Pedestrian Accidents May Require the Help of a Competent Personal Injury Lawyer
As a pedestrian, you have the right to be in the street in certain places and at certain times, as vehicles must yield to you and allow you to cross safely. Unfortunately, some drivers either do not see pedestrians or don’t accord them the respect and safety they deserve. In the event that a negligent driver injures you, you will need a pedestrian accident lawyer with a proven record of success. We are accident attorneys with several offices in Washington and Idaho and we are here to help you if you have suffered an accident.
Get the Compensation You Deserve for Your Personal Injuries
Pedestrians can sustain serious personal injury if the driver of a vehicle negligently causes an accident. Drivers have a duty to be vigilant and watchful in the operation of their vehicles. This is especially true when they are in an area with pedestrians. If a driver fails to pay attention and as a result injures a pedestrian, that driver can and should be held accountable.
Common Injuries That Pedestrians Suffer in Car Accidents
Pedestrians take the brunt of any accident with a motor vehicle. Even property damage to the car is negligible. Common injuries include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries;
- Broken bones including ribs;
- Internal bleeding and organ damage;
- Spinal cord injuries; and, in some cases,
When pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles, there are what are called primary and secondary injuries. Primary injuries are caused at the point of impact and delivered by the vehicle itself. Secondary injuries are caused by the ground, other vehicles, and poles, mailboxes, or other structures around the accident point. If the driver was negligent, they are responsible for both primary and secondary injuries, not just the primary injuries.
What Is the Recovery Process?
Most pedestrian accidents rely on traffic cameras and first-hand witness reports in order to determine fault. This is largely because the pedestrian is too injured to act on their own behalf. Their number one priority will be to ensure that they are transported safely to the hospital. After their condition is stabilized it will be time to set plans in motion to recover compensation for your accident.
Washington is a tort state when it comes to car accidents. This means that you would make a claim on the other party’s insurance policy. An investigation will begin into the accident. The police report will be recovered. Witnesses will be interviewed. Any video that may have caught the accident will be retrieved.
At that point, a determination will be made on fault.
Pedestrian Rights and Traffic Rules
Determining fault in a pedestrian-vehicle accident is not necessarily a simple task. In some cases, it is very simple. If a pedestrian runs out into traffic without looking both ways or a vehicle runs a stop sign or a red light, then determining fault may be cut and dry.
In other cases, a determination must be made as to who violated traffic law. In some cases, both parties may have violated the law or both parties might be partly responsible for the accident.
Pedestrians Have the Right of Way at Intersections
While most drivers may not be aware of this, wherever there is a crosswalk, drivers are expected to yield the right of way to pedestrians (RCW 46.61.235). However, a pedestrian may not “suddenly” leave the curb and run out in front of a car that has no reasonable expectation to anticipate that they may do so.
In cases where the driver is in the wrong, the fines for violating this traffic law are doubled when the infraction occurs:
- within a school zone,
- near a playground, or
- wherever there is a reduced speed zone.
In other words, a driver may not just run down a pedestrian because they see that the light is green.
Crossing Where There Is No Crosswalk
In cases where the pedestrian is crossing where there is no obvious crosswalk, it is the pedestrian who must yield the right of way to traffic (RCW 46.61.240). Additionally, it is unlawful for a pedestrian to cross the road diagonally unless they are directed to do so by a traffic control device.
Understanding “Due Care”
Even in cases where the driver has the right of way, they must exercise “due care” in order to avoid accidents with pedestrians (RCW 46.61.245). This means that the driver has a duty to avoid the accident and may be held at least partly liable when it can be shown that they could have avoided an accident. This is true even when the driver has the right of way or would otherwise not be held liable for violating the laws of traffic. In cases where a child is involved, drivers are expected to exercise a heightened level of due care. If you remember back to your driving course, your driver may have told you to be on the lookout for children playing in residential neighborhoods.
Understanding Comparative Fault in the State of Washington
In some cases, both the driver and the pedestrian may share some blame for the accident. Typically, the driver sustains little to no injuries and even minimal property damage. The pedestrian, on the other hand, may sustain serious injuries.
In this case, both the driver and the pedestrian will be assigned some percentage of the blame. This is known as comparative fault. Washington’s rule is much different than other states. Washington, like California, operates under a “pure” comparative fault rule. This means that regardless of how much the blame is yours, you can still file an action against the other party so long as you are not 100% to blame. In other states, you can only file an action if your part of the blame is less than or equal to the other party’s.
In cases where your part of the blame is greater than the other party’s, but you have sustained significant injuries, it is still advantageous to bring an action against the driver. For instance, if you have $100,000 in medical expenses and missed time from work but you are deemed to be 70% liable for the accident, you can still recover $30,000 (or 30% of $100,000) which is a significant sum of money. It may not be the entire $100,000 but it’s more than nothing.
Talk to a Washington Pedestrian Accident Attorney
The attorneys at Fielding Law Group have successfully recovered major damages for clients who were struck by a vehicle in traffic. It doesn’t matter that you may bear some of the blame for the accident. We can still help you mediate your claim with the insurance company and ensure that you recover the damages that you are owed. Contact us for a free consultation.
We Can Help You Learn Your Rights and Represent You In Court
If you were injured as a pedestrian you should know your rights. You may have the right to recover your medical bills and other expenses related to the treatment of your personal injuries. Further, if due to your injuries you have to miss work or are unable to perform at the same level as before, you may be able to recover your lost wages. Finally, you may even be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. But it may require the help of an attorney to recover the compensation you’re entitled to.
We don’t get paid unless you win.
At Fielding Law Group we will start working on your case today for FREE! If we don’t win a settlement, you won’t pay a dime. Our team of attorneys and legal professionals are waiting to help you. The sooner we start working on your case, the quicker we can get you the settlement you deserve.
Don’t be intimidated…
Many insurance adjusters work persistently to deny and devalue your legitimate claims. At Fielding Law Group, we ensure justice through the preservation of your rights to get the settlement you deserve.