Pedestrian accidents have been rising over the past few years. There are various reasons related to these types of accidents. Most of these causes are a result of negligence from drivers, the state government, and pedestrians. The at-fault party should compensate anyone involved in the pedestrian accident. San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm offers credible legal services to anyone seeking compensation after a pedestrian accident.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
People are jogging and walking to keep healthy and commute to their jobs. At the same time, there are public and private transportation available which might pose risks of accidents to people in the streets. Pedestrian accidents are dangerous and usually cause the respective victims to suffer from catastrophic injuries or even death. There are several factors that cause pedestrian accidents. Here is a detailed view of these factors.
Several distractions can make a driver run over into a pedestrian. Some of these factors are inside the vehicle, such as radio blasting, cooler, heather, and psychological reaction to something happening outside the car. Also, electronics such as smartphones can be a great source of distraction.
When it comes to distractions related to the pedestrians, things such as lights and music might be a significant source of a possible accident. When a pedestrian has his or her headphones on, one cannot hear any vehicle approaching from behind or react appropriately to the possibility of an accident. This is similar to pedestrians who walk while operating their phones.
Finally, emergency vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may be a significant cause of an accident. Such cars are driven dangerously, and a pedestrian without enough caution might be easily hit.
Speeding is not only a traffic violation but can lead to pedestrian accidents. When a driver is speeding, it is not easy to stop the vehicle when a pedestrian accidentally steps into the road. As a result, such a situation will lead to an accident. Also, when a pedestrian sees a speeding vehicle approaching, there is no time to react to the possibility of an accident, which eventually ends up in an accident. Pedestrian accidents that result from such situations are severe and end up in life-threatening injuries.
When discussing intoxication, two factors come into play. The first factor includes the intoxication of a driver. An intoxicated driver cannot make reasonable decisions compared with a sober one. In that case, they might be over speeding but are not aware of such a situation. Also, an intoxicated driver cannot react promptly to a possible situation that might lead to a pedestrian accident. In that case, there are chances of incurring an accident.
In the second situation, a drunk pedestrian can be the reason behind an accident. Such a person cannot make a reasonable decision and would quickly step into the road unknowingly. As a result, a speeding vehicle or a driver without due caution would easily hit the pedestrian. When the investigators are assessing such a situation, they might consider finding witness testimony, skid marks, evaluate how the crash occurred, and conduct a chemical test on the pedestrian.
Please note, drunk driving is not a substitute for walking drunk. A driver has a duty of care to everyone else on the road. Therefore, when both the driver and pedestrian are intoxicated, there are high chances of having the driver liable for the damages sustained from the accident.
Failing to Yield or Stop
One of the typical traffic rules is the right to way. It establishes who has to go first when there are two drivers in an intersection, when a driver and a pedestrian meet, and a driver and a bicyclist meet at the same place. The right of way determines who has the right of way. Generally, when a vehicle is approaching a crosswalk, the driver has to allow the pedestrian to walk across. However, some drivers fail to stop in such places, leading to pedestrian accidents. Some of the factors that can lead to failure to stop include distracted driving, malfunctioning traffic lights, ignorance, speeding, and poor weather conditions.
Adverse Weather Conditions
Harsh weather conditions can be a dangerous condition for both pedestrians and drivers. Slippery roads and reduced visibility are some of the things that make drivers lose control of their vehicles. For instance, in winter, such weather makes it uncomfortable for people to walk normally and would walk in haste and speed. As a result, they end up finding shortcuts or passing along highways where there are high risks of incurring accidents.
Also, heavy rainfalls can alter the walking routines of pedestrians when they try to avoid standing water and puddles. On the other hand, drivers can cause a pedestrian accident by losing control of their vehicles. Therefore, they would end up failing to stop as anticipated when approaching a crosswalk or lose control of their car, ending up hitting pedestrians on the sidewalk. Also, if there is reduced visibility, it is hard for a driver to notice an unanticipated pedestrian and could easily hit him or her.
Similar to failure to yield, a driver intending to move to the left at an intersection should give the right of way. However, ignorant drivers do not consider this rule and usually make a left turn when required not to. Since the pedestrian is unaware of the incoming vehicle, there are chances of being hit by the car.
Hitting a pedestrian due to failure of stopping or yielding at an intersection puts the driver liable for the damages incurred by the pedestrian. The pedestrian is legally entitled to use the crosswalk when the traffic signals show that and a situation where an ignorant driver hits one will make the driver liable.
When a vehicle is backing, it might hit someone standing at the back. In most cases, the driver does not check whether someone is standing or walking behind the vehicle and suddenly accelerates when the car is in reverse.
Also, on rare occasions, drivers are usually left out of gear when the driver assumes that he or she will not take much time handling his or her business. As a result, the car usually rolls backward, which might hit an innocent pedestrian passing behind the vehicle. Such situations are exceedingly rare but would cause fatal injuries to the affected pedestrians. Backing up an accident would trap the victim under the car, drag him or her several feet, struck by the vehicle’s tire if it is a large truck, and crushed against an obstruction.
The kind of damages that results from a backing-up accident include severe laceration, head trauma, amputation, and crushing injuries.
The automobile industry has shifted tremendously, and a lot of electric vehicles have been manufactured of late. Although these vehicles have been a suitable solution to curb air pollution and other environmental impacts related to traditional internal combustion, there have a lot of reports of their relationship with pedestrian accidents. It is hard for a pedestrian to take note of an electric vehicle and might jump into the street without the knowledge of its presence. Therefore, drivers have less time to react and might end up hitting such pedestrians.
Blind pedestrians are the highest risk of being hit by electric vehicles since they rely on sound to maneuver the environment. Most hybrids and electric cars usually produce less noise when traveling at low speed. This is common in streets where vehicles are expected to drive at a low speed. Quiet vehicles have been instructed to be installed with sound equipment that would alert pedestrians while moving at a low speed.
When the sun sets, it is hard to spot dark clothes. Bright and light-colored clothes are much easier to spot, especially in poorly lighted streets. Therefore, there is a high possibility of a pedestrian wearing dark clothes being hit by a vehicle while walking night. Due to the low visibility and failure to be noticed by the driver, one would not have enough time to react to a situation where a less visible pedestrian walks into the street.
When there are a lot of people and multiple lanes in cities, there is an increased chance of having pedestrian accidents as people walk in commonplaces and bus stops. In that case, as drivers maneuver along busy streets, there are possibilities of being hit by vehicles on the freeways.
Intersections are a critical hotspot for pedestrian accidents. However, signaled crosswalks can dramatically reduce the possibility of pedestrian accidents. Crosswalks that are marked are suitable in parking lots since drivers might quickly get confused when they are focused on parking.
It is the responsibility of the state or local authorities to ensure that parking lots are well marked to ease the maneuverability of drivers as they park their vehicles. Therefore, when a pedestrian incurs an accident due to unmarked crosswalks, the authority or state is partially responsible for the damages.
Improper Lane Use
When a driver is overtaking dangerously in a busy street, he or she might end up hitting unaware pedestrians. Pedestrians involved in such accidents do not anticipate a vehicle to be in the opposite direction and usually end up being hit by the car using the wrong lane. In such a situation, the driver using the wrong lane is entirely responsible for the damages incurred during such an accident.
Sometimes, ignorance from a pedestrian can be the sole reason behind an accident. Ignorant pedestrians usually fail to exercise reasonable care, such as following the right crosswalks, failing to take heed of traffic signals, jaywalking, and walking in prohibited areas. Also, pedestrians who are used to texting and listening to music as they walk can easily be knocked down by a vehicle. An ignorant pedestrian is rarely held liable for an accident, but when every factor narrows down to their cause, one does not end up eligible for the accident.
Every day you will notice constructions taking place within any city. Such zones pose accidents to pedestrians due to distractions from the constructions to both pedestrians and drivers. Pedestrians will try to evade the construction zones and probably move to the direction of incoming vehicles where they end up being hit. Also, pedestrians end up in a collision when cars try to avoid the construction zones and end up hitting unaware pedestrians on the crosswalks. Other factors that might make vehicles run over pedestrians at a construction zone include speeding, intoxication, and poor weather conditions.
In the effort of curbing pedestrian accidents in construction zones, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommend traffic control to set up barriers, signs, or barrels in construction zones. With such safety precautions, pedestrians and drivers can easily avoid pedestrian accidents.
Poor Road Conditions
Although potholes are rare in most California roads, vehicles try to avoid them but end up hitting pedestrians accidentally. Besides that, poorly designed roads make it difficult for drivers to take note of pedestrians, especially in curves and hilly places. The state or the authority responsible for the maintenance of the roads should take responsibility for pedestrian accidents that occur due to poor road conditions.
Too Many Vehicles on the Road
When there are a lot of vehicles on the road, every driver tries to look for ways to avoid the traffic jam. In some cases, you will find drivers try to use the crosswalk to beat the traffic jam and might accidentally hit pedestrians. Hitting a pedestrian on a crosswalk explains gross misconduct from the driver, and that puts him or her responsible for the damages.
It is hard for an inexperienced driver to anticipate a pedestrian or react to an unanticipated pedestrian. Also, they do not make the right signals when approaching places with a lot of pedestrians. Therefore, innocent pedestrians end up being hit by inexperienced drivers. Such drivers usually end up liable for the accident that they cause due to their ignorance.
Rubbernecking can be defined as looking behind at the side or behind while driving forward. This is a bad practice and would easily cause a pedestrian accident. Rubbernecking puts the driver responsible for the accident since it is a bad driving practice that disregards his or her duty of care.
Proving Fault in Pedestrian Accidents
Knowing the liability of an accident is an essential aspect that serves in compensating the victim. In a pedestrian accident, the parties that come into play include the driver, the pedestrian, and possibly the state. Both the pedestrian or the driver can be at fault of the accident, depending on the level of negligence.
In California, drivers have the duty of care and must consider the safety of everyone else using the road apart from them. Therefore, anything that does not indicate that they did not consider their duty of care would be a possible factor that associates them with the liability. Some of the factors that investigators might use to determine whether a driver is at the fault of the accident include witness testimonies, scene assessment, and traffic camera surveillance footage.
Before your attorney decides that the driver was at fault of the accident, he or she must have enough evidence that would help in proving that the other party was at fault.
Pedestrian Fault in Accidents
Since California is a comparative fault state, liability can be split between the driver and the pedestrian. Therefore, investigations might prove that the pedestrian might be a possible reason behind the accident. It is hard to have the pedestrian entirely faulty of the accident since the driver has a duty of care to him or her. Therefore, according to the comparative fault rule, the driver takes liability according to his or her fault percentage.
When determining whether a pedestrian is at-fault in an accident, the investigators must establish that the pedestrian ignored his or her duty of care and contributed to the injuries that he or she sustained. Ideally, some of the factors discovered above will confirm whether the pedestrian is at fault for the accident. Some of these factors include:
- Ignoring the “ walk” signal at an intersection
- Darting in front of a vehicle
- Failing to use the marked crosswalk
The State and Local Authority Liability
Cities, counties, and states are responsible for maintaining the roads within their jurisdiction. For instance, the state is liable for filling potholes, paving roads, de-icing, and snowplowing. Knowing which agency is responsible for the maintenance would help in recovering your damages.
Once you have determined who is responsible for the maintenance, you should make proper preparation to prove that the agency was negligent in causing the accident. Therefore, you must prove that they had a reasonable notice that there was a problem with the road, had the opportunity to fix the problem, but did not take proper steps to maintain the road. You need to have clear documents that the agency was notified about the problem related to the road and ignored their responsibility to repair the road. Also, you must have reasonable proof that shows that the accident resulted from the poor road condition.
Please note, seeking compensation from an agency can be extremely hard. It takes a professional attorney to help in finding settlement from them.
What You Should Do After a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accidents are severe and usually involve injuries or death. Therefore, there is quite a lot of consideration that drivers and other people within the scene should consider to ensure that everything goes as required. Here is a step-by-step procedure that you need to consider after a pedestrian accident.
Contact Emergency Medical Services
The first action that should follow after a pedestrian accident is contacting emergency medical services. Pedestrians who have been hit or slammed by a vehicle experience broken bones, concussions, and internal damages. It is rare to find pedestrian accidents resulting in scrapes, cuts, and bruises, but when they occur, they are still life-threatening. Failing to fix issues such as broken bones might alter the life of a pedestrian if not fixed quickly.
Move Out of the Street
Once you have contacted emergency services, you should try removing your vehicle out of the streets to avoid further collision with other cars. You would expect the local authorities to explain this to you if you contact them after the incident. If the pedestrian is blocking your way, you should wait until the ambulance comes and picks him or her. Emergency care services will provide relevant information and support once they arrive.
Memorize All Details about the Incident
When a driver injures a pedestrian, he or she should take time to ensure that the pedestrian is not suffering from any immediate injuries threat. At the same time, the pedestrian should memorize and write down every detail of the accident. Some of the essential aspects that the pedestrian should take note include the insurance data, personal contacts of the driver, and the license plate number of the vehicle.
Please note, in a hit-and-run incident, the driver should file a claim that states that he or she does not have enough evidence about the accident. This will prompt the responsible authorities to find additional information that exists in traffic cameras footage.
Reach Out to the Authorities
It is essential to reach out to the authorities if the driver did not stop at the scene of the accident. Please note, you should consider this step if you are particular about your health, and there are no injuries that would threaten your safety.
Contacting the police will help in evaluating the incident and find relevant evidence that would support in seeking compensation from the at-fault driver. Once the police officers apprehend the driver, they will check whether there are any signs of intoxication that might be the cause of the accident. Based on the results of the assessment, the police officer will determine whether to arrest the driver after filing the report. The paperwork might be essential evidence in a civil suit against the driver.
Keep Records and Receipts
If you are hospitalized due to the injuries sustained during the accident, you should keep a record of every expense that you incur during your hospitalization. Some of the medical records that you should keep include documents for your therapy, medication, and treatment.
Find a San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm Near Me
Once you decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you must consider hiring a professional personal injury attorney who can help you with your case. A credible legal professional should have both experiences and have the legal resources needed in your lawsuit. San Diego Personal Injury guarantees excellent legal service to its clients involved in pedestrian accidents. If you are living in San Diego, CA, contact us today at 619-478-4059 for a free and comprehensive evaluation.