A pedestrian accident lawyer helps victims of accidents in which a pedestrian and a motor vehicle (or other moving objects such as falling debris) are involved.
Pedestrians are very vulnerable against a moving car, and hence the law is on their side: motor vehicle laws specifically stipulate that drivers must protect pedestrians and must do everything to avoid a collision.
Walkers enjoy the right of way, and in an accident, the burden of proof is on the driver (the majority of cases resolve in favor of the pedestrian).
Causes of accidents
Most causes are driver related:
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- ignoring traffic signs,
- passing buses that have stopped to drop passengers off,
- talking on the phone or texting while driving,
- making illegal U-turns,
- missing a stop sign,
- and speeding.
Unfortunately, pedestrians have their contributions as well:
- not using the designated crosswalk or sidewalk (jaywalking),
- not paying attention when crossing the road,
- passing on the red light,
- and not wearing reflective clothing at night.
Other causes are poor road conditions, no cross or sidewalk, or no or malfunctioning signals.
Is it safe walking in high traffic areas?
- Over 20% of accidents occur on crossings with no signal or crosswalk, crossing against the signal results in about 10% of the cases, getting out of the parking car contributes about 5%.
- Seventy percent of the accidents are in urban areas, 60% of them at night, more than 60% of the fatalities are males, and 40-50% of them take place on weekends.
- Of all the deaths of all accidents roughly 20% of them are pedestrians!
- Alcohol does play some role: 30% of walkers are intoxicated versus only 15% of the drivers.
- The sad fact is that there are about 100,000 pedestrian accidents nationwide, most are fatal or result in serious injuries, and that the elderly population (65 and older) is twice as likely to get killed in a pedestrian accident.
A 180 lbs pedestrian is no match for a 3,000 lbs motor vehicle that moves with 20-30 mph and hence the injuries tend to be dangerous:
- broken bones,
- spinal cord injuries,
- brain injuries,
- head trauma, paralysis,
- burn injuries,
- paraplegia (paralysis from approximately the waist down)
- and quadriplegia (paralysis from roughly the shoulders down – most spinal cord injuries result in loss of sensation and function below the level of damage, including loss of controlled feature of the bladder and bowel).
What shall I do?
Drivers must exercise caution when pedestrians are present:
- slow down,
- yield to pedestrians,
- watch for pedestrians when making a turn,
- give the elderly the time they need to cross the road,
- in unfortunate weather condition break earlier when stopping for pedestrians,
- pay extra attention around blind people,
- and never take your eyes off the road when driving around schools or children!
Walkers have their roles as well: always cross at crosswalks, use the sidewalks, and forever wait for cars to stop before crossing the street.
What mistakes shall I avoid?
If you are driver:
- Do not drive under the influence of substances that inhibit your driving ability.
- Pass a car that has stopped for pedestrians.
- Pause your vehicle in the middle of the crosswalk.
- Blocking the sidewalk or
- Assume that pedestrians follow the traffic law.
If you are a pedestrian:
- Do not think that cars stop for you,
- Wait until they do so,
- Do not assume that they see you or pay attention,
- And never get distracted while walking in high traffic areas.
How to prevent an accident?
If you are a driver, always look for pedestrians everywhere and give them the right of way (remember, the driver has to avoid the accident at all cost, including giving up your right to go).
Passengers must also follow sensible rules: always cross the street in a straight line (not along the diagonal), avoid jaywalking, use the pedestrian crossing, observe the traffic lights, and still look both ways when crossing a road.
Some legal advice
A pedestrian accident can result in various legal consequences: a personal injury lawsuit, a car accident lawsuit, or in the worst case, wrongful death lawsuit. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, either as a driver or a pedestrian, it is highly recommended to hire a Little Rock AR pedestrian accident lawyer due to the complexity of the case and the seriousness of the consequences (involuntary manslaughter).