Pedestrians are perhaps the most vulnerable individuals in traffic. Motorists must take great care to avoid harming them. However, is every car accident with pedestrian injuries the fault of the driver?
Although pedestrians are at high risk for catastrophic or fatal injuries from a car accident, a car accident with pedestrian injuries may not always be the fault of the motorist.
Determining Liability for Pedestrian Accidents
When an accident, unfortunately, occurs that involves a pedestrian, the pedestrian or some other party may be responsible, rather than the driver.
For example, if a driver is obeying the rules of the road and a pedestrian recklessly runs into the street and is hit by a vehicle, the driver of that vehicle will probably not be held liable for the accident.
Pedestrian accident liability for a car accident depends on the circumstances of the accident. Generally speaking, liability for traffic accidents attaches when negligence or recklessness is involved.
Types of Driver Negligence and Recklessness
According to the data, pedestrian accidents often occur outside of controlled intersections, but they also take place at intersections as well. When the driver is at fault, it is typically due to one of the following reasons:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued
- Excessive speeding
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Road rage driving
- Driving at speeds unsafe for current road or weather conditions
- Failure to yield
- Failure to signal or obey other traffic rules
But the driver is not always the one to blame for a pedestrian accident.
Types of Pedestrian Negligence and Recklessness
Pedestrians can also contribute to or cause a car accident with pedestrian involvement. Some of the more common forms of negligence on their part include:
- Walking through traffic while intoxicated
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Walking while distracted
- Playing or standing in a roadway
- Running into the road
However, it must be noted that other factors besides the actions of pedestrians and drivers may also contribute to car accidents involving pedestrians.
For example, the physical conditions of a particular intersection or area of the road may make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians.
Consider landscaping — poorly placed or maintained trees or bushes can obstruct the views of both pedestrians and drivers and lead to a crash. In cases such as these, the blame could fall on the municipality or a private landowner.
Justice for Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians can face significant injuries and death when involved in car accidents. Even at slow speeds, a strike from a vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries that can turn a pedestrian’s life upside down.
Fortunately, pedestrians who are injured by negligent or reckless drivers can seek compensation for their injuries and losses through a car accident claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Common Injuries and Consequences of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians often face life-altering injuries after a car accident, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken and crushed bones
- Burns and road rash
The financial and emotional setbacks that follow these injuries can be enormous and overwhelming.
Recovering Economic Damages
With the help of a personal injury lawyer, a pedestrian can seek compensation for a variety of economic losses for a pedestrian accident caused by a car accident, including:
- Medical bills for treatment
- Costs associated with rehabilitation
- Long-term care costs
- Expenses related to homecare services
- Costs incurred for home and vehicle adaptations
Pedestrians also face loss of income and economic opportunity due to time out of work and the inability to pursue and realize financial goals. These losses may also be covered by seeking economic damages.
Recovering Non-Economic Damages
Pedestrians involved in a car accident will also typically experience a range of losses that are non-economic in nature. Although they do not have dollar amounts attached to them, these losses can profoundly affect a victim’s life, just as economic losses can.
Compensable non-economic losses may include:
- Emotional and physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life
- Loss of consortium and companionship
Proving non-economic losses is a bit trickier than proving economic losses. Economic losses, account balances, pay stubs, and work schedules can provide direct, verifiable evidence as to their existence.
However, adequately proving mental anguish, the loss of the ability to enjoy life, and other intangible losses requires the skill and experience of a seasoned personal injury attorney. For this reason, pedestrians who are involved in a car accident must seek the services of an attorney if they want maximum compensation.
In some cases, a car accident with pedestrian involvement may give rise to punitive damages. Punitive damages are a form of punishment against defendants who have behaved in a particularly egregious manner. Depending on the state, egregious conduct may be defined as grossly negligent, willfully malicious, or intentional.
Take drunk driving as an example. Many states consider drunk driving to be so reprehensible that victims may seek punitive damages in lawsuits against drunk drivers.
How an Attorney Can Help You
Pedestrians who have been injured can rely on a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Baltimore to handle every stage of the legal process and seek maximum compensation. Without a lawyer, an injury victim is likely to get a settlement amount far below what a victim with representation receives.
This routinely occurs because insurance companies fight hard to pay as little as possible in an effort to preserve profits. One tactic they use is to offer a quick and easy payout to suffering victims before they speak with a lawyer. Not knowing how much they truly deserve, many accept the offer and leave significant compensation on the table.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you deserve to know your options for justice. The compassionate, experienced injury attorneys of The Joel Bieber Firm can help you understand what choices you have moving forward and fight to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries. Call today for a free consultation and case review.