankles, feet, or pelvis. These injuries are often “impact point” injuries from accidents involving sedan-type vehicles.
- Upper extremity injuries, such as damage to the internal organs, the spinal cord, the spinal vertebrae, and discs. These impact points are common in pedestrian accidents involving an SUV or pickup truck. Broken arms or wrists are another common upper extremity injury.
The Importance of Hiring a Tampa Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
While individuals are entitled to the right to seek compensation for the expenses and impacts they incurred due to a Tampa pedestrian accident, many encounter difficulties when pursuing this process alone, including the following scenarios.
#1. Hit-and-Run Accidents
A large percentage of pedestrian accidents in Tampa are hit-and-run accidents. In a hit-and-run, the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the accident leaves the scene without offering their contact and insurance information to the pedestrian or rendering simple aid, such as alerting first responders of the accident and remaining with the victim until help arrives.
The difficulty with pursuing compensation after an accident with a hit-and-run driver is that, without the driver’s identity or insurance policy associated with them, it is impossible to file a claim. If your claim involves this scenario, your Tampa pedestrian accident attorney can help you figure out whether any other parties may be liable. Your proactive lawyer can also explore other potential sources of coverage, such as claiming coverage under your personal injury protection policy or your employer-sponsored health care plan.
#2. Insurance Tactics
Insurance companies prefer to pay out as little as possible on Tampa pedestrian accident claims. Insurance companies hire insurance adjusters who investigate the claim, determine if the insured was liable, and if so how much liability they bear
Insurance adjusters can create difficulties in the process of obtaining compensation after a pedestrian accident by resorting to tactics such as:
- Convincing the claimant to accept a low-ball settlement offer under the pretense their offer is the only compensation available for the claim.
- Looking at the claimant’s social media pages, searching for posts or pictures that would undermine any medical claims.
- Asking the claimant to make a recorded statement and then using the information to suggest that the claimant is responsible for their injuries.
- Convincing the claimant to authorize the release of their entire medical history, which the adjuster can then pick through in search of pre-existing injuries to shift responsibility for the accident to the victim.
These are just a few tactics insurance companies use to reduce the amount they have to pay out on injury claims. An experienced Tampa pedestrian injury lawyer will handle communication with the insurance company to protect your claim from their tactics. Your attorney will foster an environment that will help the insurance company make a fair settlement offer.
#3. Understanding How to Value the Claim
Many personal injury claimants find themselves in difficult circumstances months or years after obtaining compensation for their injury. They may panic when they realize that what seemed like a generous offer by the at-fault party’s insurance company has failed to provide the compensation necessary to cover the long-term expenses of their injury. Without understanding the costs that often accompany Tampa pedestrian accident injuries and having time to see the big picture, a fair settlement value is difficult to identify.
Your pedestrian accident lawyer has the vital task of guiding you during the process so that you can make well-informed choices about settlement offers and other decisions about your claim.
#4. Difficulty Understanding the Legal Process
If the at-fault party’s insurer fails to pay your claim or make a fair settlement offer, Tampa pedestrian accident claimants have the right to file their claim as a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. However, this is a complex process involving many court requirements and deadlines. Attorneys spend at least seven years earning a law degree and many more years obtaining experience to help their clients navigate the legal process.
#5. Investigating Your Case
Just as the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster will want to investigate the facts of your claim, your attorney will want to as well. You and your attorney must be able to show that someone else was liable for injuring you in a pedestrian accident to have a successful claim. You and your attorney may need to acquire several pieces of evidence and witness testimony (often from the at-fault party’s attorney or the insurance company) that can help show the elements of negligence that can prove your claim in court.
The elements of negligence are as follows:
- The at-fault party owed a duty of care to other roadway users to drive safely and legally to protect them from harm.
- A breach in the duty of care occurred when the driver violated the rules of safe and legal driving behavior.
The breach resulted in a Tampa pedestrian accident that injured you, and you have acquired expenses and impacts as a result.
#6. Collecting Your Compensation
Insurance companies pay the vast majority of pedestrian accident settlements and court awards. These companies pay because most people do not have the money to pay out-of-pocket for someone else’s injury expenses.
Once you have entered into a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance provider or have obtained a court decision in your favor, you will have to collect that settlement or award. Doing so on your own can be difficult, as you may not have the legal knowledge to know how the insurance company makes the payment, the requirements for receiving it, and when the company must pay you.
You can arrange for an insurance company to send your payment to your pedestrian accident lawyer directly, which will allow your attorney to deduct the fees for the services they provided during the personal injury claims process. Then, your attorney will deliver your funds to you. Because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, they can assist more clients because they are not waiting for the client to pay in advance. The contingent fee billing method allows anyone to access legal counsel, regardless of their financial status.
Need a Tampa Pedestrian Accident Attorney? We Can Help
The father of the founding partners of Perenich Law Injury Attorneys began practicing law in the Tampa Bay area in the 1950s. He became one of the first attorneys to focus his practice on providing services for individuals who had been injured or lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.
His sons Greg, Tim, and Terence followed in his footsteps, seeking to offer advocacy and support to accident injury and wrongful death claimants through Perenich Law Injury Attorneys. They have since helped Florida accident victims to recover millions of dollars worth of compensation.
Our family is here to help your family get back on its feet after a serious pedestrian accident. For your free consultation with a Tampa pedestrian accident lawyer, call now.