California gives broad protection to pedestrians, especially when accidents occur on crosswalks. If you have been injured in a crosswalk, by a car running a red light, or by another form of driver negligence, contact the pedestrian injury lawyers at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates. We also represent victims of car and bicycle accidents.
Being hit by a vehicle is a scary occurrence, but not uncommon.
- Per the Department of Transportation, in 2012, 4,743 pedestrians were killed and approximately 76,000 were injured in so-called traffic crashes
- According to statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 60,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in 2006. Hitting a pedestrian at a speed of over 30 miles per hour results in more serious injuries and fatalities — yet a driver can still severely disable a pedestrian in a crash by traveling only 10 miles per hour.
- Unfortunately, similar to the uptick in motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents witnessed a 6% increase compared to the previous year. Moreover, per the Department of Transportation, the incidence rate of pedestrian fatalities has increased by 3% since 2012, indicating a tragic trend in public safety and for those involved in such traffic accidents, it often signals the beginning of unfortunate and traumatic new stages for injured parties and their families.
When a driver hits a pedestrian, often the biggest question is: Whose fault was it?
Generally, fault is determined by the law of negligence. A person who fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care under the circumstances may be considered “negligent.”
However, both the driver and the pedestrian can be negligent. For example, the pedestrian may be crossing the street illegally while the driver is traveling in excess of the posted speed limit. This scenario is treated differently in different states.
Some states, such as Maryland and Virginia, follow what’s called a “pure contributory negligence” rule. This means that if the pedestrian contributed in the slightest bit to the accident, then he and his auto insurance company cannot recover damages from the driver and his auto insurance company.
Other states follow a “comparative fault” rule. This means that a pedestrian can recover some damages even if he was partly at fault.
Pedestrian Injuries Realities
Whereas many people are well aware of injuries sustained by car drivers and even motorcyclists and bicyclists, less attention, via government agencies or the media, is typically given to pedestrian injuries. Compared to injuries sustained by individuals riding around in or on or operating a car, motorcycle, or bicycle, pedestrian injuries can be much more traumatic in a couple of distinct ways.
Generally, pedestrians can face more traumatic injuries than their non-pedestrian counterparts, because individuals walking along sidewalks or going across the street only have their bodies to shield them from the impact of a car, motorcycle, bus, train, or even a little bicycle!
How We Can Help
The state of California uses a comparative negligence system in which a Court will take into account all acts they may have contributed in a comparative sense. As such, if a pedestrian stepped off the sidewalk before looking and was hit by a dangerously speeding car, the pedestrian as well as the speeding driver could likely be held responsible for the collision and sustained injuries. However, since the driver was likely more at fault because he failed to obey the rules and regulations of the road pertaining to speed being reasonable and prudent, for instance, his actions would be viewed more contemptuously, especially if it resulted in serious pedestrian (plaintiff) injuries.
It is important to understand information like this going into a lawsuit, and this is something that Timothy J. Ryan and Associates can counsel you regarding. Timothy J. Ryan and Associates will rigorously advocate for you in a court of law to ensure that you get the legal support you deserve so that you can get the financial compensation that you require to move beyond and help pay for medical and other daily living/post accident expenses.
Is walking more dangerous than other modes of travel?
Pedestrians are over-represented in the crash data, accounting for more than 13 percent of fatalities but only 10.9 percent of trips. However, there is no reliable source of exposure data to really answer this question—transportation professionals don’t have an accurate sense of how many miles people walk each year, or how many minutes or hours people spend walking or crossing the street (and thus how long they are exposed to motor vehicle traffic, for example).
As with every mode of travel, there is clearly some risk associated with walking. However, walking remains a healthy inherently safe activity for tens of millions of people every year. The public health community is now recognizing that lack of physical activity, and a decline in cycling and walking in particular, is a major contributor to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by heart attacks and strokes—this number dwarfs the 32,885 total deaths due to motor vehicle crashes and the relatively small 4,280 pedestrian deaths in 2010. In fact, the number of deaths in 2000 caused by poor diet and physical inactivity increased by approximately 65,000, accounting for about 15.2 percent of the total number of deaths.