Taking a walk, or running for fun or your health…you are out there, experiencing the fresh air and sites and sounds, the unencumbered travel…and you are vulnerable. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 5,000 pedestrians die in motor vehicle related accidents each year. More than 78,000 pedestrians suffer injuries when hit by a car or truck.
Pedestrians may recover damages for the injuries suffered if someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the incident. In order to establish negligence in a pedestrian accident, the injured person must prove that the person at fault failed to fulfill a legal duty and caused an accident or injury that harmed or injured the plaintiff.
When a pedestrian injury occurs, there may be more than one party with legal responsibility for the accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, those with potential liability include the driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian and/or the party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, roadway or parking lot where the accident occurred. A law firm with experience in this area–and one with a knowledgeable investigative staff–can help determine whether you should consider a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries.
Usually, any recovery in a pedestrian negligence case involving a motor vehicle will hinge upon the exact duty of care owed by those involved. Both drivers and pedestrians must adhere to the laws of the road and exercise reasonable care. In many cases, it may seem obvious who was careless or negligent, but the courts look at a number of factors in applying the facts of each case to the elements of a “negligence” claim.
Some of the factors we watch for include situations where drivers:
- Were inattentive or pre-occupied
- Failed to observe posted speed limits
- Failed to yield the right of way to pedestrians at marked cross walks
- Ignored traffic signs or signals
- Failed to signal before turning
- Drove unsafe for conditions
- Drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Children Require Special Care
The law imposes a higher duty of care on drivers when it comes to children. The presence of children is a warning to the driver to exercise greater care. A motor vehicle driver must exercise a greater degree of care when they know, or should know, that small children are at play in the immediate area. This is especially important when driving near a school and residential districts where children play.
Pedestrians are often injured in accidents that do not involve vehicles. These can occur as a result of inadequate property maintenance–uneven, littered, and broken sidewalks, walkways, porches, steps or parking lots. These accidents can cause serious injuries, broken bones, contusions, even brain injury. Land owners and managers have a duty to maintain their property and a duty to warn people of hazards. If you were injured as a pedestrian, talking to one of our attorneys can help determine if you have cause for a premises liability lawsuit.
The best way to assess the potential for a legal claim is to consult with a law firm you trust.
Hausmann-McNally, S.C. can send a representative to talk to you at your home, hospital room or office. There is no obligation or charge for this first consultation. If contacted promptly, our investigators can take pictures to preserve evidence of how the site looked at the time of the accident, before it is repaired.