In 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded nearly 5,000 pedestrian deaths and 64,000 injuries. Most pedestrian accidents and deaths are caused by careless or negligent motorists. Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to the impact of a motor vehicle; pedestrians have no protection against a fast-moving, heavy car, truck, or bus. They can suffer broken bones, brain damage, a spinal cord injury, or even wrongful death as the result of a motorist's reckless or careless behavior.
Weighing thousands of pounds, a car can be a most deadly and dangerous weapon. The consequences of that deadly weapon coming into contact with a pedestrian can be catastrophic, leading to severe injuries and even death. Although some accidents are the fault of the pedestrian – ignoring traffic signals or jaywalking, for example – many pedestrian accidents are caused by negligent and careless drivers.
The liability of the driver in a pedestrian accident rests on whether the driver could have reasonably seen the pedestrian at the last minute and avoided the accident. In legalese, this is called the “last clear chance”; even if the pedestrian was negligent, the driver still had the last chance to avoid striking him or her. Most often, a pedestrian is injured when a motorist:
- Speeds or drives recklessly
- Disregards a crosswalk, stop or yield sign, red light, or other traffic control
- Fails to stop behind a school bus with flashing red lights
- Drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Ignores a pedestrian who is in the midst of crossing a road
Do I Need a Lawyer?
This depends on the extent of the injuries. If the injuries are minor and the driver assumes all liability, the case may be settled by the insurance agency. However, if the driver disputes who is at fault for the accident, despite clear evidence that his or her negligent or careless actions caused the injuries, legal representation is a good idea. An experienced lawyer can guide the victim through the legal process and build a strong case that increases the chances of a favorable ruling in court.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer near Your Area
If you or a loved one has been hit by a car as a pedestrian and suffered injury, use our directory to locate an attorney in your area. Your attorney can provide valuable advice regarding your case, and help you pursue financial damages to cover lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses and losses.