Pedestrian Accident Services
Let our expert attorneys in Bellevue, Washington help you with your pedestrian accident claim today.
Get a Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer like Athena Boyer
Auto accidents result in thousands of dollars of damage to property and persons every year. Pedestrian accidents make up a large bulk of those costs, as well as affecting the lives of thousands of people each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that there are over 5,000 pedestrian deaths attributed to motor vehicle accidents each year and, even where a pedestrian/automobile accidents do not result in fatalities, there are 76,000 serious injuries annually. Who is responsible for these accidents? In many cases, the driver of the motor vehicle can be found liable.
Motor Vehicle Operators Have a Duty of Care to Pedestrians
When a pedestrian accident results in an injury or fatality, the driver of the automobile is often held responsible, or liable. This is due in large part to the fact that the pedestrian is more vulnerable, because he or she is unprotected by tons of metal and fiberglass. For this reason, the motor vehicle operator is expected to take extra care in operating the vehicle near pedestrians.
In nearly every jurisdiction, there are laws requiring that motorists yield to pedestrians to avoid these types of accidents. When a driver fails to obey this stipulation and hits a pedestrian as a result, he is said to have breached his duty of care and can, therefore, be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. In the event that the pedestrian dies as a result of the accident, the driver may face a wrongful death lawsuit. In either case, the driver will likely be held responsible for property damages, including an damages to the roadway, that the accident caused.
In most cases, the accident was prompted by some action of the driver. He may have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or he may have been violating a traffic law, running a stop light, or ignoring street signs. Distracted driving, which involves texting or surfing the web on a smartphone, is a growing cause of auto accidents as well. Very often, the driver may not have seen the pedestrian, because he was looking down at his phone.
Can a Pedestrian be Held Liable?
The driver will almost always be at fault for an accident involving a pedestrian, but that’s not to say the pedestrian can’t share the blame. In cases where the pedestrian crosses against the light or when the crosswalk light is red, he or she is said to share contributory negligence. Similarly, when a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle while acting without reasonable care (jaywalking, crossing while texting, etc.), the pedestrian shares liability for the accident.
When a pedestrian is found partially liable for a traffic accident, this may affect any settlement or award for damages he or she receives. By sharing liability, it’s assumed that the pedestrian could have taken steps to avoid the accident, such as obeying street signs or crossing with the light. This will affect the amount of blame that can be placed on the motor vehicle driver and the pedestrian may have to share the cost for damages.
In other instances, neither the driver nor the pedestrian may be at fault. Sometimes, faults in the design of the roads or poor upkeep can cause a pedestrian’s injuries. Faulty roadways may also be the causal factor in a pedestrian/vehicular accident. When this occurs, the government agencies responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the road may be liable. Where the accident caused injuries and property damages to both the pedestrian and a motor vehicle operator, both parties may end up suing the government agency.
In some pedestrian accidents, several parties can be held liable for a single accident. For instance, in the case of a poorly maintained road, a lawsuit might name the government agency responsible for upkeep of the road, the construction company that built the road, and the architect who designed the road. As each of those parties had a hand in creating the hazardous conditions, they all share liability for the resulting accident.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to recover damages to cover some or all of your expenses. By consulting with a pedestrian accidents lawyer, you may learn more about the process and about the outlook of your case. Typically, the initial consultation will be offered free of charge, because it’s an opportunity for the attorney to assess your case and for you to explore your options. The meeting will give you a better understanding of how much you may be able to recover and what portion of that award will go to the attorney as payment. All of this will help you to make a wise decision concerning your future and the compensation for the financial burdens of your injuries.