Understanding Your Legal Rights as a Pedestrian After a Car Accident – Guest Post

Car Accident

A pedestrian collision with a car or a car accident can be a traumatic and life-disrupting experience. In the aftermath of such a car accident, injuries, medical bills, and lost wages can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Your health and well-being are the priority, but knowing your legal rights is also vital during this challenging time.

In this article, we’ll explain pedestrian accidents and provide insights into legal recourse for those hit by cars.

Understanding Pedestrian Rights

A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) paints a grim picture for pedestrians. The analysis found pedestrian deaths in the US skyrocketed to a staggering 7,508 in 2022, the highest number since 1981. This translates to an average of 20 lives lost every day.

GHSA’s findings further highlight a shocking disparity in safety. Pedestrian fatalities increased by a troubling 77% between 2010 and 2021, compared to a 25% rise in all other traffic fatalities.  These statistics speak volumes and underscore the importance of understanding walker rights and advocating for safer roads for all.

While vehicles dominate the roadways, pedestrians have rights and responsibilities enshrined in legal statutes and societal norms. Generally, walkers have the right-of-way in marked crosswalks and at intersections with a signal. Drivers are legally obligated to yield to walkers in these designated areas and exercise reasonable caution when sharing the road.

This includes obeying posted speed limits, looking for foot travelers, and being prepared to stop. The law likely favors you if you were struck in a marked crosswalk or intersection with a signal. However, it’s important to remember that walkers and driver responsibilities can vary by state. Understanding these rights is essential for navigating the aftermath of an accident and asserting one’s legal claims effectively.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Driver negligence, encompassing speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, and driving under the influence, stands as a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. The repercussions of such inattentive or reckless behavior can be severe, especially for pedestrians who find themselves in precarious situations.

Besides, factors like poorly lit crosswalks, obscured signage, or inadequate pedestrian infrastructure, can also contribute to accidents. Decreased visibility raises the chances of accidents, while pedestrian actions such as crossing streets unlawfully or against traffic signals can further heighten accident risks.

A study published by ScienceDirect found that WHO identifies star roads as highly hazardous for pedestrians to navigate. Star roads are roads without sidewalks or safe crossings and are especially risky, especially when vehicles travel at 60 km/h.

These findings underscore the urgent need for improved safety measures in areas with high-speed traffic and inadequate infrastructure.

Legal Recourse for Injured Pedestrians

After being involved in a pedestrian accident, you might qualify for compensation to cover medical expenses, lost income, and emotional distress. Usually, this entails initiating a claim with the insurance provider of the driver responsible for the accident. However, navigating insurance claims and understanding the full scope of recoverable damages can be complex.

Also, victims with PIP or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can potentially file a claim with their insurance provider.

Remember, each state’s comparative negligence laws determine how your shared fault in the accident may impact your claim. Seeking guidance from a skilled personal injury lawyer familiar with these types of accidents is crucial. They can examine the incident, establish liability, and advocate for the highest possible compensation to which you are entitled.

Working with Legal Professionals

The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be a whirlwind of medical appointments, lost wages, and emotional distress. The legal process may seem overwhelming on top of everything else.

Let’s consider this tragic incident reported by KEYT News in March 2024 in California. A 16-year-old Righetti High School student was hit by a car while crossing Union Valley Parkway in a pedestrian crosswalk. The California Highway Patrol reported that the teen sustained major injuries and was airlifted to Madera Children’s Hospital for treatment. According to the driver and witnesses, the collision occurred due to impaired visibility caused by the sun’s glare.

Consulting with an experienced local legal professional can make a significant difference if you’ve been in a similar accident in California. Personal injury lawyers specialize in handling cases involving injuries sustained due to another party’s negligence. Frantz Law Group emphasizes the significance of professional credentials in case preparation, settlement negotiations, and courtroom proceedings.

Considering the accident above, personal injury lawyers in California can be your best bet. They specialize in advocating for pedestrian car accident victims and possess a profound grasp of state-specific pedestrian accident laws. These professionals provide comprehensive support throughout the legal process, from investigating the accident to representing clients in negotiations and court proceedings. They ensure thorough guidance and representation at every stage.

Establishing Liability

To establish liability, several key factors must be considered. First and foremost, it’s essential to assess the actions of the parties involved. Was the driver acting negligently, for example, by speeding, running red lights, or failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks? On the other hand, did the pedestrian engage in hazardous behavior, like crossing the street illegally or going against traffic signals?

Also, eyewitness accounts, surveillance footage, police reports, and expert analysis are pivotal in assigning fault in accident cases.

Seeking Compensation

Being hit by a car can result in substantial medical expenses and income loss. However, the positive news is that you may be eligible for compensation to cover these losses. Gitnux reports that minor pedestrian accident injuries typically result in average compensations ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. However, pedestrian accidents involving drunk drivers have considerably higher average settlements, averaging around $125,000.

These figures underscore the significant impact of various factors on compensation outcomes in these accident cases.

A typical approach is pursuing a personal injury claim against the insurance provider of the responsible driver. This process often entails engaging in discussions with the insurance adjuster to secure a settlement that sufficiently compensates the victim for their losses. When insurance coverage is inadequate or liability is contested, pursuing compensation through a civil lawsuit in a court may be required.

Resources and Support

Various organizations and initiatives offer assistance and guidance to individuals affected by pedestrian accidents. Local government agencies may provide information on victim support services, legal aid programs, and financial assistance options available to accident victims.

Nonprofit organizations dedicated to walker safety and advocacy can offer valuable resources, including educational materials, support groups, and legal referrals. Also, legal professionals specializing in personal injury law, like personal injury lawyers, can provide expert guidance and representation throughout the legal proceedings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps should I take right after being struck by a car while walking?

Following a pedestrian-car collision, your immediate focus should be on ensuring your safety by relocating to a secure area. Seek prompt medical assistance for any injuries sustained. It’s crucial to exchange contact with the driver and gather witness details to support potential legal actions.

How do I ascertain responsibility in a pedestrian-vehicle collision?

The determination of fault in a pedestrian-car accident hinges on traffic regulations and behaviors. Gathering evidence like eyewitness accounts, surveillance videos, and police statements can aid in accurately determining liability. Consulting with legal professionals specializing in similar accidents can provide further clarity on fault attribution.

Do I need a lawyer if I’ve been hit by a car as a pedestrian?

It’s highly advisable to seek legal representation if you’ve been hit by a car as a pedestrian. A lawyer can guide you legally, negotiate with insurers, and secure fair compensation for your damages.

Empowering Pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents can result in severe physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial struggles. Access to legal support is crucial in navigating the complexities of these accident claims and achieving a fair resolution. With determination, resilience, and support, you can assert your rights and move forward toward recovery and justice.

Comments are closed for this post.