This article focuses on cases where a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian in Florida. I’ve added to this article over time to make it better.
This article is more detailed than the above video.
Types of Compensation a Pedestrian May Get
If a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian may be able to get the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and disability benefits
- Future lost income reduced to present value
- Future medical expenses
- Replacement value of lost personal property (e.g. damage to your car, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
- Reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments
- Past Pain and suffering
- Future pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.
- Punitive Damages (in rare cases)
I wrote an article on who pays a pedestrian’s medical bills if a vehicle driver’s carelessness caused the accident.
This article is a general overview of Florida pedestrian accident cases.
PIP Pays Medical Bills and Lost Wages in Most Pedestrian Accidents
In most accidents where a car hits a pedestrian, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays up to $10,000 of the pedestrian’s medical bills and lost wages. The pedestrian’s car insurance will pay PIP benefits for the accident.
The driver is responsible for the bills and lost wages that PIP doesn’t pay. I will discuss this more later.
However, if the pedestrian owns a car that is uninsured, then PIP won’t pay medical bills or lost wages.
If the pedestrian doesn’t own a car, but lives with a relative who owns a car, the relative’s PIP insurance will pay benefits.
If the pedestrian doesn’t own a car, and her spouse owns an uninsured car, the insurer for the car that caused the crash must pay PIP benefits. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Pierce, 383 So. 2d 1184 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 1980. The pedestrian isn’t penalized because her spouse has an uninsured car.
How the vehicle driver’s fault affects the case
Let’s look at some different types of pedestrian accidents.
Midblock Pedestrian Crashes
A Midblock pedestrian crash is one of the most common pedestrian crashes. The image below is of a midblock pedestrian crash.
The pedestrian is hit in the road while not in an intersection. Learn about a personal injury claim if a car hits a pedestrian at a midblock (not in an intersection) in Florida.
Driver Liability for Hitting Pedestrians Passing Out Flyers in Intersection
Here are some intersection accident settlements in Florida.
Did the accident cause the pedestrian’s injury?
Once you can show that the negligent driver – or owner –of the car that hit you caused your injuries, you are entitled to get your “out of pocket” medical bills paid by him or her.
Pedestrian’s Out of Pocket Medical Bills
Your out of pocket medical bills are the bills (or portions thereof) that your first party coverage did not pay. This includes copays and patient responsibility. The most common type of first party coverage is health insurance.
You are also able to recover damages for bills that your health insurance did pay. Your health insurance may have a lien, which you may be able to negotiate.
You need to be able to show that your injuries were caused by the accident. If you had pre-existing injuries, you can show that they were aggravated by the accident.
Pedestrian Usually Must Meet the Tort Threshold
In most cases, but not all, where a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian in Florida, in order to recover pain and suffering damages you need to show that your injury meets the tort threshold.
What Injuries Meet the Tort Threshold?
A threshold injury is one of the following injuries:
(a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
(b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.
(c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
If you are from another state or are a foreigner visiting Florida and you are hit by a motor vehicle, you may not have to meet one of the criteria in (a-d) above in order to be entitled to pain and suffering.
It depends on the exact facts of the accident.
Doctor Saying “Permanent Injury” Helps
Even if the insurance company offers your money for your pain and suffering, if you still have pain, you should ask the doctor to issue a report stating that you have a have “permanent injury.”
This may help you get money for future pain and suffering.
Is there liability insurance available?
So let’s assume that your accident meets the criteria of #1 through #3 above. Hopefully, one of the parties who you can make a claim against has insurance or money to pay you.
What Compensation Can a Pedestrian Get if an Uber or Lyft Hits Him?
See what types of compensation a pedestrian can get if hit by an Uber car. Learn Uber’s insurance limits, which insurance applies, and settlement information.
Pedestrian Hit By Car in Miami Gets $325,000 (Broken Leg)
Check out our $325,000 settlement after a driver crashed into a pedestrian in Coconut Grove, Florida. Doctors put a rod and screws in the victim’s broken leg (tibia).
Pedestrian Gets $110,000 After Car Hits Her in Crosswalk
Check out this $110,000 settlement for a pedestrian who was hit by a car in Homestead, Florida. She suffered an orbital (facial bone) fracture with surgery.
Pedestrian Hit By Car While Not in Crosswalk Gets $70,000
A pedestrian who was hit by a car got $70,000. She had a broken leg, back pain, neck pain, 4 bulging discs, a tibial plateau fracture, a sacrum fracture, a shoulder injury (shoulder impingement) and herniated discs.
USAA insured the driver who hit the pedestrian.
$65,000 Settlement for Broken Leg After Car Hits Pedestrian (Miami Beach)
Doug, who lived in California, was on vacation in Miami Beach. While he was walking in a crosswalk, a car hit him.Getting hit while not walking in a crosswalk is one of many factors that can reduce the value of an injury case.
Here is the actual Florida crash report diagram:
Paramedics came to the scene. At the scene, the pedestrian complained of leg pain and other injuries.
At the hospital, a doctor diagnosed Doug with a broken lower leg bone (fibula fracture). Below is an image of the fibula.
Surgery Would’ve Increased Case Value
If he would’ve had surgery, his case would’ve been worth over $100,000. I say this based on recent verdicts for surgery to a broken lower leg from an accident. In addition, I settled a case for $325,000 where a pedestrian suffered a broken lower leg (and had surgery) after a car hit him.
GEICO insured the careless driver.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 627.4137, I sent GEICO a letter asking for the driver’s insurance information.
GEICO responded in writing stating that the driver had a $300,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) policy.
Pedestrian Didn’t Need a Permanent Injury to Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Unlike most Florida car accident cases, here the pedestrian didn’t need a to meet the tort threshold to get money for pain and suffering. Thus, he didn’t need a permanent injury in order to get money for pain and suffering.
This is because he was a car hit him while he was a pedestrian visiting from another state.
When it came time to pay them from the total settlement, they had to reduce their liens by my attorney’s fees and costs. This is one reason that a Medicare beneficiary should hire an injury lawyer.
California law required Farmers Insurance to reduce its Medpay lien by my attorney’s fees and costs. Lee v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 458, 465-466, 129 Cal.Rptr. 271. This is one unique aspect of a case if someone from California is injured in a Florida accident.
In general, if you’re from another state and you get injured in a Florida car accident, you often have different rights. This is because you often have to deal with, at least, Florida law and the out of state law.
GEICO’s First Offer Was Only $14.7k; They Wind Up Paying $65K
GEICO low-balled me with their first offer for Doug’s personal injury claim. The adjuster was Tiffany Hall.
One of the 5 huge mistakes that injury victims make is to always believe what the adjuster tells you your case is worth.
I negotiated with GEICO. We settled with GEICO for $65,000. Here is the GEICO settlement check.
Therefore, GEICO paid about $57,000 for the pain and suffering associated with his broken leg (fibula fracture). This is a typical settlement amount for pain and suffering for a broken lower leg.
If the driver had a better car insurance company, they would’ve likely paid more. For example, I think I would’ve had a bigger settlement if the driver was insured with Hartford, USAA, Nationwide, Lyft (Zurich American Insurance Company) and some others. I’ve settled cases with all of those insurers. They tend to pay better than GEICO.
$10K Settlement for Pedestrian Hit By Car in Miami (Humerus Fracture)
A pedestrian was walking in a crosswalk in Little Havana, Miami-Dade County, Florida. A driver of a car hit the pedestrian. Here is the diagram from the Florida traffic crash report:
She hired me shortly after the accident. Here is a photo of her (in my office) with a sling for her shoulder injury.
As you can see from the photo, she has bruising on her left arm. Accident victims should take photos of any bruising of their arm. The victim can use this if the insurance company tries to argue that the claimant had the injury before the accident.
Specifically, her shoulder fracture was an impacted comminuted fracture of the humeral neck. There was displacement of the greater tuberosity.
Her finger fractures were nondisplaced transverse fractures of the proximal metaphysis of the proximal and distal phalanges of the thumb.
Who paid the pedestrian’s medical bills?
The pedestrian didn’t own a car. She didn’t live a relative who owned a car. Thus, she was able to get $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance benefits from the insurance company of the driver who hit her.
United Auto Insurance Company insured the car that hit her. Therefore, they paid $10,000 directly to her medical providers for her medical bills. This left her owing very little in medical bills.
Additionally, United Auto Insurance Company insured the at fault driver with a $10,000 BIL insurance policy. United Auto paid us the $10,000 BIL limits to settle her personal injury claim.
The settlement check is below:
She was very happy with her portion of the settlement. After my attorney’s fees, she received almost the entire settlement. Here is a picture of her and Attorney Justin Ziegler after we gave her the settlement check:
Unfortunately, the driver wasn’t driving for Uber or Lyft that would have given him more insurance coverage. Our client didn’t own a car or live with relatives. Thus, she wasn’t entitled to uninsured motorist insurance.
Pedestrian Gets $10,000 After Car Runs Over His Foot
Allstate paid $10,000 after a driver ran over a pedestrian’s foot. He claimed a soft tissue injury to his foot and ankle.
The accident happened in Miami Beach, Florida. I represented the pedestrian.
Will Your Employer’s Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover You if You’re Standing 10 Feet from the Vehicle, and You’re Hit By an Uninsured Motorist?
Probably not. In State Farm. Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Bailey, 203 So. 3d 995, an employee was not entitled to uninsured motorist (UM) coverage under an employer’s business automobile insurance policy because he was standing between 10 and 20 feet from the truck.
He was observing the operation of the crane by a coworker. UM insurance usually applies to employees if they are occupying the employer’s vehicle.
The court said that the employee was not “occupying” the employer’s vehicle at the time of the accident (as set forth in the policy’s State Farm’s UM endorsement).
I Was a Pedestrian Hit By a Car, Will My Employer’s Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover Me?
Maybe. Let’s look at a case where uninsured motorist (UM) insurance didn’t cover a pedestrian.
In Zurich American Insurance Company v Cernogorsky, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 3rd Dist. 2017, Mr. Cernogorsky was injured when struck by an automobile while he was walking in front of his employer’s offices on the way into the building.
The car that struck him was driven by an underinsured motorist.
He made a UM claim under his employer’s auto insurance policy with Zurich American Insurance Company.
Cernogorsky claimed that he was injured as a pedestrian while in the course and scope of his employment with his employer.
Mr. Cernogorsky sued Zurich for $1,000,000 in UM benefits. The court said that Mr. Cernogorsky couldn’t get compensation under Zurich’s insurance policy because he was not:
- Not a named insured under Zurich’s policy nor a resident family member of an insured; or
- Driving or occupying any vehicle
Cernogorsky could still make a claim for the uninsured motorist (UM) insurance policy limits ($10,000) of his own insurance.
$527,750 Settlement for Each Adult Child Whose 73 year-old Mother Was Killed
This isn’t my case. On May 12, 2011, Guadalupe Carrizales was crossing Judge Winikoff Road near State Road 7 west of Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Florida.
She was taking a morning walk. A 19 year-old drunk driver struck her.
He allegedly left the accident scene without helping the pedestrian. The pedestrian died. She was survived by four (4) adult children.
GEICO insured the driver.
On May 27, the pedestrian’s son, Manuel, as personal representative of the estate, sued the driver and the owner of the car.
Claims were also made against the owner of the car, David Hanzelik, since he owned the car that the Falzini was driving. In Florida, the a car owner is responsible up to $100,000 (in most cases) for injury for the at-fault driver’s carelessness.
In addition, he sued the owner under the theory that he shouldn’t have let Falzini drive, since he was allegedly drunk.
The adult children claimed that the defendant driver was driving fast and hit their mother. She was allegedly struck by the speeding Infiniti G35 car with such force that she was dismembered.
The driver allegedly left the scene.
The driver was allegedly found at his home, which was many miles from where the accident happened.
The personal representative (PR) claimed that there was proof that the owner of the car was with the driver before the crash and the owner knew that the driver was drunk before he gave him permission to driver his car.
Toxicology reports allegedly showed that the driver’s blood alcohol level was above the legal amount.
Car and Driver Had $2.1 Million in Insurance Coverage, Which Is Rare
Allstate initially denied coverage on the umbrella policy. That means that they didn’t offer any money from the umbrella coverage.
However, Allstate and GEICO paid the full amount of the policies to settle.
The total settlement against the driver and the car owner was for $2,110,000.
Every wrongful death accident is tragic. No amount of money will compensate the adult children for the loss of their mother. However, the adult children were fortunate that the car owner had such a big insurance coverage. Most individuals in Florida do not carry anywhere close to $2.1 million in liability coverage.
The date of the settlement against the driver who caused the accident was on was 8/5/11. The settlement with the car owner was around that time. Allstate and GEICO allegedly paid on the day the settlement was reached.
They settled before trial. The personal representative continued the lawsuit against the hotel and bar for allegedly serving the minor driver.
I am not sure how much the medical bills. I assume that they were very minimal (a few hundred dollars at most for the ambulance bill) as the mother died at the accident scene.
The case is Manuel Carrizales, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Guadalupe Carrizales v Ronald Falzini and David Hanzelik, 2K Clevelander d/b/a The Clevelander, and Miller’s Alehouse, Inc. d/b/a Boca Alehouse. Case No. 502011 CA 007910 XXXXMB.
Drunk Driving Accident Cases are Worth More
Cases where a drunk driver causes an accident are generally worth more than if the driver was sober (not drunk) and just careless.
This is because the adult children can sue the drunk driver for punitive damages. Punitive damages are in addition to compensation for medical bills, and pain and suffering.
I do not know whether the woman was crossing the street in a crosswalk. If she was, there would most likely be very little fault, if any, on the pedestrian.
However, if she was walking across the road and not at a crosswalk, she would likely be, at least, partially at fault.
If she was partially at fault, the insurance company for the owner of the car and drunk driver would reduce the value of the wrongful death claim by their mother’s percentage of fault.
This verdict shows that an insurance companies may pay $527,750 or more for an adult child’s claim for mental pain and suffering.
Will Business Auto Insurance Cover the Owner’s Family Member if Hit While a Pedestrian?
No, unless the definition (in the policy) says that “insured” includes “a family member” of the owner of the insured commercial vehicle. Sterling v. Ohio Cas. Ins. Co., 936 So. 2d 43 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 2nd Dist. 2006
Ohio Casualty Insurance Company sold a business automobile insurance policy issued to “James D. Sterling, d/b/a J.D.’s Backhoe Service”. It included UM coverage.
Sterlings’ minor son was a pedestrian who was struck by a underinsured motorist. Ohio Casualty’s policy didn’t use a definition of “insured” that included a family member of the named insured.
The court said that a business automobile insurance policy issued in Florida insuring exclusively business or commercial vehicles doesn’t have to use a definition of “insured” that would provide uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to a family member of the owner of the insured commercial vehicle when the family member is struck as a pedestrian.
Ohio Casualty is a Liberty Mutual Company.
Pedestrian Hit and Killed by Publix Truck Has Case Dismissed
In the above, video I talk about why a Florida court dismissed a pedestrian’s case. A Publix truck hit him while he was crossing I-75 wearing dark clothing, at 3 a.m. Sadly, the pedestrian died from his injuries.
Bicyclist Hit By Car in Miami Only Gets Payout for Past Medical Bills (No Money for Pain and Suffering)
No case is a slam dunk. Not even if you’re riding a bike in the crosswalk and a car hits you.
This is not my case. The bicyclist, Dowd, was riding his bicycle perpendicular, from left to right, to the motor vehicle operator, Fralin. Fralin claimed that after stopping for a red light, he did not see the bicyclist approach.
Fralin said that there was no obstruction to his visibility to his left. The bicycle and the vehicle collided. Dowd was clearly injured from the collision. Rescue responded.
Occipital hematoma is a collection of blood in the occipital region (at the back of the head). An occipital hematoma may be either subdural or epidural.
GEICO contested Dowd’s claimed concussion syndrome brain injury with memory loss with expert testimony.
As to the multiple orthopedic fractures, it was un-controverted, un-refuted, and agreed by GEICO that the fractures were caused by the accident.
The jury found both Dowd and Fralin each 50% negligent.
You might be wondering:
How does the fact that the pedestrian was 50% at fault affect his case?
Since the driver was 50% at fault, the pedestrian only gets compensated for 50% of his injuries.
In addition, the jury awarded Dowd $110,000 in past medical expenses. Although he was awarded $110,000, because he was 50% at fault, he only gets half of the medical bills that he incurred.
It gets worse for the pedestrian.
The jury awarded no future medical expenses, no past or future loss of earnings or earning ability.
The verdict form stated that the jury was to skip questions 6 and 7 (past and future pain and suffering), unless they found a permanent injury.
However, the jury answered questions 6a. and 6b.
The bad news for the pedestrian?
The jury awarded zero damages for pain and suffering.
Did someone cause your injury in a Florida car crash or other type of accident?
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