Articles Posted in Pedestrian Injuries

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Florida emergency vehicle accidentsWe all know that when an emergency vehicle approaches with its lights flashing and sirens blaring, other motorists should make way – and fast. But what if you cannot move quickly enough? What if you did not see the lights or hear the sirens before it was too late? What if there were no lights or sirens activated at all?  As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, state law allows for legal accountability in Florida emergency vehicle accidents in some circumstances. Proving it will likely require an extensive investigation, expert witness testimony, and an experienced legal team.

According to the National Safety Council, emergency vehicle crashes – those involving police vehicles, ambulances or fire trucks – caused 168 U.S. deaths in 2018. Of those, less than half (48 percent) occurred while the authorized vehicles’ lights and sirens were in use. Most of those who died were either an occupant of non-emergency vehicles or pedestrians (69%). Police vehicles were involved in the most fatal crashes (64%), followed by ambulances (28%), and then fire trucks (8%). These numbers provide some insight but do not give us a full picture as non-fatal crashes are not included.

F.S. 316.072 allows emergency vehicle operators some leeway when it comes to traffic rules. For example, they can proceed past a red light or through a stop sign – but only after slowing down as necessary for safe operation. They can exceed the maximum speed limit – so long as the driver does not endanger life or property. They can also disregard regulations governing direction, movement, or turning – but only so long as life or property is not endangered. Many departments also have written policies that outline the caution their employees should use when responding to an emergency.

What the law makes clear is that while these first responders are tasked with critically important duties for which seconds count, they do not have free reign to drive recklessly on our roads or needlessly endanger others.

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pedestrian accident lawsuitsEven as the number of fatal traffic accidents has fallen over the last 10 years, pedestrian accident deaths have spiked more than 35 percent. Florida claims 8 of the Top 10 most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians, according to Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design report. Cape Coral-Fort Myers ranked No. 8.

Of nearly 50,000 pedestrians killed between 2008 and 2017, more than 5,400 died on Florida roads. Tens of thousands more suffered serious injuries.

Filing Florida pedestrian accident lawsuits is slightly different than filing car accident lawsuits. Part of this is because no matter who was at-fault in a pedestrian accident, it is almost always the pedestrian who suffers the injury, and those injuries are often severe. That means there is much at stake in these cases.

A Fort Myers injury attorney can help answer your questions and fight for just compensation on your behalf. Continue reading

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Cape Coral pedestrian accidentFirst, the good news: The Cape-Coral-Fort Myers metro area is no longer ranked No. 1 as the most dangerous place to walk along the roadside. But cause for celebration is tempered, as our Cape Coral pedestrian accident attorneys can explain because this area still ranks No. 8 out of 20. Further, 8 of the top 10 most dangerous communities are in Florida. Nine of the top 10 were in the Southern U.S.

The latest Dangerous by Design report from Smart Growth America reveals that nearly 50,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles in the decade prior to 2017. Of those, more than 11 percent – 5,433 – happened in Florida (home to 6.7 percent of the U.S. population), with nearly 148 of them in Lee County alone.

Smart Growth America has been indexing pedestrian danger for years, and Florida’s roads have always been perilous. The Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) factors how many pedestrians were killed by drivers, weighted against the population of each metro area and the percentage of people who commute to work on foot. Continue reading

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“Every week it seems there’s a report of an accident between pedestrians and trains,” noted the Miami Herald in a recent story.

Fort Myers injury lawyerFort Myers personal injury lawyers know that “trains” aren’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when we talk “crashes.” However, a recent four-year review of data from the Federal Railroad Administration revealed that Florida is No. 6 among states with the most railroad crossing deaths in the nation.

From 2014 to 2018, more than 460 railroad accidents. Of those:

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Two people have already been killed in Lee County pedestrian accidents this January; a reminder that Southwest Florida is among the most dangerous areas in the nation for walkers. streetsigns-300x200

Citing the area’s rapid growth and inadequate infrastructure, Smart Growth America’s landmark 2016 report, Dangerous by  Design, ranked the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area as the nation’s deadliest for pedestrians. The just-released 2019 update to that report identified many Florida metro areas as being among the nation’s deadliest for walkers. Most dangerous cities include Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Jacksonville, Bakersfield, California; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, and Jackson, Mississippi.

Six of the most dangerous cities in America (and 8 of the top 10) were all located in Florida. While Fort Myers-Cape Coral avoided again being named most dangerous, our pedestrian injury lawyers in Fort Myers know that’s likely not because Southwest Florida has gotten safer.

“Our best guess is that some other places in Florida got worse,” Emiko Atherton, executive director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, told The News-Press.

In the two most recent incidents, a 12-year-old was hit and killed as she walked along Durrance Street in North Fort Myers. A few days later a 70-year-old Canadian woman was trying to cross the northbound lanes of 41 in North Fort Myers when she was hit and killed by a motorcycle. The motorcyclist also died in the crash.

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A 50-year-old woman was killed in a Lehigh Acres pedestrian accident after being struck by three vehicles, two of which fled the scene, according to FOX4 News.

Florida Highway says the incident happened Tuesday, September 4th just before 9:30 p.m. on Homestead Road North, near Plaza Drive. FHP reports the woman was attempting to cross the northbound lanes of Homestead Road from the McDonald’s when she was hit by three northbound vehicles. intersection1-1-300x225

This unfortunate tragedy highlights the growing risk of walking in Southwest Florida. Burgeoning population growth has led to rapid development, often with little forethought or planning when it comes to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, Smart Growth America’s landmark study, Dangerous by Design, found the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area is the most dangerous metro area in the nation for walkers. Eight of the nations top 10 most dangerous cities are located in Florida. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford ranked third, followed by Jacksonville, Deltona-Daytona Beach, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton followed closely, ranked the tenth most dangerous.

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