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Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

The morning school run is a fact of life in many Miami households. Any family with school aged children needs to get kids to school in the mornings. Unfortunately, getting kids to school safely can be challenge, especially since busy parents are rushing around and fighting morning traffic. According to a recent Orlando Sentinel article, students may be at risk when heading to school in the mornings.

Many students are dropped off at school by parents. Unfortunately, extra cars on the road, busy morning routines, and congested school zone areas can increase the risks of Miami car accidents in the mornings. Some schools have special drop-off zones for parents to ease congestion and to reduce the risk of traffic accidents, but even in these areas high volumes of student foot traffic and plenty of potentially distracted drivers creates a risk.

Some families opt to have children walk to school. Some experts even encourage the idea, saying that the moderate amount of exercise that children can get walking to and from school can help combat obesity and can give students some extra exercise in the mornings. However, walking to school can also mean more Miami pedestrian accidents. According to the recent Orlando Sentinel article, some young Florida students need to walk to school in the dark, especially as days get shorter, in order to get to school on time. Budget cuts can also mean that students are forced to walk because buses run to fewer areas. In addition to pedestrian accidents, parents considering letting their children walk to school also worry about the personal safety of their children.

School buses are considered one of the safest options for students headed to school. Miami bus accidents are rare, especially school bus accidents. However, not every student qualifies for a school bus. Students who live too close to the school or too remotely are often not given the option of taking the school bus to school.

Public transportation is another option for Miami students. Since bus accidents are rare, this can be a good alternative. Unfortunately, not all schools are on bus routes and some parents have concerns about personal safety on public buses. In busy areas of the city, young students may have a hard time finding the right bus, as well.

Many Miami families are finding that traveling in groups makes the most sense for the morning school run. For example, car pooling can reduce congestion at schools, get kids to school on time, and can make the morning rush a little more bearable. It is also kinder for the environment. Having children walk to school or to the bus stop together can also make children more visible and can help allay some of personal safety fears that parents may have.

If your child has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is imperative that you get legal advice as well as medical help. If your child has sustained serious injuries, those injuries can affect a lifetime of income earning and learning. A qualified Miami personal injury attorney can investigate the accident and can aggressively pursue your child’s rights so that your child’s future is safeguarded.

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Walking and hiking are considered among the best exercise choices out there. Walking is a low-impact exercise that increases the heart rate and can help combat obesity and heart disease. However, pedestrians in Miami face risks every day. Miami pedestrian accidents, especially those involving cars, often lead to fatalities or serious and permanent injuries for pedestrians. If you want to walk or hike, you need to take steps to ensure that it is a healthful as well as a safe exercise for you:

1) Consider walking in pedestrian-only areas. Walking on pedestrian-designated trails and walking areas ensures that you are far away from cars, trucks, and other kinds of vehicles that can cause Miami traffic accidents. The elderly may consider walking clubs in indoor spaces, such as gyms or malls. Conditions are more controlled and there are fewer Miami slip and fall hazards.

2) Bring a walking buddy. Walking with a friend is more fun, and ensures that there is someone to call for help in case you are injured. A walking buddy also makes you less of a target for criminals and ensures that you are more visible.

3) Vary your routine. In addition to Miami slip and fall accidents, pedestrians also need to be concerned about the individuals that they encounter on trails and parks. Varying your routine makes it more difficult for someone to get to know your routes and destinations.

4) Walk without distractions. Just as distracted driving leads to many Miami car accidents each year, walking while distracted can also lead to trips, falls, accidents, and injuries. Leave your music, texting devices, and other distractions at home. Focus only on your walking. You’ll be more likely to notice any potential hazards or problems around you.

5) Bring what you need to stay safe. At minimum, consider bringing a cell phone or mobile device that allows you to call for help and allows you to access maps or other needed information in case you get lost. If you have serious allergies or a medical condition, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet in case you are injured.

6) Stay visible. If you do need to walk outside of pedestrian-only areas, be sure that you wear reflective clothing and light-colored clothing that is easily noticeable by motorists. Walk towards traffic. Avoid walking at night.

7) Consider all the risks and prepare for them. Hikers and walkers face various risks. One of them is from other walkers and people. Carrying a safety alarm, cell phone, and walking with a buddy can help reduce your chances of being victimized by crime. Miami car accidents are another risk for pedestrians. Avoiding high traffic areas and wearing visible clothing can help reduce your risk of being struck by a vehicle. Animals are another concern for hikers and walkers, especially in remote areas. Bringing a buddy and carrying a sturdy walking stick can help you avoid this type of danger.

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Walking is a great exercise, especially at this time of year, with the leaves out and beautiful fall weather to enjoy. Many pedestrians are enjoying heading out onto walking trails and streets in order to enjoy exercise. Walking in fact provides a great low-impact exercise that can help improve your overall health. Each year, however, pedestrians are injured or even killed in Florida pedestrian accidents. You want to ensure that your walks improve your health, rather than jeopardize it. To avoid becoming the victim of a pedestrian accident, make sure that you:

1) Choose your walking paths carefully. The best place to walk is in a park or along specially designated walking trails, if your area has them. These provide the highest level of safety as they keep you far away from cars and reduce the chance of your being in a Florida pedestrian accident. If there are no walking trails in your area, use sidewalks. If no sidewalks are available, walk along the shoulder of the road, as far from traffic as possible.

2) Walk with friends. Walking with friends ensures that there is someone to call for help if you are injured or suddenly feel ill. Walking with a friend also motivates you to walk more regularly and can make you more visible as a group. A buddy system can also help keep you safer from crime. If you don’t know anyone in your area to walk with, consider joining a walking or hiking club or group.

3) Stay visible. If you are walking in the evenings, early mornings, or at dusk, wear light-colored clothing with reflective tape on it that will show up easily for drivers. Bring a flashlight. This is especially important if you will be walking in any areas shared with cars.

4) Avoid distractions. Listening to music on headphones, texting, or talking on your cell phone distracts you, making you more likely to fall victim to a Florida slip and fall accident or more likely to walk in front of traffic. Staying distraction-free allows you to notice any potential dangers around you and to respond adequately.

5) Talk to your doctor before starting a walking regimen. While walking is a low-impact exercise that is safe and appropriate for many people, it is a good idea to discuss your health goals and your overall condition with your doctor before embarking on any exercise routine.

6) Choose appropriate walking clothes. Opt for sturdy, comfortable shoes that fit well and comfortable walking clothes. Incorrectly clothing and shoes can make it more likely that you will fall.

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For the first time in five years, fatal pedestrian accidents increased in 2010, according to a report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). In the first six months of 2010, fatal car accidents across the country decreased but during the same time period fatal pedestrian accidents increased by 0.4%. Before 2010, pedestrian fatalities had actually been dropping for four years.

Florida may have special reasons to worry. According to the report, Florida ranked second for highest individual increase in pedestrian fatalities. Only Arizona saw a greater jump in pedestrian deaths. In Florida, there were 482 pedestrian fatalities and 7500 pedestrian injures in 2009. Between January 2010 and June 2010, 245 people died in Florida pedestrian accidents. That’s an average of 35 more deaths in 2010 during just the first six months of the year.

According to the GHSA report, the emphasis on exercise may be pushing more pedestrians to walk outdoors, which can mean more accidents. Another factor, according to the report’s experts, is increased distraction. Pedestrians who use texting devices, listen to music, or engage in conversations while walking may not notice dangers around them. Alcohol and controlled substances may also be an issue. According to GHSA Vice Chairman Troy E. Costales, over 50% of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2010 involved an intoxicated pedestrian. According to the GHSA report, there are many things that communities can do to reduce pedestrian accidents and fatalities:

1) Make pedestrian safety a priority and allot money and resources to pedestrian safety measures. Adding more signs, creating pedestrian-only zones for walkers and adding more money to law enforcement and safety awareness can help make the streets safer for pedestrians.

2) Get more information about pedestrian issues. Analyzing crash information or conducting safety audits can help communities identify and target areas that are especially dangerous for pedestrians.

3) Improve pedestrian infrastructure. Adding pedestrian walking trails away from roads is one solution. Pedestrian-activated red stop lights can also make shared road and walk spaces safer. Some communities have had success by increasing pedestrian crosswalks and by designating more roadway space for pedestrians.

4) Create good laws and practice good enforcement. Some states have created laws which require cars to come to a full stop when pedestrians are in crosswalks. New Kersey and Hawaii enforce their pedestrian laws by having un-uniformed police officers walk across crosswalks to see how many cars stop. Cars who fail to stop or yield are ticketed by nearby officers.

5) Create good educational programs. Teaching pedestrians about safe walking habits is important. For example, educational programs that teach children to cross streets safely and educational awareness campaigns that teach pedestrians about the dangers of being distracted when crossing the street can help keep everyone a little safer.

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A study in early 2010 concluded that Florida has a disproportionately high rate of fatal pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents. Since then, experts have been speculating as to why the state accounts for only 6% of the nation’s population but 11% pedestrian accident fatalities and 17.4% of bicyclist accident fatalities. Experts have found several causes:

1) Behaviors. Experts agree that individual behaviors and poor decisions – such as the decision to drive distracted, despite the risk of Florida car accidents or the decision to cross outside of a crosswalk – are key to many Florida car accidents and traffic accidents. However, this alone does not explain why Florida residents’ decisions seem to result in more traffic fatalities. It is hard to judge, for example, whether Florida residents make these poor judgments more often or whether their decisions simply tend to have more serious consequences for some secondary reason.

2) The structure of roads. A study by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America found that the move from clustered traditional streets to high-speed highways poses special dangers for pedestrians. However, other experts claim that streets themselves do not cause accidents.

According to two non-profit groups from Washington, D.C., Florida is the deadliest state in the country for bicyclists and pedestrians. The most recent statistics available are from 2008 and show that 11% of pedestrians killed in pedestrian accidents and 17.4% of bicyclists killed in bicycle accidents were killed in Florida – even though Florida has only 6% of the country’s total population.

According to statistics, Florida has been in the top three states of the nation for pedestrian accident fatalities and bicycle accident fatalities each year since 2001. As well, of the ten most risky urban areas for pedestrians, the top four all include areas in Florida. Officials from Florida’s Department of Transportation have expressed concern over the statistics this year and have promised to try to find some answers.

The statistics do raise some questions, namely: what makes Florida pedestrian accidents and Florida bicycle accidents so common and so deadly? Researchers agree that three basic causes may be contributing the fatalities and the accident rates:

As students are getting ready to head back to school, it’s a great time for parents to review school safety rules, especially if your children will be walking to school each day. Many Florida pedestrian accidents take place during the walk to and from school. In some cases, students get excited or distracted by school or friends and make errors which lead to an accident. In many cases, as well, the times when students are walking to school coincide with rush hour traffic in Hollywood, Miami, and other major Florida cities. All of this can make it more likely that students are at risk of being involved in a Florida car accident or pedestrian accident.

Now is a great time to review safety procedures for walking to and from school:

1) Set up a walking system for younger children. Younger children can walk to school with older students attending the same school. This offers additional supervision and ensures that children will not be walking without some help. This is especially important for younger children, who may not be used to crossing the street alone.

Pedestrian accidents are often fatal or cause serious bodily injury such as head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and serious internal injuries. One reason for this is because pedestrians simply do not stand much of a chance when faced with a car. Another reason for this is because a disproportionate number of people injured in pedestrian accidents are children and seniors, and these groups of people may sustain injuries more easily due to their size or bodily condition. While drivers have a responsibility to prevent car accidents, there are many things that pedestrians can do to stay safe:

1) Cross only at designated intersections and crosswalks. Many pedestrians are injured because they try to cross the street without using crosswalks. Cars may simply not expect to see you in an area without a crosswalk. If you must cross without an intersection, find a spot where cars can clearly see you, make eye contact with any drivers on the road and make sure that you have plenty of clearance to cross.

2) Walk on sidewalks and pedestrian bridges where possible. These areas are no-car zones and are therefore the safest places to walk. Sharing roadways with cars always places you in greater danger. If you need to walk somewhere where no sidewalks are provided or where sidewalks are unavailable due to weather or construction, walk facing traffic, on the left shoulder of the road.

Pedestrian accidents claim the lives of many adults and children each year and result in devastating injuries such as spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and head injuries, to name just a few. Victims who have been hit by a car may often be confused and insurance companies are often quick to try to settle for a small sum very early on to prevent larger claims. Victims of pedestrian accidents may have these questions when making legal decisions:

1) Can a victim still make a claim when crossing without a crosswalk?

Answer: Yes. There are laws that govern pedestrian accidents such as these. Of course, if you were crossing a street without the help of signals or a crosswalk, an insurance provider may want to discredit your claims. If you have suffered an injury, you need to speak with a qualified attorney who can represent your case. A good attorney will be able to get you compensation for lost income and medical bills in this situation in many cases.

2) When should a victim accept a settlement?

Answer: It is important not to accept any settlement until any medical injuries have been examined by a qualified doctor and have been resolved and you have spoken with an attorney. If you are offered a settlement, it is tempting to accept the offer right away, but by doing so you may not get all the money you need to pay for medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. It can take weeks or even months to get a good sense of the extent of your injuries and therefore the costs you may incur from an accident.

If you accept a settlement before speaking with a qualified attorney, you will most likely not get all the money you are entitled to under the law. A good attorney can carefully consider your case and ensure that you have adequate compensation to cover all the complex costs associated with the accident. Keep in mind, too, that most insurance companies will automatically offer a very low settlement amount to anyone who is not represented. Speaking with an attorney costs nothing and at least ensures that you have all the legal information you need to make an informed decision about your settlement.

3) What sorts of damages should a settlement for a pedestrian accident cover?

Answer: The costs of a pedestrian accident can be immense for a victim, and a settlement is meant to cover some of these costs. A settlement can help a victim cover medical bills, lost income, lost benefits, lost future earning power, and rehabilitation costs. In addition, the settlement is meant to compensate for some of the pain and suffering the accident has caused.

4) What should a victim do if approached with a settlement by an insurance company?

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Pedestrian accidents in Florida lead to many tragedies. Because cars and pedestrians are so unevenly matched, pedestrians struck by a vehicle often face significant injuries, such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, disfigurement, and other injuries. In addition, pedestrians face a high risk of fatalities when struck by a car.

Unfortunately, in many cases, it is not a pedestrian’s fault that they have sustained injury. Some Florida motorists take significant risks when driving, and these risks can lead to car accidents. Motorists all over the country have a responsibility to drive safely to prevent car accidents and pedestrian accidents. Drivers can help prevent such accidents by:

1. Maintaining good visibility. Being able to see the road is crucial when driving. Wearing sunglasses during daylight driving hours can help cut glare. Keeping glasses and the windshield clean can also help improve visibility. Of course, if you need glasses, you should get regular check-ups and ensure that you have the latest prescription available so that your eyesight is 20/20.
2. Obeying the rules of the crosswalks. All corners have crosswalks – whether those crosswalks are indicated by painted lines or signs or whether those crosswalks are unmarked. When approaching any corner or crosswalk, exercise additional caution and be prepared to stop quickly. Keep in mind that pedestrians have the right of way in all crosswalks. This also applies to crosswalks which are not marked.

3. Watching out for parked cars. Parked cars mean pedestrians, since people will be walking to and from their parked vehicles. At the same time, though, parked cars mean reduced visibility for drivers, since parked cars can mean that pedestrians step out between parked cars, where they may be less visible.

4. Becoming sensitive to motion. Keep your eyes moving and stay alert. If you see any motion, even from the corner of your eye, always check to see what made the motion and get prepared for the unexpected.

5. Looking out for spaces that are shared by pedestrians and vehicles. When entering or leaving a driveway, for example, stay alert for pedestrians. Keep in mind that driveways may have pedestrians as well as cars, and you need to stay alert for both. Parking lots and loading areas or docks are similar.

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