What are Pedestrian Accidents?
It is the unfortunate reality that pedestrian accidents account for nearly 5,000 deaths each year. More pedestrians are injured when hit by a car or a truck, with about 76,000 pedestrians suffering injuries in 2012. In this article, we will examine what a pedestrian accident is and what the impact is on drivers and pedestrians.
Besides pedestrian accidents that involve a vehicle, there are thousands of accidents that are a result of poor maintenance, sidewalk, and parking lot defects, construction, or other debris on walkways that cause these accidents.
Whenever a pedestrian is injured by an accident, whether from a vehicle or property defect, they may recover damages for their injuries that they suffer if someone being negligent caused or contributed to the incident. It is best to consult with a Pedestrian Accident Attorney to determine if your injuries were the result of someones negligence.
What is negligence?
Simply defined, negligence is the failure to do, or not to do, something that a reasonable person in the same or similar situation would do to protect others from foreseeable risks. Establishing negligence is important and is the key factor in whether or not damages can be awarded. To do so, the plaintiff (the injured party) must prove that the defendant (the person at fault) fulfilled the following:
- They owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the specific circumstances of the case.
- They breached or failed to fulfill that legal duty either through inaction or action.
- They caused an accident or an injury that involved the plaintiff.
- They harmed or injured the plaintiff as a result of failing their legal duty
Sometimes there is more than one party that had legal responsibility for the accident. Depending on the circumstances other parties that can potentially be liable include:
- The driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian.
- The party who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, road, or parking lot where the injury occurred.
- And even the pedestrian themselves.
Pedestrian Accidents involving Vehicles
Generally, cases involving pedestrian accidents involving vehicles hinge on the duty of care owed by those involved. The driver and the pedestrians must follow the rules of the road and be exercising reasonable care. While many cases may seem like it is obvious who was negligent, the courts look at numerous factors when applying the facts to the negligence elements. A person who operates a vehicle negligently may be required to pay damages for any personal and property damage caused by the negligence.
A driver is expected to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. If a driver fails to do so that is considered to be negligence. Some common factors contributing to driver negligence include:
- Driving while distracted
- Failing to obey traffic signs and signals
- Failing to signal while turning
- Not yielding the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Drivers also have a special duty to care for children. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at the greatest risk of being hit by a vehicle because they are smaller and less visible and often can be hard to predict. The law will impose a higher duty of care when it comes to children. Whenever children are present drivers should exercise greater care, especially in areas where children are or could be such as a park or school.
Pedestrians also have a duty of care. They must exercise reasonable care for their safety. The care required is proportionate to the danger to be avoided and reasonably anticipated consequences. When a pedestrian fails to exercise their duty of care and this failure contributed to their injuries this is considered to be contributory negligence.
Some examples include:
- Ignoring the walk signs at an intersection
- Entering traffic and disrupting the flow
- Failing to use marked crosswalks
- Darting out in front of a vehicle
What to do if you’re involved in a pedestrian accident
The very first thing to do is to ensure that you are safe, and if possible, move out of the road to prevent further injury. Call the police immediately and have emergency services on their way. Do not leave the scene of the accident before help arrives. Try to get as many witnesses’ contact information. Do not make any statements to anyone, including the drivers and insurers.
People may try to claim that you are to blame for the accident when they are actually at fault. Make sure that you are safe and have all the information you may need to prove negligence on the part of the other party.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident and you live in Glendale, CA, call Shirvanian Law Firm at (818)835-5396 today to arrange a consultation.