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Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents


Personal Injury

Florida’s Uniform Traffic Control Law applies not only to motorists, but to all persons whom share our streets and roadways, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Consequently, both motorists and pedestrians are entitled to, as well as subject to, the rights, duties, and obligations provided by law. The Gainesville Injury Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. discuss some common causes of pedestrian accidents.

While some pedestrian accidents are caused by the negligent or unlawful actions of a pedestrian, many accidents are caused by the negligence of another person, such as a automobile driver, motorcyclist, or bicyclist. When a person breaches a duty to another through their intentional or negligent actions, or otherwise fails to act in a reasonable or lawful manner, and an injury or fatality occurs as a result of such failure, that person can be held liable for damages caused due to the accident.

The primary cause of pedestrian accidents is the failure to observe traffic signals, traffic devices, and traffic laws. Often motorists may fail yield the right of way to a pedestrian, either because they did not observe the pedestrian, or they did not know that the pedestrian had the right of way. Neither ignorance of the law, nor failure to observe a pedestrian, constitute valid defenses in terms of liability for one’s negligence.

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Many pedestrian accidents occur while a pedestrian is attempting to cross an intersection or roadway. Vehicles must yield the right of way to pedestrians that are lawfully crossing a roadway. Some accidents result when a motorist fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or fails to slow their vehicle down to a reasonable speed in obedience of a yield sign. While intersection and crosswalk accidents are very common, accidents can also occur where a pedestrian, though not attempting to cross, is simply walking along a roadway.

Multiple explanations can be ascertained from crash data facts and statistics in circumstances where the intentional, negligent and/or criminal actions of a motorist cause an accident resulting in injury or fatality. Many pedestrian accidents are caused by distracted driving, such as driving while texting, utilizing a mobile device, eating, smoking, or any other activity that causes a driver to take their eyes off the roadway for an unreasonable period of time. Pedestrian accidents are also commonly attributed to weather-related or nighttime visibility impairment, sometimes in combination with distracted driving.

Alcohol or Drug related impairment is another common cause of pedestrian accidents. In some cases a pedestrian is intoxicated, impaired or otherwise acting in an unreasonable or negligent manner, but the driver has also acted negligently. In such cases, the victim may still obtain compensation for injury, although an award for damages may be proportionately reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the pedestrian. To view more information regarding comparative negligence and contributory fault in Florida, see ‘Apportionment of Damages.’