If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, it may be fairly obvious to you that the driver who hit you is to blame. But, to recover the financial compensation you deserve, you must be able to prove liability.
So, how do you prove liability after a pedestrian accident in Florida?
5 Steps to Prove Liability After a Pedestrian Accident in Florida
Proving liability after a pedestrian accident is a multi-step process that requires experienced legal representation. Here is an overview of the steps that will be necessary to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
1. Hire a Lawyer to Investigate Your Pedestrian Accident as Soon as Possible
After a pedestrian accident, it is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. One of the first things your lawyer will do is conduct an investigation focused on gathering the evidence needed to prove liability. This may include evidence such as:
- Statements, Photos and Videos from Eye Witnesses – Eye witnesses can often provide key evidence in pedestrian accident cases. If anyone saw what happened, and possibly took photos or videos, they could play a key role in helping you recover just compensation.
- Forensic Evidence from the Crash Site – Debris at the crash site, traffic signal patterns, road markings, and various other forms of evidence at the crash site could help establish the driver’s liability.
- An Inspection of the Vehicle that Hit You – An inspection of the vehicle that hit you could provide key evidence as well. This could include everything from evidence that the driver’s tires were bare to evidence of the driver’s speed based on the damage to his or her vehicle.
- “Black Box” Data from the Vehicle that Hit You – Many modern vehicles are equipped with computers that collect data ranging from speed to brake pedal pressure. If this “black box” data shows the driver was being negligent, this could help clearly prove your right to just compensation.
- Cell Phone Records, Maintenance Records, Receipts and Other Documents – If the driver was distracted or drunk, if the driver failed to maintain his or her vehicle, or if the driver was working at the time of the accident, securing documentary proof could be the key to proving liability.
- Traffic or Surveillance Camera Footage of the Accident – If your pedestrian accident was caught on camera, the footage could clearly show that the driver is liable for your accident-related injuries.
- The Driver’s Admission of Liability – If the driver who hit you admitted to being negligent, your lawyer will be able to use this to help prove your case as well. This is true whether the driver made his or her admission to the police, on social media or in testimony.
Other forms of evidence may be available to prove the driver’s liability as well. Crucially, the evidence may also point to one or more other parties holding (or sharing) responsibility for your pedestrian accident. If this is the case, you may need to file multiple claims in order to recover full compensation.
2. Determine Which Claim (or Claims) to File Based on the Evidence from the Investigation
After gathering the evidence that is available, the next step is to determine which claim (or claims) you can file. While there is a good chance that you have a claim against the driver who hit you, you could also have claims against parties such as:
- The vehicle’s owner (if the driver is not the owner)
- The driver’s employer or rideshare company
- The vehicle’s manufacturer or a dealership or shop that worked on the vehicle
- A government agency (if an issue with the road played a role in the accident)
- Another negligent driver who started a chain reaction on the road
Proving that another party is liable can be critical in some cases. Florida law does not require drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance—and, as a result, many drivers are uninsured. If the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, it will be especially important to determine what other options you have available. If you have auto insurance with uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, filing a claim under your policy could be an option as well.
3. Submit the Available Evidence to the Insurance Company (or Companies)
Once you start the claims process, the next step is submitting the available evidence to the insurance company (or companies). But, this is not a simple matter of sending in what you have and waiting to receive a check in the mail. Instead, your lawyer will need to take a strategic approach that involves showing how the available evidence demonstrates you are entitled to coverage.
4. Respond to Any Allegations of Partial Fault
In some cases, the insurance companies will try to avoid liability for pedestrian accidents by blaming victims for their own injuries. Recently, Florida passed a law that allows the insurance companies to deny coverage entirely if an accident victim is more than 50 percent at fault in a collision. If an accident victim is 50 percent or less at fault, then the amount the insurance companies have to pay is reduced based on the victim’s percentage of fault.
Responding to allegations of partial fault is often a matter of pointing to the evidence. If the evidence clearly shows that you did nothing wrong, then you should be able to recover 100 percent of your accident-related losses.
5. Respond to Any Other Defenses to Liability
Along with allegations of partial fault, the insurance companies may assert a variety of other defenses to liability as well. Here, too, overcoming these defenses is often a matter of pointing to the evidence and applying the protections afforded to pedestrian accident victims under Florida law. While proving liability can be challenging (and the insurance companies’ defense tactics can be extremely frustrating), an experienced lawyer will be able to fight to ensure that you receive just compensation.
Talk to a Lawyer About Investigating Your Pedestrian Accident for Free
Do you need to prove liability for a pedestrian accident in Florida? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly. Call 800-780-8607 or request a free consultation online to discuss your case with a lawyer at Searcy Denney today.