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If you have just been hit by a vehicle, you should contact police and medical personnel immediately. Also, document the pedestrian accident and contact your insurance company. Make sure to keep track of any related medical treatments and other expenses. Finally, you should contact a pedestrian accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.

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.

The majority of pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence. However, pedestrians can be held liable for causing 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.

Pedestrian Accidents

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.


Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle

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 Facts & Statistics

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:

  • Over 6,500 pedestrians were killed in accidents on U.S. roads in 2019. This is the highest number since 1988.
  • Over 137,000 people were treated in emergency departments for pedestrian accident injuries.
  • Most pedestrian accidents happen on local roads, away from intersections, and at night.
  • 30 states had increases in pedestrian fatalities from 2018 to 2019.
  • From 2009 to 2018, pedestrian fatalities increased by 53 percent. By comparison, the total number of all traffic deaths only increased by 2 percent.


Common Pedestrian Injuries

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 Fatalities

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.


Who is at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?

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:

when the pedestrian is on a marked crosswalk
when the pedestrian is on an unmarked crosswalk on the driver side of the road
while turning at any intersections, including legal right turns on red
when the pedestrian is walking to a walk signal and/or a green light
at stop signs or flashing red signals where a pedestrian is crossing

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.

What to Do if You are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?

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:  

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     1. Do Not Leave the Scene

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.


     2. Contact the Police and Medical Personnel

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.


     3. Document the Pedestrian Accident and Contact Your Insurance Company

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.


     4. Track Any Related Medical Treatments and Expenses

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.


     5. Hire an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney

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.


Filing a Pedestrian Injury Lawsuit

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.


What are common damages in a pedestrian accident?

Common pedestrian accident damages include:

Covers past, current, and future wages lost because of the victim’s injuries.

The loss of ability to participate in and enjoy life.

Such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other emotional distress.

In cases where a victim dies, the family can sue for economic,  non-economic, and punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

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:

  • Do you have experience with pedestrian accident cases? If so, what was the outcome?
  • How do I pay for your legal services?
  • Will you keep in contact throughout my case?


TorHoerman Law, Pedestrian Accident Law Firm

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.


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