Pedestrian Accident Attorney

When you think of traffic accidents, you normally think of vehicles colliding with one another, or accidents between cars and motorcycles, but all too often, pedestrians are involved in traffic accidents resulting in severe injuries and even death.

To give you an idea of the numbers, in 2013 alone, there were over 4,700 pedestrian fatalities and approximately 66,000 pedestrian injuries in the United States. Over 4,600 traffic accidents had one or more pedestrian fatalities. One pedestrian was killed, on average, every two hours, and injured every eight minutes in traffic accidents.

Pedestrians tend to be particularly vulnerable when it comes to traffic. It is for this reason that pedestrians are granted the right-of-way when interacting with vehicles, such as at traffic crossings. The liability in pedestrian accidents, as in other accident situations, is always based on negligence. While vehicle drivers often get blamed for pedestrian accidents, the injured pedestrians may also be partially at fault if they were not following the proper rules of traffic.

Accidents Involving Pedestrians and Vehicles

It’s a given that drivers should always follow the rules of the road, and pay attention to the vehicles and pedestrians surrounding them. When a driver does something negligent that results in an accident, they become liable for the injuries the pedestrian suffers. Not following traffic rules, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving while distracted are common ways that drivers act negligently while driving.

But consider that pedestrians must also exercise reasonable care for their safety. When they are in a dangerous traffic situation, such as crossing a busy street, they must be overtly aware of the dangers, as well as the consequences that will arise if they are not careful. Negligence on the part of a pedestrian can result in them being held partially responsible for their actions as well – a legal concept called “contributory negligence.” A pedestrian doing such things as not using crosswalks, darting out onto a roadway, not following intersection walk/do not walk signals, and being distracted while walking all constitute negligence on their part. Of course, the rules change a bit when it is a pedestrian that is a child. Children that are five to nine years of age are the most vulnerable and at risk of being hit by a car. This is because children of this age are hard to see, are unpredictable, and can’t effectively avoid dangerous situations because they lack the life experience to detect them.

It is for this reason that you will see additional signage and warnings when you are driving through an area where children are present, such as a school or child care facility. It is a driver’s responsibility to exercise a higher level of care when it comes to small children and traffic. Generally, because of a small child’s inability to exercise reasonable caution for their own care, they are not usually subject to being held liable for contributory or comparative negligence.

Pedestrians and Highways

When vehicles driving at high speeds mix with pedestrians or other unexpected roadway obstacles, the results are never good. When a pedestrian attempts to cross a highway, walk along a highway, or has to be in the highway due to pushing or repairing a car, they may be acting negligently. And as with other types of accidents, this negligent behavior may prevent them from recovering damages or have the damages they’re entitled to reduced.

There are actions both pedestrians and drivers can take to reduce the involvement of pedestrians in traffic accidents. Here are some tips that will help you be a safer pedestrian and a safer driver.

Pedestrian Tips:

  • Don’t walk in the road when there are sidewalks available.
  • If there are no sidewalks available to walk on, walk on the shoulder of the road in the direction facing traffic.
  • Be alert, and stay undistracted by devices. Devices such as smartphones and MP3 players can take your attention away from traffic, and make you less able to respond quickly to changes in traffic, such as a car that is driving towards you at a fast rate of speed as you cross the street.
  • Be especially cautious at night when you’re walking along the road or crossing the street. Do not ever assume that a driver knows you’re there, or sees you. You don’t know when a driver is driving while intoxicated or distracted, and may not see you at all.
  • Avoid unpredictability. Cross the street at the crosswalk, and don’t dark out from between cars into the road.
  • If there is no marked crosswalk, wait for a break in traffic before crossing, and try to cross in a well-lit spot.
  • Wear clothing that promotes visibility during the day, and wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight at night if possible.
  • Avoid judgement-reducing substances such as alcohol or drugs that will impair your coordination and reaction time.

Driver Tips:

  • Assume there are pedestrians everywhere. They may be difficult to see, especially at night or in areas that aren’t well-lit.
  • Stop at posted crosswalks and give pedestrians the right of way. Pay attention to where pedestrian crosswalks are posted.
  • If a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, do not pass them. They may be letting pedestrians cross that you are not aware of.
  • Drive with as few distractions as possible. You can’t see someone crossing the street if you’re looking down at your phone or changing the music you’re listening to. Stay focused on the road and traffic around you – both vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Drive the speed limit, and always lower your speed when you drive through areas where pedestrians are walking.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

At the law firm of Parker & Lazzara, we are intimately familiar with accidents involving pedestrians, and the injuries that can occur. We can help you recover the damages that you are entitled to if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver. We invite you to contact us for help in assessing your case and guiding you through the legal process. Call us at 480-456-3080 or by using our online contact page.