Car accidents can result in significant damage and severe injury. If you are a pedestrian hit by a vehicle, the resulting injuries can be even worse. As a pedestrian, nothing is protecting your body from the impact of a car. While there are laws and rules of the road to help protect pedestrians from being struck by a vehicle, these incidents still happen often and can have traumatizing effects.
According to the CDC, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than passenger vehicle occupants— and they further note that nearly 6,000 pedestrians are killed annually in traffic accidents.
Though many drivers hit pedestrians due to negligent driving, there are further steps pedestrians can take themselves to avoid being hit. These include:
- Avoiding walking at night if possible. When walking at night is necessary, try wearing reflective or brightly colored clothing to increase visibility.
- Always cross the street at designated crosswalks.
- Do not walk on the road. Always walk on the sidewalk and walk on the side that allows you to face oncoming traffic.
- When walking along a busy road, avoid distractions such as your phone and don’t wear headphones that completely block out surrounding sounds.
Unfortunately, whether you are taking extra precautions or not, it is all too common for pedestrians to get hit by negligent drivers. It is your right as an injured pedestrian to file a personal injury claim or even a lawsuit if you feel that the driver was at fault. However, proving fault in these situations can be tricky, and the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer is often needed. The team at the Crossen Law Firm has years of experience handling injured pedestrian cases in Indiana and can work with you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Your Rights as a Pedestrian
Generally, in the state of Indiana, pedestrians have the right of way as long as they are in a crosswalk and/or obeying pedestrian control signals. The specifics of pedestrian laws include:
- 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.
Steps You Should Take as a Pedestrian Injured in a Car Accident
Immediately following an accident where a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, it is advised to take the following actions:
- Contact emergency responders for immediate medical assistance: Even if you feel alright, you never know what may have happened internally. It is also helpful to have proof of your injuries when you file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit.
- Call the police: In addition to emergency medical responders, be sure the police are contacted as well. An official police report should be filed and will help defend your case.
- Gather evidence: If possible, take photos of the scene as well as your injuries. Make sure to get images of any damage to the vehicles involved and any other property that was damaged. It is helpful to collect witness statements and contact information as well. All of these pieces of evidence will help build a strong case and ensure you are adequately compensated.
- Do not discuss fault at the scene or post on social media: It’s always best to tell the truth, but you should never admit fault. Additionally, you should never post about the accident on social media as it can negatively affect your case.
- Inform your insurance company: Following the accident, you should report the incident to your insurance company to get the claim process started. If you are contacted by the driver’s insurance or any involved party’s insurance company, do not give them any information and do not accept a quick settlement. Instead, simply tell them you have to speak with your attorney first. Insurers are known for using tactics to trick victims into giving up information that can hurt their claims. They may also try to offer you a quick settlement, but these are almost always much lower than what you are owed.
- Contact a personal injury attorney: A local Indiana attorney will be well-informed of your state’s laws and can help you receive full compensation. They will work and guide you through the process to ensure you are not taken advantage of by the guilty party’s insurance company.
Pursuing Legal Action After a Pedestrian-Related Car Accident
Once you have contacted an attorney, they can walk you through every step of the legal process to ensure everything is done correctly. They are on your side and will fight to prove your case so you can get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries without the burden of expensive medical bills. You can even get benefits to help cover additional damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of wages.
Once you have filed a claim or a lawsuit, three things will need to be proven to win your case:
- That the driver owed you (the pedestrian) a duty of care by obeying traffic laws.
- The driver breached this duty of care.
- The driver’s negligence caused your injury.
In cases where both the driver and the pedestrian are found to have been negligent, some laws will still allow for the pedestrian to receive benefits. For example, in Indiana, the modified comparative fault laws mean the plaintiff’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage of their fault in the accident. However, if the pedestrian is more than 50% at fault, they will not receive any compensation.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one were struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian, you have a right to seek compensation for any injuries sustained or damages incurred. Proving fault in pedestrian-related accidents, however, can sometimes be a challenge. While there are specific pedestrian and traffic laws in place, it is not always immediately evident who disobeyed the law and acted negligently. An experienced attorney can help you file your claim and gather any necessary evidence to prove your case.
At Crossen Law Firm, our team has over 20 years of experience fighting for pedestrians involved in car accidents. We are dedicated to working tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation. (317) 401-8626