Many Florida residents and visitors like to walk around outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery. Unfortunately, these pedestrians are often at risk for serious injury and even death. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 population in Florida was the third highest in the nation in 2021.
Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are typically caused by driver negligence, pedestrian negligence, or a combination of both. Drivers may be negligent in:
- Engaging in distracted driving.
- Violating speed limits or driving too fast for conditions.
- Failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, at intersections, or at other places where pedestrians have the right-of-way.
- Failing to keep a proper lookout.
- Driving while intoxicated.
- Failing to turn headlights on when driving at night.
Pedestrians may be negligent in:
- Failing to cross in the crosswalk or other designated area.
- Suddenly walking into the street or behaving erratically.
- Walking in prohibited areas (e.g., on the highway).
- Walking into the street while distracted and/or using a cell phone.
- Failing to pay attention prior to crossing the street.
- Wearing dark clothing or failing to use safety lights at night.
What happens if both the driver and pedestrian are negligent?
Under Florida’s modified comparative negligence laws, pedestrians can recover damages for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of earning capacity if they are 50 percent or less than 50 percent at fault for their accident. However, the pedestrian’s award will be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to them by the judge or jury. For example, the court may reduce $100,000 in damages to $70,000 if the pedestrian is found to be 30 percent at fault.