Walking is great exercise and can be a pleasurable, relaxing activity, but it can also be hazardous when sharing the road with vehicles. With the alarming increase in serious injuries and fatalities for pedestrians, several states have enacted tougher legislation to curb the trend. Some of these laws include:
- When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk, the driver of a vehicle must yield right-of-way when he or she is in the same half of the roadway as the driver.
- Drivers must also yield right-of-way when a pedestrian is approaching from the opposite side of the road in a manner close enough to present a danger if the vehicle did not stop.
- Pedestrians may not suddenly step off a curb and enter a crosswalk in the direct path of an oncoming vehicle if it would create an immediate hazard.
- When crossing in an unmarked crosswalk or outside the bounds of a marked crosswalk, a pedestrian must allow vehicles to pass first and then cross the street when it is safe to do so.
- At intersections controlled by a traffic light, people on foot can only cross an intersection diagonally if allowed by the device. Additionally, pedestrians may only cross two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk.
Unfortunately, people who strike a pedestrian often try to blame that person for his or her own injuries. The driver may say something like the pedestrian wasn’t looking or wore dark clothes. He or she may even completely fabricate a story about what happened, such as that the pedestrian darted out in front of oncoming traffic.
If you have sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, whether by a personal vehicle, commercial vehicle, or bicycle, it’s in your best interest to retain a personal injury attorney to determine liability. Even if you feel you could share some of the blame, never accept responsibility before your lawyer has completed a thorough accident investigation.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
The cause of many pedestrian accidents is often traceable to negligent actions by drivers. Some of the most typical reasons for this type of accident include:
- Speeding or failing to stop for a traffic light or stop sign in enough time to avoid striking a pedestrian.
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Drivers who forget that they share the road with people on foot and fail to watch for them crossing the road.
- Distracted driving, including a driver texting or using a cell phone, eating, changing the radio station, talking to passengers, and paying too much attention to other common distractions.
- Drivers making turns before the pedestrian has safely reached the other side of the road.
The impact of a vehicle striking a person can be instantly fatal or cause severe, lifelong injuries such as traumatic brain injury or paralysis. The human body is simply no match for several thousand pounds of metal striking them. While some drivers stop and try to assist the person they struck, others immediately leave the scene. This makes things even more complicated when it comes to collecting compensation for your severe injuries.
Possible Outcome of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
With a successful personal injury lawsuit, you could potentially receive payment for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning power, and several types of non-economic damages. These can include compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, property damage, and changes to your relationship with your spouse.
Most lawyers charge no fee for the initial consultation and you pay no legal fees unless he or she can successfully procure a settlement on your behalf. It’s worth your time to find out if you have a legitimate case as an injured pedestrian.