Various conditions commonly cause pedestrian accidents, such as the driver speeding, ignoring traffic signals, making a left-hand turn, or driving under the influence or while distracted. Weather conditions also play a role in causing pedestrian accidents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 100,000 people went to emergency rooms for treatment after a pedestrian accident in 2020. Unfortunately, more than 7,000 pedestrians passed away from their injuries. When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the results can prove devastating. A pedestrian accident injury attorney can help pedestrian accident victims recover compensation for their losses.
Six Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can happen under many circumstances. Common causes of these crashes include distracted driving, speeding, ignoring traffic signals, weather conditions, and driving under the influence.
Distracted driving is when a driver redirects their attention to something other than driving.
Distractions can include:
- Talking on the phone
- Taking a drink
- Changing stations on the stereo
- Using a navigation system
According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, a driver cannot have a phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support their phone while driving. Drivers may only use their phone by operating a speakerphone, an earpiece, wireless headphones, or Bluetooth connection to their vehicle’s audio.
Distracted drivers might not see a pedestrian in time or at all and collide with them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Therefore, drivers must stay focused on the road to avoid pedestrians and other hazards in the roadway.
Drivers who speed put their life in danger, as well as the drivers and pedestrians around them. The faster a vehicle travels, the more significant the collision’s impact especially for vulnerable road users like pedestrians.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding has many consequences.
The consequences could include:
- More significant potential to lose control of the vehicle
- Increased stopping distances after the driver sees a hazard
- Increased damages to those involved in a crash
Failure to Yield at Crosswalks and Traffic Signs
Drivers who ignore traffic signals often cause horrific accidents, especially involving pedestrians. The driver can easily avoid these accidents if they obey the traffic signal or yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk, according to NHTSA.
Traffic signals keep traffic in order and reduce the number of accidents. Drivers who avoid these signals put themselves and other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road at risk.
Common traffic signs motorists ignore include:
- Stop signs
- Red lights
- Yield signs
- Construction zone signs
- Signs indicating a lane ends
- Speed limit signs
- School zones
Drivers who ignore traffic signs could cause head-on collisions, intersection collisions, or pedestrian accidents, among other types of crashes.
Driving Under the Influence
Alcohol and drugs impair the brain’s functioning, thinking, and reasoning. These substances can also impact muscle coordination.
Alcohol and drugs can also:
- Reduce coordination and ability to respond to emergencies
- Impair perception and concentration on traffic signals
- Impair judgment of appropriate travel speed
- Reduce capacity to stay in the appropriate lane
Driving after drinking has deadly consequences. When motorists drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they make decisions they wouldn’t usually make. This includes failing to obey traffic signals, follow the speed limit, use turn signals, or turn on their headlights at night.
Left-hand turns are often dangerous for pedestrians for several reasons.
These reasons include:
- Drivers accelerate during a left-hand turn. When accelerating, it can take longer to put their foot on the brake if they see a pedestrian.
- Drivers have reduced visibility when making a left-hand turn. When drivers make a left-hand turn, the car’s frame can cause a blind spot. The driver could miss seeing the pedestrian because of the blind spot.
- Pedestrians walk on the crosswalk. Usually, when a driver makes a left-hand turn toward a pedestrian, they have a green light. The pedestrian also has a green light, so they feel it’s safe to cross. The driver might not see the pedestrian in time.
Bad weather can cause an array of traffic hazards.
The most common dangers of bad weather include:
- Decreased visibility because of rain, fog, or snow
- Wet pavement from rain or melting snow and ice
- Slick pavement from snow or ice
With slick pavement conditions, drivers can slide on the roads or increase their stopping distance. In addition, drivers might not see a pedestrian because of reduced visibility; once they do, it is too late to stop.
Victims of Pedestrian Accidents Can Recover Compensation
Pedestrians who get struck by motor vehicles can sustain severe injuries. Injuries can include a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken or fractured bones, lacerations, internal injuries, facial injuries, and many more. The severity of these injuries can prove fatal or significantly change the rest of a person’s life.
Pedestrians injured by someone else’s negligent actions can recover compensation for their losses through a claim or lawsuit. An attorney can help the injured party state their case and prove why they deserve to recover compensation for their losses.
Damages You Could Recover
You could recover damages if you sustained an injury in a pedestrian accident. Recoverable damages compensate the injured person for the damages they incurred. Since pedestrians can sustain severe injuries, they can often receive substantial damages.
Pedestrians can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate the injured person for the monetary losses they incurred from the accident.
Economic damages could include:
- Medical bills: Severe injuries can cause someone to accrue high medical bills, even with health insurance.
- Future medical bills: If you need ongoing physical therapy or other care, you can recover these costs.
- Lost income includes missed paychecks, tips or bonuses, or other types of missed earnings.
- Diminished earning capacity: If you can’t return to work in your former capacity, you can get compensation.
Non-economic damages refer to subjective losses as opposed to monetary losses. These damages compensate the person injured in a pedestrian accident for their physical and emotional pain.
Non-economic damages available for injured pedestrians include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Non-economic damages often prove more difficult to quantify than economic damages, as they do not come with a monetary value. However, an attorney can review your non-economic damages to determine their value.
If Your Loved One Passed Away From a Pedestrian Accident, You Could Recover Compensation
If your loved one died from their injuries, the surviving family members could recover compensation for the loss.
Damages surviving family members could recover include:
- End-of-life medical expenses: If your loved one received medical care to save their life or provide comfort measures, you could recover the monetary loss you incurred for the out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Future income: If the decedent supported the family financially, the surviving family members can seek compensation for the future income their loved one would have provided.
- Service costs: The surviving family members could recover the costs for funeral or celebration of life services. Other compensation could include the cost of burial or cremation services.
- Loss of care and support: This includes the loss of companionship and supports the family after the loss of their loved one.
An attorney can look at the economic and non-economic damages to determine the value of a pedestrian accident case.
Steps to Take After a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians can sustain severe injuries that can cause death. Therefore, if a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian, act promptly to get the help they need.
Steps to take after a pedestrian accident include:
- Contact emergency medical services. Most likely, the pedestrian will require medical care. If anything, the medical professionals can assess the pedestrian to ensure their injuries don't need more extensive medical care.
- Call the police. With any motor vehicle accident, someone should call the police to file a report. If you or your loved one was involved in the accident, obtain a copy of the police report.
- Write down what happened. Take detailed notes of what happened during the accident. Write down the events of the accident as soon as possible. This way, your account of events stays fresh in your mind.
- Obtain the contact information of everyone involved. If you or a loved one was involved in the pedestrian accident, obtain the contact information and insurance details of the parties involved. This includes getting the motor vehicle’s make, model, and license plate.
- Identify who witnessed the accident. Witness statements can prove helpful when gathering information about the events. They can prove that your account of the accident happened as you said.
- Contact a pedestrian accident lawyer. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help after an accident in many ways. They can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Pedestrian accident attorneys know insurance companies’ tactics to get accident victims to accept low offers. An attorney can advocate for you or your loved one to recover the maximum compensation.
Following these steps after a pedestrian accident can help you or your loved one recover the compensation you need to avoid financial ruin.
Liability for Pedestrian Accidents
To recover compensation after a pedestrian accident, you must prove the liable party was acting negligently. To do so, you must show the other party met the criteria for negligence. A pedestrian accident attorney can help to develop your case.
The elements of negligence include:
- The liable party owed the pedestrian a duty of care.
- The liable party breached the duty of care.
- The breach of duty directly resulted in the pedestrian sustaining injuries.
- The pedestrian suffered damages because of the liable party’s actions.
To make your case, an attorney can use several sources of evidence. This includes police reports, photos of your injuries, surveillance camera footage, eyewitness statements, medical records, doctors’ statements, and more.
Generally speaking, the person who hit you could bear liability for the accident. For instance, if a vehicle driver crashed into you, they may bear responsibility for your damages.
However, other parties could also face liability, such as when commercial drivers hit a pedestrian. For instance, when an Uber or Lyft driver hits a pedestrian, Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy may cover the damages.
An Attorney Can Help You Recover Compensation
While these accidents can occur for many reasons, pedestrian accidents can result from other causes. If you or a loved one was involved in a pedestrian accident, an attorney could advocate for you to recover the compensation you deserve. After being struck by a vehicle, a pedestrian could sustain severe, life-altering injuries. They deserve to receive compensation from the liable party.
Pedestrian accident attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies to help you get a fair settlement. If they cannot secure a settlement, an attorney can develop a solid case strategy and represent you in court.
You can get a free case review from a personal injury law firm today to learn your options and next best steps.