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Anytime that the driver of a motor vehicle loses control of it and starts sliding on ice, the situation becomes dangerous for others who are on or near the roadway. That scenario includes pedestrians. Sleet, snow and ice along with other winter driving conditions can lead to tragic accidents. When road conditions are slippery, drivers might not be able to stop or steer their vehicles.

A pedestrian is exposed to serious blunt force trauma injuries, even if he or she is hit by a car at a relatively low speed. Pedestrians have no protective barriers around them. When the driver loses control of a vehicle on ice, a pedestrian can easily be hit and dragged under it without ever knowing what was coming. Then there’s what we call black ice. It’s a thin layer of ice that we don’t even see when we’re driving. It’s colorless, and drivers get short or no notice of it at all.

Driving safely for conditions

A driver can be held to be negligent when he or she fails to operate a vehicle in a safe and careful manner and causes injuries. Sure, you can go ahead and drive at the posted speed limit in dry conditions, but doing so during adverse weather conditions dramatically increases the likelihood of an accident. The Revised Code of Washington section 46.61.400 states as follows: “No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed that is greater than reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.” Some common behavior that might cause a driver to slide on ice and hit a pedestrian includes the following:

  • Speeding, even if driving under the speed limit.
  • Not using headlights.
  • Failing to stop at red lights or stop signs.
  • Losing control of a vehicle and failing to keep it on a roadway.

A recent crash

On February 15, 2018, a pedestrian was hit on East Sixth Avenue. The 24yr old man who was hit was knocked unconscious and sent to the hospital with a head trauma. According to the Spokesman, the driver who hit the pedestrian said their car slid and they were unable to stop.

While we’re not completely certain what happened based on news reports alone, it is safe to say that we hope both drivers and pedestrians pay special attention to the road at all times during these last few¬† cold and icy months.

Vehicle Maintenance

Mechanical issues on a vehicle, might contribute to a driver being held liable for injuries suffered by a pedestrian when the driver loses control on an icy roadway. Bald tires and bad brakes can contribute to an accident. If the driver would have properly maintained the vehicle, he or she would have had better traction and control of the vehicle. The accident with the pedestrian might never have happened.

Bad Weather Impairs Vision

Nobody expects to get hit by a car or truck, but with winter weather, we’re all bundled up when walking. That can reduce both a driver’s and a pedestrian’s field of vision. Drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of that.

Uninsured Motorists

As per the Insurance Information Institute, more than 17 percent of all drivers in the State of Washington are uninsured. That’s one of the highest rates in the country. If you were a pedestrian who was hit and injured by an uninsured driver, and you had uninsured motorist coverage at the time of the accident, you can probably make an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. You’ll want to talk with us right away. That’s because your own insurance company is going to turn into the adverse insurance company.

Contact a Spokane Personal Injury Lawyer

Any accident involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian gets complicated quickly. The driver’s insurer will argue that the pedestrian wasn’t paying enough attention to where he or she was going, and the pedestrian’s attorneys will be arguing the controlling statute and the cases interpreting it. Then the issues involving damages arise.

Don’t give up valuable rights by talking with the opposing insurance company. If you were injured as an innocent pedestrian due to another person’s negligent driving during winter weather contact a Spokane personal injury lawyer. We’ll arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. It’s not going to cost you a penny. If we’re retained to represent you, we don’t even get paid any legal fees unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf.

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