Articles Posted in Pedestrians/Bicyclists

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Distracted walking is in the news as the nation grapples with significant increases in the number of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents.

Unfortunately, Florida is all too familiar with the crisis, as the Sunshine State leads the nation in the number of walkers who are injured or killed each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 5,000 deaths and 76,000 injuries caused by pedestrian accidents each year; that’s one death every two hours. And, as the Miami Herald reported recently, 9 of the 20 deadliest cities for pedestrians are located in Florida.pedestriandistraction-300x208

Fort Myers injury lawyers know the increased risks faced by walkers are attributable to a number of factors, including lack of proper infrastructure such as sidewalks and street lights, distraction on the part of both the walker and drivers, and the growing prevalence of electric or otherwise silent vehicles.

A study published in 2012 by researchers from New York’s Stony Brook University found that those who texted while walking were 60 percent more likely to veer off course. Headphones are another growing problem. F.S. 316.304 prohibits drivers from wearing headphones, although no such law exists for pedestrian or cyclists.

But, while it’s true distracted walking can increase accident risks, the issue of distracted walking is also being pushed by the insurance industry as a way to reduce the liability of insured drivers for collisions that typically result in very serious or fatal injuries.

 

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When it comes to the injury risks in Southwest Florida, it’s hard to overstate the risk of walking.

Nationwide, the risks have reached epidemic levels, and Florida has long been the deadliest state in the nation for pedestrians.

NPR reported this week that pedestrian deaths have reached levels not seen in decades. A new report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association identified 6,227 pedestrians who were killed by motor vehicles last year.

As our injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers recently reported, Florida is the deadliest state in the nation for pedestrian accidents. The Fort Myers-Cape Coral area is among 8 metro areas in Florida to be named to the nation’s 10 deadliest areas for walkers, according to Smart Growth America’s report, Dangerous by Design, which largely focuses on inadequate infrastructure, like sidewalks and crosswalks.

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Florida remains by far the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians, according to the results of an updated report that primarily blames the risks on a lack of infrastructure and poor urban planning.

So far 2019 has gotten off to a deadly start with two pedestrians killed in back-to-back North Fort Myers pedestrian accidents.  The Fort Myers News-Press reports 10 people were killed on Lee County roads in January, compared to a total of 84 traffic deaths reported for all of last year. In addition to increasing risks for these vulnerable population groups, our pedestrian injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers continue to see these cases result in serious or fatal injury.pedestrian accident

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Pedestrian accidents occur when a person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down is involved in a traffic crash. That’s per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which reports there were nearly 5,400 fatal pedestrian accidents and 70,000 injuries just in 2015 alone.pedestrian accident lawyer

In civil liability cases involving pedestrian accidents, one question that inevitably arises is comparative fault. That is, to what extent is the person who was struck by the vehicle also to blame? The NHTSA reports alcohol involvement was a factor in nearly half of all pedestrian accidents – which includes consumption by the driver and/ or pedestrian. Our injury lawyers work to present evidence that will discredit allegations of comparative fault, or at least minimize its impact.

In Florida, F.S. 768.81 is the state’s comparative fault law. It’s plaintiff-friendly in the sense that it will allow plaintiffs to collect on damages even if they are 99 percent at-fault and defendant is just 1 percent at-fault. However, the law does proportionately reduce the amount of damages based on that percentage. So for example, if plaintiff is deemed 70 percent at-fault and defendant is 30 percent at-fault, defendant would only be liable for 30 percent of plaintiff’s damages. In many other states, plaintiffs are barred from collecting any damages if they share half or 51 percent of the blame. In a handful of states, plaintiffs are not allowed to collect damages if they are at-fault to any degree. Continue reading →

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Florida is one of the worst places in the country to be a pedestrian. Data released earlier this year from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that of the 5,400 fatal pedestrian accidents nationally in 2015, there were 628 that happened in Florida. To put this in context, Florida claims about 6.25 percent of the nation’s population, but nearly 12 percent of its pedestrian accidents.pedestrian accident

But just because a pedestrian accident happens – even one that results in serious injuries – doesn’t automatically mean the injured party will be entitled to damages. It is still necessary for claimants to be able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant motorist was negligent in striking the plaintiff, causing the asserted injuries. This isn’t to say you must be 100 percent innocent in the entire incident. In fact, Florida operates under a standard of pure comparative negligence (per F.S. 768.81), which means even if you are 99 percent to blame for what happened, you could technically still collect that other 1 percent in damages from at-fault parties.

However, a recent case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (which oversees cases out of Puerto Rico, where this claim originated), plaintiffs still have to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the other party was negligent.

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Florida is far and away one of the most dangerous places for a stroll, at least if you’re walking amid motor vehicle traffic. Now, a recent report by the Governors Highway Traffic Safety Administration (GHSA) reveals it’s getting worse. pedestrian accident

In fact, last year was the deadliest year for pedestrians nationwide since 1996. In 2016, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles, which is an uptick of 11 percent from just one year earlier. Between 2006 and 2015, pedestrian deaths climbed by 12 percent, from about 4,800 to roughly 5,400. This was even as the total number of car accident deaths was on the decline. Pedestrians account for 15 percent of all traffic deaths.

It can’t be overlooked that most pedestrian deaths are the result of someone’s negligence. This occurs when someone breaches a duty of care owed to another, resulting in injury. Mostly in pedestrian accident cases, we’re referring to the duty of care to drive the car in a reasonably safe manner.  Continue reading →

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Want to go for a stroll? If you live in Fort Myers, you may want to think twice.crosswalk

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral metro area is the No. 1 most dangerous in the country for people to walk. Nowhere in the nation was the risk of a pedestrian accident higher than Florida. Fort Myers was the worst of all.

The measure used to reach this conclusion is termed the Pedestrian Danger Index, or PDI. This is a measure of how many local commuters walk to work (which gives us the best measure of people likely to be out and walking every day) and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. The national average out of 104 metro areas was 64. By comparison, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers region has a PDI of 283. Continue reading →

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Pedestrian accidents occur almost every other day in Florida. According to new research form the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Florida pedestrian accidents spiked by more than 17 percent at last count, up to 588 in 2014. peoplewalking

The latest report, released last month, reveals too that pedestrian accidents are comprising a bigger than ever percentage of overall traffic fatalities in the Sunshine State – 20.8 percent in 2013 versus 23.6 percent in 2014. Other early data from 2015 suggests pedestrian deaths nationally climbed by another 10 percent, which, if proven accurate, would bring the uptick to 27 percent in just three years. This is despite the fact that overall traffic deaths have been trending downward in recent years.

A pedestrian accident in Estero recently resulted in the death of 55-year-old man who was struck while crossing U.S. 41 from the SunMart gas station near Commons Way. The 31-year-old driver was reportedly not cited in the crash. In April, a 23-year-old man was struck and killed in a Fort Myers pedestrian accident on Laredo Avenue. Charges against the 17-year-old driver are pending. And in March, a pedestrian was struck by two cars while crossing Daniels Parkway near Gateway Boulevard. He later died of his injuries. Continue reading →

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It was supposed to be one of the most mundane tasks of her day: Crossing the street. road3

Instead, it ended her life and nearly claimed the life of her 5-month-old baby.

Authorities say the 35-year-old mother-of-two was killed in Port Charlotte while on vacation from Pittsburgh with her husband and two sons when she decided to go for a walk. It was about 7 a.m. She decided to take her youngest with her for the stroll.  Continue reading →

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A South Florida bar has been ordered to pay $7 million to the families of a young couple killed in a bike accident on Labor Day 2013. The pair was riding a tandem bicycle when they were struck by a drunk driver who had reportedly just left the bar intoxicated. tandembicycle

What’s interesting about this case is that normally, victims of drunk drivers in Florida would not be able to collect damages from the establishment that served the driver alcohol except in very limited circumstances.

However, defendant bar was the employer of the drunk driver, who was reportedly drinking throughout his shift and left intoxicated after a friend failed to pick him up as promised. That may have made a difference in this case. Continue reading →