Pedestrian Accident: Who’s Fault is It Anyway?
Auto accidents are the leading cause of injury in the USA, with over 5.6 million reported in 2012. The damage that these auto accidents cause can be massive. Economically, it is estimated that car accidents cost $277 billion each year, with other auto accidents, such as those involving buses, trucks and trams, pushing those costs up further. Emotional distress is very common following an auto accident for those who suffered serious injuries, as well as those who witnessed the accident. As a result of this, counselling is often needed. The physical injuries incurred from auto accidents, especially a pedestrian accident, vary from accident to accident, and person to person, but are often serious, involving the head, neck and back. Injuries often require long term medical care which is not only expensive, but can affect a person’s quality of life and ability to work.
Pedestrians are a particularly vulnerable sector of traffic, especially so when crossing the street. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, there are over 5000 pedestrian deaths, and 76,000 injuries each year as a result of motor vehicle related accidents. As a result of the risk of injury and death, motorists must yield to pedestrians, and are expected to exercise reasonable care when in close proximity to them. If motorists fail to do so, they are being a negligent driver. Negligence is the failure to do, or not do, something. In this case, it could be factors such as driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving whilst distracted for example as a result of texting, or as a result of disobeying or ignoring traffic rules or signs. If the driver’s negligence results in an accident, which happens all too often, then driver may be liable for the damage to the car, the pedestrian, and also to the highway.
Who is liable in a pedestrian accident?
Although motorists often take the blame for pedestrian accidents, liability is actually based on negligence, as with any other traffic accidents. Therefore pedestrians can be liable thanks to a policy called: contributory negligence. As a result of this, pedestrians must also take care when out and about. If pedestrians do not take reasonable care, for example if they jaywalk, ignore walk signals at traffic lights, or otherwise fail to consider traffic, and they are involved in an accident, then their contributory negligence may have to be considered. This form of negligence could result in the pedestrian being liable to the cost of damages and injuries, or at the very least a reduction in the receipt of damages. The only exception to this rule is if the pedestrian in question was a child as they often lack the foresight needed to avoid the danger posed by motorists. In these cases, the motorist is usually liable for any damages caused, and contributory negligence may not be considered.
There are some instances that neither the pedestrian nor the driver was at fault, but instead the accident occurred as a result of the poor upkeep of the highway – for example, if the highway had not been maintained, or if the design was inherently dangerous. In some cases, no motor vehicle is even involved, and in these non-pedestrian accident cases, it may be that construction debris, or lack of sidewalk upkeep is the cause of injury. In all these cases, a legal claim may be possible against the agencies involved, whether they be state or federal, which were responsible.
However if a pedestrian is injured, whether it is the result of a vehicle or otherwise, if the injuries occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, even in part, then the pedestrian in question may be able to recover all or some of the damages for the injuries. In cases where pedestrians are injured, it is often the case that more than one person has legal responsibility for the accident. As a result of this, it is often beneficial to seek legal advice after an accident to find out whether there is a case.
Pedestrian Accidents in Seattle, WA
Seattle has one of the worst traffic problems in the USA, and for pedestrians this can make getting around safely on foot particularly difficult, especially if non-vehicle related injuries are also considered. So, if you or a loved one were a pedestrian involved in a road traffic accident, and think you could have a lawsuit, would like some more information, or are unsure of what to do next, then we can help you! In Washington, as a result of the Statute of Limitations, you only have 3 years to bring a claim to your injuries – so act now. With our support, we can help give you a clearer idea of where you should go next, taking the weight off your shoulders, and giving you the extra energy you need to get your health back on track.
Horrible accidents happen too frequently. Sometimes it’s a drunk driver, often a distracted one…sometimes it’s just a pure accident. On October 5, 2017, a high school student was killed by an elderly driver who drifted onto the shoulder of a road on Key Peninsula Highway near Tacoma.