Three Reasons Why Your Pedestrian Injury Claim Could Be Hard to Win
While the constitution awards all Americans the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the first two in particular (life and liberty) are harder to come by for some societal groups than others. One of these groups of people includes pedestrians. Pedestrians might not seem like a downtrodden group that is disadvantaged, but when it comes to personal injury compensation, they certainly can be.
Bad Infrastructure and Equally Unfair Laws
While vulnerable user laws that increase penalties for drivers who cause serious bodily injury to pedestrians, cyclists, and other unprotected road users are proven to make roads safer for everyone, Florida has no such vulnerable road user law. In fact, drivers who hit pedestrians are usually free to start driving again that very same day. Bad infrastructure also puts pedestrians at an increased risk. For example, large, fast surface streets are dangerous and difficult to cross, and the distances between crosswalks are usually too far. Many reasonable pedestrians therefore are forced to jaywalk. Getting hit by a speeding texter who is swerving in and out of lanes may seem like an easy case to win, but if you were jaywalking, your claim could be denied or your lawsuit lost in court—simply because cars are often given the right of way over people. If you were jaywalking, regardless of what the driver did, you could be held accountable for your injuries, or at the least your compensation could be drastically reduced.
Minorities Are at a Disadvantage
About 94 percent of white families have access to a car, while only 80 percent of black families have access to a vehicle, according to National Equity Access. As such, black, as well as brown, people are more likely to be pedestrians than white people. Furthermore, the inherent racial bias that judges and jurors have against black and brown people is hard to avoid even when the case against the other at-fault party could not be more clear. Insurance adjusters know this, and often make initial settlement offers that are much lower for black and brown people than white people. Additionally, lost wages and lost earning capacity are a large aspect of a personal injury claim, and because black and brown people earn less money on the dollar than white people make, they are yet again disadvantaged when it comes to fair compensation.
Police Bias Against Pedestrians Can Lead to Inaccurate Accident Reports
Some law enforcement officers are biased against pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users. As such, they are more likely to blame the victim if the victim is a pedestrian than another driver. This gets recorded in the official accident report that is provided to insurance companies. Often, the injured pedestrian’s side of the story is also not included because, while the driver was being interviewed by the police, the pedestrian was in the hospital fighting for his or her life. Furthermore, studies show that police are often biased against black and brown people, which should come as no surprise. One study by UCLA authors found that “the Whiter one appears, the more the suspect will be protected from police force.” As such, injured pedestrian victims who are minorities are at more risk than a white person of being blamed for causing the collision, while the driver gets off free of any charge.
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