If I’m a Pedestrian, Who Pays for My Medical Bills After I Was Hit by a Car in Fort Walton Beach?
Paul Brannon | June 13, 2022 | Personal Injury
A person hit by a car in Fort Walton Beach could sustain life-threatening injuries and permanent impairments. Unlike a driver surrounded by a metal frame, a pedestrian has no protection from injuries in an accident. The pedestrian’s body receives the full force of the impact with the vehicle.
Common injuries caused when a car hits a pedestrian include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Damage to internal organs
- Crushing injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of bodily functions
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Neck and back injuries
The medical bills for a pedestrian accident could total thousands of dollars. Who is responsible for paying the medical bills for a pedestrian accident in Florida?
Pedestrians Are Covered by PIP Insurance in Florida
Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance is no-fault insurance. It pays the covered individual’s medical benefits regardless of who causes an accident. State law requires all motor vehicle owners to maintain $10,000 in PIP coverage.
If you have PIP coverage for your automobile, your medical bills should be covered by your insurance policy. If you do not have PIP coverage, the driver’s PIP insurance should pay your medical costs. In some cases, a family member’s PIP policy may cover your medical bills if you live in the same household.
What Does PIP Insurance Pay After a Pedestrian Accident in Fort Walton Beach?
PIP insurance covers up to 80% of your medical bills if you sustain an emergency medical condition. However, the coverage is limited to the $10,000 policy limit. If your injuries are not considered an emergency medical condition, the coverage for medical bills is limited to $2,500.
You must receive medical care within 14 days of the accident to receive PIP benefits. Therefore, it is always wise to see a doctor as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident.
PIP benefits do not cover all your medical costs after a pedestrian accident. Your health insurance company might cover some of the costs not covered by no-fault insurance benefits. Additionally, you might have legal grounds to sue the at-fault driver for damages.
Suing a Driver after a Fort Walton Beach Pedestrian Accident
Generally, accident victims cannot sue drivers for damages under Florida’s no-fault insurance laws. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
If you sustain a serious injury, you could file a negligence lawsuit against the person who hit you with their car. Serious injuries include permanent impairments and significant scarring or disfigurement. The best way to know if you can file a lawsuit after a car accident is to talk to a car accident lawyer.
Proving Fault for a Pedestrian Accident
You can only hold the driver liable for your damages if you can prove fault and causation. Generally, proving liability for a pedestrian accident requires you to prove the legal requirements for a negligence claim.
Negligence is failing to act with reasonable care given the facts of the situation. The elements of a negligence claim are:
- Duty – The driver owed the pedestrian a duty to operate the vehicle with reasonable care
- Breach of Duty – The driver breached the duty of care by failing to use the same level of care a reasonable person would have used in the same situation
- Causation – The driver’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the pedestrian’s injuries
- Damages – The pedestrian sustained damages because of the driver’s breach of duty
In most cases, a pedestrian has the right of way. Therefore, if a driver hits you with their car, the driver is generally responsible for your injuries and damages. However, if you contributed to the cause of the accident, your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Drivers have a duty to keep a careful watch and take measures to avoid accidents. However, pedestrians must obey traffic laws.
If you break the law or act recklessly, a jury could find that you contributed to the cause of the pedestrian accident. For instance, suppose the jury finds you were 30% at fault because you crossed against the light. If so, your compensation for damages is reduced by 30%, according to Florida’s contributory fault laws.
The driver and their insurance provider might try to shift some of the blame to you. If so, seek legal advice immediately from an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer.
What Compensation Could I Receive if a Car Hits Me?
You can recover compensation for your economic damages, including medical bills, out-of-pocket costs, and lost wages. You could also receive compensation for non-economic damages. Those damages include pain and suffering, permanent impairments, and diminished quality of life.
In some cases, a driver could be required to pay punitive damages. You would have to prove the driver’s conduct rose to the level of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. A drunk driver hitting a pedestrian is an example of a case that might justify punitive damages.
Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Fort Walton Beach helps ensure you demand compensation for all damages you are entitled to receive.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547