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Pedestrian accidents are rising at an alarming rate. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident acting as a pedestrian and struck by a motor vehicle or other vehicle, you may benefit from contacting a pedestrian accident attorney from TorHoerman Law for free, no-obligation case consultations with a member of our legal team. You could be entitled to compensation for the losses that you incurred as a result of your injuries.
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Pedestrian-friendly cities are good for their residents. They have been proven to foster better public health and create opportunities for upward mobility. While having streets that benefit people rather than just automobiles seems like an ideal future, the current reality is much more harrowing. United States pedestrian accidents are on the rise, with the number of pedestrians killed in traffic in 2019 reaching a 30-year high.
Experts report a number of reasons for increases in pedestrian accidents: unsafe infrastructure, bigger automobiles, distracted driving, and transit-lacking suburbs. Whatever the reason — pedestrian accidents have serious consequences. Victims who survive often suffer from severe injuries and are left with subsequent medical, legal, and financial burdens. Pedestrian accident victims do not have to handle these battles alone. The following article provides information about pedestrian accident liability and compensation with resources for victims and their families.
Walking is healthy, environmentally friendly, and accessible for most citizens. Unfortunately, it has also become increasingly dangerous. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that the number of pedestrians struck, injured, and killed by automobiles has increased exponentially in the past decade. These accidents are most common in cities but are also frequent in suburban and rural communities. While automobile safety advancements have increased survivability rates during crashes for vehicle occupants, pedestrians remain unprotected and vulnerable.
Common vehicle accidents including pedestrians include:
Pedestrian accident statistics present an alarming trend. Serious injuries and deaths have exponentially increased in the last decade, with rates reaching the highest percentages since the early eighties. The following facts and statistics from the GHSA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlight the frequency and severity of these accidents:
Not only are pedestrian accidents becoming more common, but drivers are going faster and cars are getting bigger. Unfortunately, this means that many pedestrian-car accident victims suffer from severe, catastrophic injuries. Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
Pedestrian and vehicle accidents are frequently severe and often fatal. The GHSAreported that pedestrian deaths accounted for 17 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities (6,283 of 36,560 total) in 2019. This represents a five percent increase in a nine-year time frame. The total number of pedestrian fatalities increased from 4,109 in 2009 to 6,283 in 2018. This is a 53 percent increase in only nine years.
If a loved one suffered fatal injuries resulting from a pedestrian accident, you should seek representation from a wrongful death attorney.
Both drivers and pedestrians can be at fault in a pedestrian-vehicle accident. Laws are typically tailored to prioritize pedestrian right-of-way and safety, but it’s up to both parties to act in accordance with the rules of the road. While in some situations it’s obvious who is responsible, determining fault in pedestrian-car accidents is not always straightforward.
Determining who is at fault can be complex and dependent on a variety of situational laws and details. If you’re involved in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, it’s important to never admit fault at the scene. This can be used against you in future hearings, deliberations, and arbitrations, so it’s best to turn to a pedestrian accident lawyer to help handle the situation.
The majority of pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence. This includes scenarios where a driver does not exercise reasonable caution, such as distracted driving, or fails to obey traffic laws and signals. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents are drivers not giving pedestrians the right-of-way, driving above the speed limit, or operating their vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Pedestrian laws vary from state to state, but in general, drivers are expected to stop and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and other marked spaces. The following Illinois right-of-way laws outline situations when a driver must come to a complete stop. The rules of the road are similar in California, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. The situations include:
Visit Cyber Drive Illinois’ Pedestrian Safety Driver Guidelines for an extensive list.
Speed limits exist for a reason. Driving above the speed limit increases both the likelihood of a pedestrian-vehicle accident and the severity of the victim’s injuries. Drivers who strike a pedestrian while speeding is likely to be found liable and face a variety of other charges, especially in accidents resulting in a pedestrian’s death.
Driving while intoxicated is dangerous, illegal, and contributes to a large number of pedestrian deaths. GHSA data shows that 16 percent of drivers involved in fatal pedestrian accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeded the legal limit of 0.08 g/dL. Drivers in pedestrian accidents found to be operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol (beyond the legal limit) or drugs can be charged with fault, drunk driving (DUI), reckless driving, and numerous other charges. It’s also possible that they will lose driving privileges and/or their driver’s license (especially if the injured pedestrian accidents involve drinking and driving).
Pedestrians can also be at fault in pedestrian-vehicle accidents. They are expected to follow the rules of the road and give drivers the opportunity to yield. Courts are more likely to side with the driver in cases where the pedestrian exercises little to no caution.
The pedestrian right-of-way laws (listed above) were written to protect pedestrians and give drivers time and space to stop. They designate certain areas for pedestrian use – such as crosswalks, pedestrian paths, etc. – so that they can safely cross or walk alongside the road. However, this does not give them free rein to disobey walk and traffic signals, venture into the road unexpectedly, or move into a crosswalk at the last second.
Alcohol impairment is unsafe for drivers and pedestrians alike. In fact, GHSA data shows that one-third of pedestrians killed in pedestrian-car accidents ages 16 and older had a BAC of 0.08 g/dL or higher. Pedestrians who are under the influence are more likely to exercise poor judgment and/or disobey laws and signals when near traffic. They are also more likely to be found at fault.
Fault can be partially shared by both involved parties. In many cases, both the pedestrian and driver are somewhat responsible for the accident. For example: If a car is speeding and strikes a pedestrian who entered a crosswalk at a non-walk signal, it’s likely they will both argue that the other person caused the accident. If courts determine shared fault, both parties are expected to contribute to the cost of damages. However, it’s likely one party will be considered more at fault and will have to cover a greater percentage of the costs.
Being involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident is a stressful and often traumatizing experience. Whether you’re the driver or the person who was hit, it’s important to know how to handle the situation. This will help ensure the best outcome for every person involved. These are the five steps to take after a pedestrian automobile accident:
Never, ever leave the scene of an accident. It will make all involved parties’ situations worse, and it’s against the law. Instead, get out of the road and harms way if possible; if you’re the driver, turn on your hazard lights, move your car out of the road, shift your car into park, and turn off your engine.
If the accident is severe, call 9-1-1 immediately to alert authorities and medical personnel. Follow their instructions. If no one is injured, it’s still important that you call the local police department’s non-emergency number to report your accident. This is crucial for subsequent insurance and legal proceedings.
It’s crucial that you document the pedestrian auto accident. Take pictures of injuries, damages, and the intersection or road where the accident happened. Take detailed notes with the date and time of the accident and how it happened. Takedown any names, phone numbers, license plates, and insurance information of all involved parties, including witnesses. Do not admit fault. Do not sign any documents unless they are from police or medical personnel. Contact your insurance agent when you are able to do so.
If you are injured, it’s important to seek out proper medical care to mitigate your injuries. Keep track of all medical visits, treatments, and expenses along the way. This will help your pedestrian accident attorney and/or insurance agent guarantee that you earn proper compensation for your injuries and damages.
Finding a lawyer experienced in pedestrian accident lawsuits will help ensure that you have a strong case. This will increase your chances of earning full compensation for any relevant medical costs, lost wages, and other damages. Be aware of your state’s statute of limitations and make sure to file your claim on time. Contact TorHoerman Law today to learn more about working with our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers.
If you or a loved one were involved in a pedestrian accident, you could be eligible for a pedestrian injury lawsuit. These cases are meant to bring justice to victims and their families. Pedestrian injury attorneys fight to help their clients earn compensation for any injuries, medical bills, and other subsequent expenses.
Damages are sums of money awarded to victims and their families to help them cover any losses they experienced because of the accident. Attorneys seek both special damages and general damages for their client’s personal injury claims. Special damages cover set expenses such as medical bills and debt, litigation costs, and lost wages. General damages cover more subjective expenses such as lasting traumas and emotional distress.
Common pedestrian accident damages include:
Lost Wages and Future Earnings: covers past, current, and future wages lost because of the victim’s injuries.
Loss of Quality of Life: The loss of ability to participate in and enjoy life.
Emotional Damages: such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other emotional distress.
Wrongful Death: in cases where a victim dies, the family can sue for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Pedestrian car accident lawsuits can be both complex and time-consuming. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help you navigate the legal system to ensure your case is as strong as possible. This increases your chances of a successful pedestrian-vehicle accident lawsuit and maximizes your potential settlement. Building a strong client-lawyer relationship is important, so make sure that your attorney is easy to contact and will keep you updated on your case. Before hiring a lawyer for your pedestrian lawsuit, ask him or her:
At TorHoerman Law, we have a team of experienced attorneys with years of success in handling pedestrian accident lawsuits. We work with our clients to help minimize their stress and maximize compensation for their damages. Our lawyers offer free consultations for all potential clients, and our legal services are based on contingency fees. This means none of our clients pay until we have helped them gain compensation. Contact the law offices of TorHoerman today to learn more about your potential pedestrian accident lawsuit.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety, Illinois Office of the Secretary of State, www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/traffic_safety/bikepedsafety.html.
Caron, Christina, and Niraj Chokshi. “Pedestrian Deaths in U.S. Approach Highest Number in Nearly 30 Years, Study Shows.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Mar. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/us/pedestrian-deaths.html.
“Code Section.” Law Section, leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=21950.
Eldredge, Barbara. “Walkable Cities Are Healthier Cities, New Study Affirms.” Curbed, Curbed, 7 Nov. 2016, archive.curbed.com/2016/11/7/13539982/walkable-cities-health-walkability.
“Kids Raised in Walkable Cities Earn More Money As Adults.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-24/kids-from-walkable-cities-gain-economic-mobility.
Missouri Department of Revenue Driver Guide, 2015, dor.mo.gov/pdf/DriverGuide.pdf.
“New Projection: 2019 Pedestrian Fatalities Highest Since 1988.” GHSA, www.ghsa.org/resources/news-releases/pedestrians20.
Newton, Larissa. “Everyone Is a Pedestrian, so Let's Walk Safely.” PennDOT Way, 3 Oct. 2017, www.penndot.gov/PennDOTWay/Pages/Article.aspx?post=54.
Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State 2019 PRELIMINARY DATA. Governors Highway Safety Association, 2019, www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2020-02/GHSA-Pedestrian-Spotlight-FINAL-rev1.pdf.
Walker, Alissa. “Walking Is Increasingly Deadly, and Not Because People Are on Their Phones.” Curbed, Curbed, 3 Sept. 2020, archive.curbed.com/2020/9/3/21419149/pedestrian-safety-deaths-angie-schmitt.
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