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What If My Car Accident Involved a Pedestrian?

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Posted on February 7, 2024

In many busy and densely populated cities, such as the Tampa Bay area, pedestrian and vehicle traffic can intersect in dangerous ways. If your car accident involves a pedestrian, it is important to understand what steps to take immediately after the accident as well as during the insurance process to protect your rights.

Steps to Take Immediately After Hitting a Pedestrian

If you hit a pedestrian with your car, you must stop immediately at the scene of the accident and check to see if the pedestrian is injured. If so, call 911 immediately and render aid to the pedestrian as much as possible. Remain at the scene until a police officer or paramedics arrive. Exchange information with the pedestrian and anyone who witnessed the accident.

Tell the law enforcement officer your side of the story, but do not admit fault. Write down your police report number before you leave. You should also take photographs of the scene of the accident. If you were injured in the crash, seek medical care for your own injuries without delay. Then, contact your car insurance company to report the accident.

Drivers Do Not Automatically Pay for Pedestrian-Car Accidents

Driver fault is not automatic in a pedestrian-vehicle accident. Pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way in Florida. While drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing within a crosswalk, no pedestrian may step off of a curb or place of safety while a vehicle is approaching too closely to reasonably stop.

In addition, “jaywalking,” or a pedestrian crossing the street at a place between two intersections with traffic lights, is against the law in Florida. In these scenarios, the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to drivers.

Who Is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident in Florida?

Florida is unique in that it is one of the only no-fault insurance states in the country. Under this rule, each person is required to seek compensation from his or her own insurance company after a car accident, regardless of fault for the crash.

If the pedestrian owns a motor vehicle that is insured in Florida, he or she can use first-party personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for his or her injuries. If the pedestrian does not have an auto insurance policy, the insurance policy of someone living in his or her household that owns a vehicle may cover the pedestrian’s losses.

With no other insurance policies available, your insurance may cover the pedestrian’s medical bills and losses. If the pedestrian’s injuries are serious enough to meet Florida’s tort threshold, he or she can file a claim or personal injury lawsuit against you directly if you are at fault for the crash. If the comparative fault rule assigns a percentage of fault to both of you, both of your insurance companies may contribute toward a settlement.

What to Do Next

Fault and financial responsibility for a pedestrian-vehicle accident is not always clear. It can be difficult to understand whose insurance policy is responsible for paying for the pedestrian’s injuries and losses. If you hit someone with your car in Tampa, consult with a lawyer at Vanguard Attorneys right away to discuss your legal options.

We can help you report the crash to your car insurance company, determine whether the pedestrian was negligent or in violation of a traffic law, and seek fair compensation for any injuries you might have suffered in the accident. We will guide you through the state laws that apply to your unique case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.