Pedestrian accidents happen quickly and without warning. While an accident is occurring, the last thing that is on someone’s mind is who is at fault. However, after an incident occurs, assessing Tampa pedestrian accident liability is important. Determining who is liable allows the injured party or parties to receive the damages they are owed, and to also achieve peace of mind. A capable pedestrian accident lawyer can do their best to assure that you get to experience that peace of mind. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact a lawyer who can work hard to advocate for you.
Initial Determination of Liability
Initially, law enforcement determines any Tampa pedestrian accident liability. They are trained to investigate accident scenes. The responding officers will make measurements, take photographs, and take the appropriate witness statements. The officers know traffic patterns and are the best individuals to handle the initial determination at the scene. Beyond that, liability is a decision made by lawyers, insurance adjusters, and ultimately judges and juries if it goes that far.
Under certain circumstances, involved parties may be given the opportunity to make arguments regarding liability but that is something the lawyers should be discussing with the adjusters or the representatives of the person who is responsible for that accident. If they are not decisive, then that burden will be on the court and ultimately on six jurors randomly chosen from their driver’s licenses.
Elements of Liability
The elements of a count for negligence are a duty, a breach of that duty, and factual approximate causation of the damages. All those elements prove a cause of action. In Florida, a person operating a motor vehicle has a duty to operate that vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. If they breach their duty and do not operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner and their conduct is the actual probable cause of the person’s injuries, they are liable to that person for them.
The pedestrian does not have the heightened duty that the driver operating a motor vehicle has, so in a pedestrian accident, the presumption is that the individual operating a motor vehicle has a duty to the pedestrian. The duty will fall upon the driver of the motor vehicle to prove that the pedestrian was not functioning in a reasonably safe manner.
Liability of the Driver
The most common causes of pedestrian accidents are distracted pedestrians or distracted drivers. Speed is always a big factor since roadways in Tampa are narrow and tight. Just because vehicles are going the speed limit does not mean that they are operating a vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. There are times when the speed limit is not appropriate for the area, and that is a consideration as well.
Tampa pedestrian accident liability will typically fall on the driver if they are violating a traffic law, e.g., going the wrong way down a one-way street or driving aggressively in an area that does not allow for operation of a vehicle that way. These acts prove that the driver was acting unreasonable when the pedestrian was injured. Drivers trying to navigate heavy traffic and focused on other motor vehicles as opposed to the pedestrian traffic, or drivers not paying attention and hitting a pedestrian.
Liability of the Pedestrian
Pedestrians sometimes are found negligent simply because they are not acting reasonably or in a reasonably safe manner. If a crosswalk is present and a pedestrian does not use it, this would be a great tool to a driver to prove that a pedestrian was not acting reasonably and could be an element to show that the pedestrian was responsible for their own injuries. There are also instances when pedestrians (usually tourists) are looking at maps or phones and step out in front of traffic when traffic is not expecting them. In this regard, the pedestrian may be deemed to be acting inappropriately or with unreasonable care. As a result, the pedestrian might find themselves having to assume Tampa pedestrian accident liability