Florida Pedestrian Accident Law: Common and Frequently Asked Questions When Pedestrians are Hit by a Car, Truck, Van or Other Motor Vehicle

Florida Pedestrian Accident Law_fightsforyou.netAll too common on South Florida’s roadways, pedestrians and bicycle riders are hit by cars, trucks, vans, taxi’s, motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, golf carts, segways or even public school buses, while jogging, skateboarding, roller skating, rollerblading, in line skating, walking on a sidewalk or even while crossing a street or highway or using a crosswalk — to which the pedestrians sustain serious and catastrophic injuries (usually involving broken arms and elbows, broken hips, fractured knees and broken legs, ORIF surgery, head injuries, torn ligaments, torn tendons and rotator cuff or shoulder labrum injuries (SLAP tear), concussions, neck and back spinal surgeries (fusion, discectomy, decompression, laminectomy, ACDF, etc.), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), or even death) in these types of Florida pedestrian car accidents.  Believe it or not, a lot of these Florida pedestrian automobile accidents can be prevented because a good amount of them are caused by drivers who are not paying attention, drivers who are distracted, drivers who are talking or texting on their cellular phones, or drivers who are driving drunk, under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Sometimes, pedestrians are hit by cars near poorly marked off construction sites or road construction areas, or flag men are not doing their jobs by warning pedestrians of the dangerous road or construction site conditions.

Some of the most common causes of Hialeah Florida pedestrian accidents can include the following:

  • Drivers who are drunk, tired or sleepy, or simply distracted and not paying attention;
  • Drivers who are speeding, driving in a reckless manner, talking on a cell phone or texting on a cell phone;
  • Intersections that are dangerous and not properly marked (such as with a crosswalk) or controlled by traffic control devices (such as with yield signs, stop signs, school crossing signs or stop lights);
  • Road construction areas that are not barricaded off, properly worked by flag men or have insufficient lighting;
  • Obstructions on private residential and commercial properties that can block the view or sight of pedestrians or cars (such as overgrown trees, high fences or other artificially created conditions on the property); and
  • Failure of pedestrians to wear brightly colored clothing or utilize bicycle or jogging lights.

Some of the most common and frequently asked questions of a Miami Florida pedestrian accident lawyer when a pedestrian or bicycle is hit by a car, truck, motorcycle or other motor vehicle, include the following:

What is the definition of a pedestrian under Florida traffic law?

Under Florida Statute 316.003, a pedestrian is considered any person afoot, and for which Florida pedestrians are considered traffic while using any street or highway for purposes of travel. Florida Pedestrians are to use designated cross walks (any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface) when crossing the street. Of note, Florida pedestrians have the right of way in general as compared to car, trucks, vans, motorcycles or other motor vehicles — this right of way is described under Florida pedestrian accident law as the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian approaching under such circumstances of direction, speed, and proximity as to give rise to danger of collision unless one grants precedence to the other.  In fact, pedestrians can utilize safety zones on the respective roadways which they are traveling, which are defined as the area or space officially set apart within a roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and protected or so marked by adequate signs or authorized pavement markings as to be plainly visible at all times while set apart as a safety zone. Florida pedestrians can also use designated side walks which are defined as those portions of a street between the curbline, or the lateral line, of a roadway and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.

What are a pedestrian’s responsibility under Florida law when crossing a street when a traffic light is green, yellow or red?

According to Florida Statute 316.075, a pedestrian facing a green light can cross the street or roadway (except when the green signal is a turn arrow) within any marked or unmarked crosswalk — to which all motor vehicles are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.  If the light is yellow or red, a pedestrian is not to enter the crosswalk or roadway unless they have a proper pedestrian crossing signal.

If I improperly enter a crosswalk, road or highway as a pedestrian, do cars or other motor vehicles still have a responsibility to avoid hitting me under Florida pedestrian accident law?

Yes.  According to Florida Statute 316.130(15), even in this scenario where a pedestrian enters a crosswalk, highway, street or roadway in an improper manner, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle (such as a bicycle, a child riding a tricycle, skateboard, roller skates, rollerblades, etc.) and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person. This means that the driver of a taxicab, bus, motorcycle or other motor vehicle is in a better position to avoid serious injury or death to a pedestrian even when the pedestrian may not be following his or her duties under Florida pedestrian law. Thus, in a case where a pedestrian is crossing a roadway outside of a crosswalk, or is attempting to cross Florida’s interstates, turnpike or highways, the driver of the vehicle must still be paying attention and actively look for dangerous situations in the roadway, including pedestrians, so as to avoid hitting and killing them — which could subject the driver a Miami Florida wrongful death lawsuit filed by a Florida wrongful death accident lawyer.

Do Florida drivers have to yield the right of way to pedestrian highway construction workers?

Yes.  According to Florida Statute 316.079, every driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian worker and flagperson engaged in maintenance or construction work on a highway whenever the driver is reasonably and lawfully notified of the presence of such worker by a flag person and a warning sign or device.  Moreover, every driver of a vehicle on public roadways shall yield the right-of-way to an escort vehicle or pedestrian flag person that is engaged in the management of highway movements of an oversize vehicle permitted pursuant to s. 316.550, provided the driver is reasonably and lawfully notified of the presence of such vehicle or flag person.

What are a Florida pedestrian’s general responsibility under Florida pedestrian accident law?

According to Florida Statute 316.130, general requirements under Florida traffic law regarding pedestrians includes the following:

  • A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer;

  • Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals at intersections as provided in s. 316.075, but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and be subject to the restrictions stated under Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes;

  • Where sidewalks are provided, no pedestrian shall, unless required by other circumstances, walk along and upon the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic (ie., pedestrians must use a sidewalk if one is available);

  • Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway in relation to the pedestrian’s direction of travel, facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction (ie., Florida pedestrians must face traffic when no sidewalk is available);

  • No pedestrian or person shall stand in the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle (ie, people selling water, fruit or other drinks in Miami road traffic);

  • No pedestrian or person shall stand on or in proximity to a street or highway for the purpose of soliciting the watching or guarding of any vehicle while parked or about to be parked on a street or highway;

  • The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger;

  • The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where signage so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger;

  • If a traffic control signal is not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway;

  • No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield;

  • Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle;

  • Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway;

  • Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk;

  • No pedestrian shall, except in a marked crosswalk, cross a roadway at any other place than by a route at right angles to the curb or by the shortest route to the opposite curb;

  • Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks;

  • No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices, and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements;

  • No pedestrian shall enter or remain upon any bridge or approach thereto beyond the bridge signal, gate, or barrier after a bridge operation signal indication has been given. No pedestrian shall pass through, around, over, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed;

  • No pedestrian may jump or dive from a publicly owned bridge; and

  • No pedestrian shall walk upon a limited access facility or a ramp connecting a limited access facility to any other street or highway; however, this subsection does not apply to maintenance personnel of any governmental subdivision.

If I am blind, do cars and other vehicles have to completely stop when I am crossing the street as a Florida pedestrian?

Yes.  According to Florida Statute 316.1301, when blind persons are crossing the street or highway by way of a guide dog or walking cane/stick, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection or place where the pedestrian is attempting to cross shall bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such intersection or place of crossing and, before proceeding, shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring such pedestrian.

Do bicycle riders have to yield the right of way to Florida pedestrians while riding a bike on a sidewalk?

Yes.  According to Florida Statute 316.2065(10), a person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.  For an extensive discussion on Miami Florida Bicycle Accident Law and common questions usually asked regarding Miami Florida bicycle accident injuries, see my previous post.

Do segway or other electric personal assistive mobility riders have to yield the right of way to Florida pedestrians while riding on a sidewalk?

Yes.  According to Florida Statute 316.2068, a person may operate such an electric mobility device such as a segway, on a sidewalk, provided that the person operating the device yields the right-of-way to pedestrians and gives an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.

Do mopeds operated under human power have to yield the right of way to Florida pedestrians while riding on a sidewalk?

Yes.  According to Florida Statute 316.208, a person propelling a moped solely by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.

Do golf carts have to yield the right of way to Florida pedestrians while riding on a sidewalk?

Yes.  According to Florida Statute 316.2126, golf carts and utility vehicles may operate on sidewalks adjacent to state highways only if such golf carts and utility vehicles yield to pedestrians and if the sidewalks are at least 5 feet wide.

If I am a pedestrian and am hit by a car or truck in Florida, can I secure pain and suffering damages for my Florida pedestrian car accident by way of a lawsuit?

Possibly. According to Florida Statute 627.737(2), if you are hit by a car or truck or any other vehicle with four or more wheels (excluding taxicabs, buses and limousines), a pedestrian plaintiff involved in a Florida pedestrian automobile accident may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease provided such injury or disease consists in whole or in part of: (a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; (b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; (c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; and/or (d) Death.

Of note, if you are a pedestrian that is hit by a motorcycle, bicycle, moped, scooter, tri-vehicle, segway or another type of motor vehicle with less than four wheels, or a taxicab, bus or limousine, you are not required to prove permanency or the other injuries above, in a Florida pedestrian accident, in order to recover past or future pain and suffering damages within a Florida lawsuit or claim.

Can I recover damages as a pedestrian even if the motor vehicle never hit me or my child?

Yes.  Even if a motor vehicle does not hit you, if you are forced to evade an accident and are injured in the process, the driver and/or owner of the motor vehicle can possibly still be held responsible for causing your injuries.

How do I pay my medical bills and get treatment following a Florida pedestrian accident if I do not have health insurance?

If you are hit by a car or truck and have your own car insurance, then you can secure Florida personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to cover your medical bills and lost wages, up to a maximum of $10,000.  If you do not own a motor vehicle and you do not live with a relative that has PIP insurance, and you are involved in a motor vehicle pedestrian accident because you were hit by a car or truck, then you may be eligible for PIP benefits from the owner or driver of the motor vehicle that hit you and caused your Florida pedestrian accident injuries, provided you are a Florida resident (if you are from another country or are on vacation and are a permanent resident of another state, you can not secure PIP benefits from the driver or owner of the vehicle that hit you).  If you are involved in a Florida pedestrian accident because a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter or moped hit you, then your own car insurance will not provide you Florida PIP benefits to cover your medical bills or lost wages, nor will the person’s insurance carrier that hit you. For more on Florida’s new personal injury protection (PIP) law and Florida personal injury protection benefits, see my previous article.

How do I pay my medical bills and get treatment following a Florida pedestrian accident if I was hit by a car, truck, motorcycle or other motor vehicle that had no automobile insurance coverage (uninsured motorist), did not have enough insurance coverage (underinsured driver) or leaves the scene of the accident (ie., a Miami Florida hit and run pedestrian accident)?

If you own a motor vehicle and you have Florida uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and/or Florida underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), you may be able to make a claim against your own car insurer to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. For an extensive discussion on Florida Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorist Automobile Insurance Coverage, see my previous article.

If I am injured in a Florida pedestrian car accident, and I bring a lawsuit against the vehicle that hit me, can I secure punitive damages?

Possibly. In order to recover punitive damages, you would generally need to show that the driver that hit you was willful, wanton and reckless in their driving, such as when one  drives drunk, is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or prescription medication (DUI), or while driving while intoxicated (DWI).

How long do I have to file a Florida pedestrian accident case if I sustained serious injuries?

In general, four years.  The Florida statute of limitations for lawsuits filed as a result of injuries sustained in a Florida pedestrian accident (ie., general negligence), is four years.

What happens if I am involved in a Florida pedestrian accident when working on the job or in the course and scope of employment?

If you are riding a bicycle as part of your job (such as delivering newspapers) or simply walking on the street or sidewalks as part of your sales job, or perhaps you are a flag person on a construction site, if you are hit by a car, taxi, truck or other motor vehicle, you would likely be entitled to Florida workers compensation benefits.  In this type of Florida work accident, not only could you be entitled to have your lost wages and medical bills paid as workers compensation benefits, but you may also still bring a claim or lawsuit against the car owner or driver that hit you. For an extensive discussion on Florida workers compensation law and Florida work accidents where one is injured on the job, see my previous article.

Moral of the Story: if you are injured or a fatality (ie., wrongful death) occurs due to a Miami Florida pedestrian accident, whether you are a pedestrian that was hit by a car or a construction site worker that is struck by a vehicle while working on a street or highway, if it happens in Orlando, Lakeland, Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples, Jacksonville, Palm Coast, Sarasota, Pensacola, Hollywood, Palm Beach Gardens, Panama City, Ocala, Miami Gardens, Aventura, Miami Beach, Hialeah, West Kendall, Homestead, the Florida Keys, Weston, Florida City, Cutler Bay, Sunny Isles, Miami Lakes, West Palm Beach, Key West or another area within Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach, or anywhere in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe Counties, know that pedestrians may have options available under Florida pedestrian accident law that may require the retention of a Fort Lauderdale, Florida pedestrian accident lawyer or a Miami Beach pedestrian injury lawyer, given the many complexities involved when injured due to a pedestrian car accident, and the unknown of whether a Florida pedestrian injury insurance claim is possible given Florida’s four year statute of limitations (SOL) for Florida pedestrian accident claims.