If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. We have been representing clients in Washington since 1948.
Just about everybody is a pedestrian at on a daily basis, but we don’t really realize how vulnerable and exposed to injury we are from motor vehicles. Even a low speed impact between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian can result in severe injuries or death. That’s one reason why crosswalks, sidewalks and traffic signals are in place, and traffic laws are enforced.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2013. More than 150,000 were treated in emergency rooms. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that there were 49 pedestrian deaths in Washington that year.
Whether a crosswalk is marked or not, Washington law clearly gives pedestrians the right-of-way at intersections. Motorists are required to stop or slow down when a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection. Some common causes of accidents between motorists and pedestrian accidents are:
- Failing to stop or slow down at a marked crosswalk or intersection
- Not coming to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign
- Failure to yield the right-of-way when turning or preparing to turn
- Distracted driving like using a cell phone or navigational device
- Driving while drunk or otherwise impaired
Common injuries when pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles
Severe injuries often result when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle. The pedestrian can be dragged, thrown onto the hood of an automobile, thrown to the pavement, or even run over. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common injuries are:
- The lower extremities
- The head, face and neck
- The upper extremities
The most severe injuries are to the head and thorax, but about twice as many head injuries are suffered as opposed to thoracic injuries.
Uninsured, underinsured and hit-and-run drivers
If you are struck as a pedestrian by an uninsured, underinsured or even a hit-and-run driver, and you maintain a policy of uninsured motorist coverage, you might be covered and eligible for compensation for your injuries. Even a blood relative who is a member of your household might be covered. Depending on your insurer, this coverage might apply for bicyclists too.
Comparative fault of the pedestrian
There are times when both parties to an accident might be at fault, and Washington recognizes that. A motorist might raise this as a defense and allege that the pedestrian was partially at fault for the accident. If a pedestrian is determined to be 25 percent at fault, his or her award will be reduced by 25 percent.
Washington is a pure comparative negligence state
Washington follows what’s known as pure comparative negligence. Under the law of pure comparative negligence, an injury victim can recover compensation for injuries suffered in an accident even if he or she was more than 51 percent at fault. You can read more about this here.
Pedestrian accident cases involve complex litigation because they almost always involve significant damages and comparative negligence claims. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian anywhere in Washington, or if a family member was killed, contact our offices right away for a free consultation and case evaluation. You might be eligible for compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I was Hit Outside the Crosswalk?
Washington law gives pedestrians the right-of-way in a crosswalk if the signal is in favor of the pedestrian. However, the law also requires motorists to give due care to pedestrians even if they don’t have the right-of-way. Thus a motorist is supposed to try to avoid hitting a pedestrian even if the car has the right of way.
Can a Pedestrian Be Negligent?
A pedestrian can be negligent by stepping into the path of a car that has the right-of-way or walking in a crosswalk against the signal, among other ways. If a jury determines that a pedestrian is 100 percent negligent in an accident, then the motorist is not responsible for his or her injuries.
What Damages can a Pedestrian Seek in an Auto Accident?
A pedestrian is entitled to all the damages allowed under the law the same as if he or she was an occupant of a car. The law allows an injured person to collect economic (medical bills, lost time from work0 and non-economic damage (pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship).