As a pedestrian, you are more susceptible to sustaining severe or even fatal injuries when involved in a motor vehicle accident. Though these accidents typically occur due to a negligent driver, there are some situations when a pedestrian may disobey right-of-way laws and could be partially or even fully at fault. Whatever the case may be, though drivers have a duty of care they must obey, there are some steps pedestrians can take to reduce their chances of being hit:
- Even if you have the right-of-way, always double-check that a car isn’t coming before crossing the street.
- Always cross the street at designated crosswalks or where there is a crossing signal.
- Avoid walking at night if possible. If you do need to walk at night, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing to increase visibility.
- Avoid using distractions while walking on a busy road, such as your cell phone.
- Always walk on the sidewalk where possible.
Taking the above precautions can help reduce your chances of being hit by a car, especially if you do a lot of walking. Still, accidents happen whether someone was purposefully negligent or not, and unfortunately, the injuries that result from pedestrian accidents are often quite severe, if not fatal. Over 7,000 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in 2019, with the highest number of deaths reported as occurring on the weekends when more people are out walking.
In these cases, it is essential for victims or their loved ones to work with a personal injury attorney to ensure justice is served and proper compensation is awarded. Trying to find the money to pay for medical bills or make up for lost wages is likely the last thing someone wants to deal with when they are trying to make it through recovery. An experienced attorney can help you file your claim and win your case so you can focus on your health and getting better.
Common Causes of Pedestrian-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents
As mentioned above, drivers have a duty to exercise care when operating a vehicle, but pedestrians must also exercise care and obey right-of-way laws. Pedestrian Accidents can happen if a pedestrian steps out in front of a car when they do not have the right-of-way to do so. However, more often than not, pedestrian-related accidents tend to occur due to driver negligence and failure to yield the right-of-way.
The most common factors that contribute to pedestrian accidents include the following:
- Distracted driving: Generally, if a driver sees a pedestrian in the road, they do not purposefully run them over. It is typically a distraction, such as using their phone, looking in their mirror, or talking to another passenger, resulting in the driver failing to see the pedestrian.
- Speeding: If a pedestrian steps out into the road, it is much harder for a driver to react and hit the brakes in time if they are speeding. This is a top reason for pedestrian accidents, and the faster a car is moving, the more severe or deadly the injuries are likely to be.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way: It is common for cars to try to turn at a light, even when crossing pedestrians have the right-of-way, which can lead to an accident. Even though vehicles should stop and wait to make sure their path is clear, it is always wise for pedestrians to slowly enter a crosswalk to make sure drivers see them before they proceed. Failure to obey traffic signs and signals: Drivers who have a tendency to run red lights or stop signs are more likely to hit a pedestrian. Again, though you may have the right-of-way, it’s always a good idea to double-check that a car isn’t coming before stepping out into the road.
- Failure to signal before turning: Using your turn signal as a driver is not only essential to help other drivers know your intentions, but it is necessary for pedestrians to know what path you will be taking as well. When a driver turns without signaling, they could hit a pedestrian that continued walking, assuming the driver would keep going straight.
- Driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Of course, impaired driving can lead to any number of accidents, but pedestrians can be especially susceptible to getting hit when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your reaction times are much more delayed when impaired, meaning you might not be able to hit the brakes as fast if a pedestrian steps out into the road.
Pedestrian Right-of-Way Laws in Indiana
As a pedestrian, it’s helpful to know your local right-of-way laws to better understand your rights in the chance that you are hit by a driver. Generally, pedestrians always have the right-of-way so long as they are in a crosswalk or following the directions of control signals. Still, there are situations where they are not allowed to cross in front of a vehicle.
The following are Indiana’s pedestrian laws:
- Pedestrians must obey pedestrian control signals and other traffic control devices unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
- Pedestrians may not cross the road in a business district or designated highway unless walking in a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians may not walk or run into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- When crossing the road where there is no crosswalk, the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles in the roadway.
- Pedestrians may only cross in a marked crosswalk at adjacent intersections where traffic control signals are in operation.
- Pedestrians shall cross along the right half of crosswalks when practicable.
- If a sidewalk is present and usable, pedestrians must use the sidewalk and not walk on the road.
- If a sidewalk is not available, pedestrians must walk along the shoulder as far away from the edge of the roadway as possible.
- If a pedestrian is blind and carrying a cane or accompanied by a guide dog, a vehicle must yield the right-of-way.
Typical Injuries That Occur in Pedestrian Accidents
Injuries are often more severe or fatal following a pedestrian accident. This is because pedestrians have nothing to protect them against an oncoming vehicle, and these accidents often occur when drivers are moving at high speeds. Additionally, not only do you sustain primary injuries from the initial impact of the car, but you may then be thrown or propelled and sustain secondary injuries after you land or hit another object.
Some common pedestrian injuries include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Damage to internal organs or internal bleeding
- Bruising and contusions
- Torn and sprained ligaments
Consult an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s essential to work with an attorney to get the compensation you deserve. Drivers have a responsibility and duty to operate with care, and failure to do so means they can be found liable. However, proving liability is not always as easy as it seems. The driver may try to claim you were at fault or at least partially at fault to reduce the severity of their charges. Additionally, insurance companies may also try to deny fault or blame the victim in an effort to reduce the claim amount owed. An experienced attorney will know how to fight against these claims and help you prove fault in your case.
At Crossen Law Firm, our team has over 20 years of experience fighting for victims injured in pedestrian accidents. We understand how devastating the resulting injuries and emotional trauma can be after such an accident. Our team is dedicated to working tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve so you and your loved ones can recover and move on.
Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation. (317) 401-8626.
Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents is the failure of a motor vehicle driver to pay attention. They may be texting. They may be rolling through a stop sign. They may be rolling through a traffic signal. Also, lighting is a big contributor to pedestrian accidents. Poor lighting in an intersection or perhaps a motor vehicle driver not having their headlights on. It’s really important to try to recall those particular facts when involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident.