Florida is notorious for its high rate of pedestrian accidents and deaths. Preliminary data from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association showed that the number of people hit by cars increased between 2016 and 2017. Florida had the second-highest pedestrian fatality rate in 2017. Regardless of how many road safety messages are preached, pedestrians in Florida are at risk. Sometimes pedestrians escape with minor injuries but sometimes they are quite severe. When victims die, family members are left without companionship and financial support. This is why it is critical to have a skilled Clearwater pedestrian accident attorney on your side.
Clearwater is popular with both tourists and Floridians. Many of them like to walk the streets and enjoy the great weather or get in their daily exercise. Unfortunately, like much of Florida, Clearwater is quite dangerous. The Tampa metropolitan area, which includes Clearwater, was ranked second among the most dangerous places in the United States for pedestrians. It can be tough to focus on recovery while fighting for compensation. That’s why you need to contact a Clearwater personal injury lawyer. If you doubt this, let’s look at some of the injuries pedestrians often suffer. Sometimes they are hard to prove and insurance companies try not to pay damages, making an attorney necessary.
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What Injuries do Pedestrian Accidents Cause?
Serious injuries are all too common when a car hits a pedestrian. Our attorneys often represent victims who have suffered:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many pedestrians suffer head injuries in accidents in Clearwater, FL. An object can penetrate the brain tissue or a piece of the skull may injure the brain. Traumatic brain injuries can be either mild or severe. In either case, it is best to contact an attorney that is familiar with head injuries. In mild cases, you may lose consciousness for a short period or not at all. You may simply feel dazed or confused or experience nausea and vomiting. Problems sleeping or sleeping more than usual are also common symptoms. Meanwhile, moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries can result in seizures and loss of consciousness for several minutes or hours. Accident victims may also experience loss of coordination, slurred speech, and profound confusion. Traumatic brain injuries can lead to disability or death. If you or a loved one was seriously injured, you need a brain injury lawyer to help you.
Spinal injuries are often serious and they can lead to long-term disability. Recovering will take lots of therapy and you may have to make adjustments around your home to help you adapt. You may not be able to do the work you previously did. This has implications for your quality of life and livelihood. A Florida spine injury lawyer can help you quantify your current and future expenses. This is necessary if you want to seek compensation from the driver at fault.
Many pedestrians who are hit by cars end up with broken bones. These are painful and they can prevent you from carrying out your daily activities. Sometimes the damage is permanent and you have to make major adjustments to your lifestyle. If you suffer significant losses, you may be eligible for damages for pain and suffering. Your pedestrian accident attorney in Clearwater, FL can guide you on this.
Internal injuries are common since pedestrians have no protection against a car. The liver, kidneys, and spleen may suffer damage. Unless you go to the doctor immediately after the accident, you may not know you have internal injuries. They often don’t show symptoms right away but they can be very serious. It will be difficult to prove your injuries were caused by the accident later. A Clearwater pedestrian accident attorney will always advise you to see medical attention even if you feel okay.
If you or loved one suffered any of these injuries, consult a pedestrian accident attorney in Clearwater FL. They can advise you on how you should proceed. They can help you to seek compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance company.
What do I do After a Pedestrian Accident in Clearwater, FL?
No one leaves home expecting to get involved in an accident. However, as the statistics show, pedestrian accidents occur in Florida frequently. If you are the victim of an accident in Clearwater, FL, it helps to know how to proceed. In the aftermath of the accident, you may be frazzled, scared, and in pain. Try to think as clearly as you can. The steps you take after the accident can impact the amount of compensation you receive. Be sure to consult with a Clearwater car accident lawyer that has experience with pedestrian accident injuries in order to get advice.
Seek Medical Treatment
Depending on how serious the accident is, medics may be summoned to the scene. You may even be rushed to hospital in an ambulance. In these instances, you will definitely be treated. However, if your injuries seem minor or you feel fine, you may not want to go to the doctor. This is not a good idea. After the adrenaline wears off, you may feel pain or sickness. Even if you seek treatment then, you may not receive compensation for your medical expenses. The driver’s insurance company may argue you sustained your injuries elsewhere. Going to the doctor immediately means you have the medical records to prove you were injured in an accident. These records will be used to support your claim for compensation. They will also support your case if you have to go to court.
Call the Police
If you are able, call the police. Otherwise, ask someone to do it for you. You need the police to visit the scene and compile a report. They will take statements and look at the scene. The officers will then record the details and who they believe is at fault. In a multi-vehicle accident, this is especially important. You need to know which driver’s insurance company to pursue. If your case goes to court, the police report can be used as evidence.
Take Photos of the Scene
If you can, photograph the Clearwater, FL accident scene. Take photos of the vehicles involved, the road conditions and any skid marks or other tire tracks. You should also take photos of your injuries or have someone do it for you.
Get Contact Information for Witnesses
Witnesses may not stick around. Get the name and phone number of anyone who saw what happened. Your lawyer may want to speak to them so you shouldn’t let them leave without getting the information. They can testify if necessary and corroborate your account of what happened.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Attorney
As soon as possible after a vehicle hits you, you should call a pedestrian accident attorney near Clearwater. It’s ideal if you can do so from the scene since they can advise you immediately. If you are rushed to the hospital and can’t make a phone call right away, do it as soon as possible. You can also ask a relative to do it for you. The attorney will listen to the facts of the case and do their own investigations. They will also determine if your case is eligible for compensation. If so, they will negotiate with the driver’s insurance company. They will work hard to get you a fair settlement.
What Damages Can I Recover from a Pedestrian Accident?
A pedestrian who is injured in a car crash should receive compensation for all their losses. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also qualify for future losses. A pedestrian accident attorney in Clearwater, FL will be well-placed to guide you. They know which losses are worth pursuing.
Here are some of the things for which you can seek compensation:
This covers the treatment you need immediately and any tests and further treatment. It also includes medications, physical therapy or aids you need to recover.
If your injuries are serious, you will have to take time away from work. If you can return to work, you may only be able to do so on a limited basis. You should be compensated for the wages you will lose.
Lost Earning Capacity
If the accident causes you to become disabled, you may not be able to work again. A pedestrian accident lawyer will tell you that you should receive compensation for this. You should get damages for the money you would have earned if you were able to work.
You may have to get a wheelchair and retrofit your home to help you get around. You shouldn’t have to foot these costs if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Pain and Suffering
An accident victim who undergoes severe physical and emotional trauma may be able to claim compensation. This type of loss is very difficult to quantify and prove. Therefore, you need the help of a pedestrian accident lawyer to help you prove your case.
You should note that getting involved in an accident doesn’t automatically result in a huge payday. You can get compensation for all of the above losses but you actually have to prove you suffered them. It is easy to present bills for medical treatment and medicine but other losses are harder to prove. That is why you need to work with a Clearwater, FL pedestrian accident lawyer. They have the experience and skills to fight your case.
What Are Common Pedestrian Accident Causes?
Pedestrian accident attorneys in Clearwater, FL will first identify the cause of the accident. This is important in proving liability and seeking compensation. If you pursue the wrong party, your claim will be unsuccessful. Here are some of the common causes of accidents:
Despite all the warnings about the dangers of driving over the speed limit, it still happens. Drivers rush to work or from one activity to another confident that they are in control of the vehicle. They don’t think about how everything can change in a split second. Many pedestrians are also rushing. They walk when they should wait and they rush in front of moving vehicles. They assume the drivers will stop when they see them. Unfortunately, sometimes they simply can’t stop in time. Speed can lead to multi-vehicle crashes and pedestrians can get caught in them.
People continue to operate vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol makes it difficult for drivers to focus. It slows down their reactions and impairs their judgment. They may fail to notice pedestrians. When they do see them, they may not be able to slow down. Drugs can also make it difficult to maintain control of a vehicle and react appropriately. If an impaired driver hit you, consult a drunk driving accident attorney in Clearwater, FL for advice.
Many drivers take calls, send texts or post selfies to Instagram while they are in their vehicle. They pay more attention to their phones than the road. They may think they can multitask but very often, distracted driving leads to a crash. Drivers may fail to notice pedestrians on a crosswalk. They may even drift onto the sidewalk and cause a distracted driving accident. Pedestrians also make mistakes on the road. A driver who isn’t paying attention can’t avoid them.
How Will a Pedestrian Injury Lawyer Get Compensation for A Client?
When you contact a lawyer about your case, they will ask you for all the details. You should bring:
- The police report if you have it
- Receipts for your medical bills and medication
- Medical report
- Payslip showing your previous wages
- Photos of the accident scene
If other details are required, your attorney may ask an investigator to probe deeper. They want all the evidence showing the driver’s role in the crash. They also need evidence of your injuries and losses. This is how they will determine how your case is worth.
Once the party at fault has been identified, they will be notified that you will be taking action against them. Your pedestrian accident attorney will file a notice of claim and put together evidence to substantiate your case.
The driver’s insurance company will likely make you a settlement offer. Your attorney will review it and advise you on whether to accept it. If they believe the amount is too low, they will try to get you a better deal. If you can’t reach a settlement, you may have to go to court. Having an attorney often means getting higher compensation. When you are recovering from injuries, fighting an insurance company is difficult. Your lawyer has the energy and knowledge to take on the battle.
Contact a Clearwater Pedestrian Accident Attorney
At Winters and Yonker, we know to secure compensation for victims of pedestrian accidents. Our lawyer here in Clearwater, FL will look at your case, offer guidance and fight for your rights. Call us today to schedule a consultation.