Cars, trucks, and buses present a risk to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks. Negligence on their behalf can quickly cause serious injuries. Reckless driving, drunk driving, and distracted driving cause many drivers to make poor decisions that result in running lights, stop signs, or swerving on the road. Every year 5,000 pedestrians are killed in these accidents and over 80,000 are injured.
The chances of serious personal injury are notably high in accidents involving an automobile-pedestrian collision. While it is important for both drivers and pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings and to act in a manner that ensures safety not only for themselves but for others as well, it is possible for both drivers and pedestrians to be at fault in these types of collisions.
If you or your loved ones have been hurt in a car accident involving pedestrians, contact a pedestrian accident lawyer at the Hankey Marks & Crider to discuss your options.
Most pedestrian-automobile collisions where the pedestrian is at fault result from irresponsibility and/or reckless behavior on the part of the pedestrian. Anytime a pedestrian chooses to ignore traffic signs and signals (such as crossing a cross-walk when a no walking sign is displayed), or when an individual jaywalks, their chances of being in an accident substantially increase.
Another common example of pedestrian-caused collisions involves parents running after children who have darted into the street. In these cases, a child who has run away from their parent and entered the road can be hit by an oncoming car, or the parent chasing after the child can be struck.
These cases of pedestrian-caused accidents all have in common the expectation that a pedestrian exercises a reasonable level of care. Pedestrians, as well as drivers, are expected to follow the rules of the road and to obey traffic laws when using streets, highways, and crosswalks.
In a scenario in which a pedestrian is jaywalking across the road between two parked cars and is directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle, they may put the driver in a difficult situation in two ways. The driver of the vehicle may be in a position where they cannot avoid hitting the pedestrian, and in this case, the pedestrian will definitely be held at fault.
Equally, if the driver had sufficient time to avoid hitting the pedestrian, but then proceeded to collide with the parked vehicle, the pedestrian would also be held at fault. In this case, the pedestrian would be liable for the damages to the vehicle along with any injuries to the driver.
Driver-Caused Pedestrian Accidents
Similarly, the most frequent causes of automobile-pedestrian collisions where the driver is at fault are drivers who ignore posted traffic signs and signals. Negligent drivers who run red lights, fail to pay attention to crosswalks or ignore pedestrians already crossing a roadway create dangerous situations where accidents are likely to occur.
Drivers who are intoxicated while driving are also responsible for many car-pedestrian accidents, as the alcohol in their system impairs their ability to react appropriately in situations involving pedestrians on or near the roadway.
Pedestrians technically always have the right of way by law, which means that negligent drivers nearly always carry the blame in an accident. However, whatever the circumstances were that led to the accident, the liability of the negligent driver has to be proven.
There are many ways to help establish the liability of the negligent driver, and our team at Hankey Marks & Crider will gladly help you with this important step. The various details of the accident can prove to be very important in strengthening your case. Some of these can include whether it was a day or nighttime collision, what type of clothing you were wearing, and whether the driver was speeding, which can be useful for proving the driver’s negligence.
In addition, it’s worth examining if there was a visibility issue that contributed to the accident. The reason for this is that if there is determined to be a visibility issue at the scene of the accident, the local government may have had a responsibility to improve it.
Investigating Your Pedestrian Accident
At Hankey Marks & Crider, our attorneys are well versed in how to build a pedestrian accident lawsuit. We will take the following steps when investigating your accident:
- Determine cause
- Determine fault
- Find witnesses
- Gather and preserve evidence
- Investigate financial and emotional toll of injuries
Following our investigation, we will begin negotiations with the responsible party. Ideally, a settlement will be reached, however, if a fair amount is not offered, your lawsuit may be taken to court.
Compensation in Pedestrian Accidents
If you are involved in an automobile-pedestrian collision caused by a driver’s negligence, you may wonder how you can be compensated. In many cases, you can rely on the driver’s liability insurance coverage for compensation. However, if the driver doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries, you may be able to rely on your own insurance coverage to compensate you.
There are additional issues, however, which may arise in your case that may affect your compensation, and it is important for you to be aware of them.
One is that Indiana is a state that follows the “comparative negligence” law. This means that if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, it is possible that you will be prevented from receiving any compensation. If it is determined that you are 50 percent or less at fault, your compensation may still be reduced in direct proportion to your level of fault in the accident.
The second issue is that if your child is the pedestrian who was injured, there are certain steps that need to be taken before you seek compensation. In this case, you will need to obtain the court’s approval for any settlement that exceeds $10,000.
Last, if your pedestrian accident resulted in a fatality, your surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Indiana statutes identify who can bring a wrongful death claim as well as what types of damages you will be able to recover.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from the year of 2013, pedestrian accidents illustrate how important it is, for both pedestrians and drivers, to be mindful of traffic laws.
- Out of a total of 32,719 traffic fatalities, 4,735 (14 percent) were accidents involving pedestrians.
- There were an estimated 66,000 pedestrians who were involved in accidents in that year.
- Of these, 73 percent of the accidents occurred in urban areas and 27 percent occurred in rural areas.
- 69 percent of pedestrian accidents occurred at non-intersections and 20 percent occurred at intersections.
- The majority of pedestrian accidents (72 percent) happened in the dark
- The highest percentage of pedestrian accidents (26 percent) occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
- The lowest percentage (5 percent) occurred between 9:00 to 11:59 a.m.
- The average age for pedestrian accident fatalities was 46.
- The average age for pedestrian injuries was 36.
- 20 percent of children 14 years or younger who were killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
- Nine percent of all children 10 to 14 years of age injured in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
- Of all the pedestrians who were injured, 7,000 (10 percent) were 65 or older and 10,000 (15 percent) were 14 or younger.
- More than two-thirds (3,247) of those who were killed in pedestrian accidents were male.
- 92 percent of pedestrians who died were killed in accidents involving a single vehicle.
- In Indiana alone, there were 77 pedestrian fatalities, making up 9.8 percent of all traffic fatalities.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian-automobile collision, contact the Indianapolis car accident lawyers of Hankey Marks & Crider today at (317) 634-8565 to discuss your legal rights.