Boca Raton and other South Florida cities have both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Marked crosswalks are those in which lines have been painted to signify the boundaries of the crosswalk for pedestrians. Often, there is a walk signal at those intersections. Pedestrians hit in a crosswalk receive special protections under Florida law. However, when there is an intersection that does not have those painted lines, this is an unmarked crosswalk. Unmarked crosswalks are part of the roadway. If you are injured in a crosswalk accident, you should consult an experienced Boca Raton pedestrian accident lawyer at The Grife Law Firm. We can help you assert your right to compensation.What is a Crosswalk?
Under Florida Statute section 316.003, a crosswalk is defined as the portion of a road at an intersection that is part of the links of lateral sidewalk lines on each side of the road. It is measured from curb to curb or, if there is no curb, from the fringes of the part of the roadway that can be crossed. A crosswalk is also any part of a road at an intersection or somewhere else that is clearly indicated for pedestrian crossing by markings or lines on the surface.
Regardless of whether the crosswalk is marked, Florida drivers should be careful not to hit a pedestrian. While a driver is protected during this type of accident, a pedestrian may be catastrophically or fatally injured.Liability for Crosswalk Accidents
To establish liability for a crosswalk accident, your lawyer will need to show that the driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely, but their unsafe driving breached the duty of care and caused your injuries. A driver who fails to yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way in a crosswalk is likely to be found to have breached the duty of care.
Florida Statute section 316.130(15) provides that every driver is supposed to use due care to keep from hitting a pedestrian or a person riding a human-powered vehicle. They should warn a pedestrian when it is necessary to do so and should use appropriate precautions if there is a child pedestrian or an obviously drunk or confused person.
At an intersection controlled by a traffic signal, a driver should stop before coming into a crosswalk and stay stopped to permit a pedestrian who has a positive signal to cross when the pedestrian is in a crosswalk or stepping into a crosswalk and is on the half of the crosswalk where the car is traveling. The driver is also supposed to stop before a crosswalk if the pedestrian is closely approaching from the other half of the roadway, such that they are so close that they are at risk.
The same law provides that if a car is stopped at a marked crosswalk or even an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection in order to yield to a pedestrian, others on the road who approach behind the stopped car are not supposed to try to overtake and pass the stopped car.
If a driver fails to abide by this statute, it would be strongly indicative of his or her negligence. However, it would not be conclusive. After an accident causing injuries, it is important to have the police come to the scene. If they cite the driver for a traffic violation, such as not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, this may be helpful to the pedestrian's personal injury case.Comparative Negligence
However, also under section 316.130, pedestrians have an obligation not to leave the curb or another safe place and walk or run into the path of a car that is so close that the driver is unable to yield. When there are adjacent intersections with traffic signals, pedestrians are only allowed to cross at a marked crosswalk.
A defendant is likely to argue that you were negligent if you fail to abide by the obligation not to dart out into the path of an oncoming car. Florida follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. In a crosswalk accident case, this means that the jury will evaluate the facts and assign percentages of fault to both the driver and the pedestrian. The pedestrian's damages will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For example, if a victim suffered a traumatic brain injury and incurred $800,000 in damages, but they were 50 percent at fault, they would be able to recover $400,000.Consult a Knowledgeable Boca Raton Lawyer After a Crosswalk Accident
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in South Florida, you may suffer serious injuries ranging from spinal cord damage to brain trauma. To understand your options, you should call The Grife Law Firm. We represent injured pedestrians in cities such as Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Contact us at 561-998-0770 or via our online form for a free appointment with an attorney.