US Pedestrian Accidents

Regardless of the law, pedestrians need to be very careful when crossing the street or walking alongside vehicles parked along the road.  The pedestrian must make every attempt to cross the street at a cross walk because pedestrians get noticed at cross walks and tend to get ignored when they attempt to cross the street in the middle of the road.  Pedestrians must also follow traffic signals, meaning that they should cross the street on a green light and wait at a red light.  Pedestrians must also keep in mind that drivers occasionally break the law themselves and run stop lights, fail to yield to pedestrians when turning the vehicle or going faster than the acceptable speed.  It takes a conscientious pedestrian to look out for any motor vehicles that are not following the rules of the law.

Night time walking is particularly dangerous.  Because of the darkness, the pedestrian needs to take extra measures such as wearing brightly colored clothing, clothing with reflective gear on it or even blinking lights attached to the clothing so that motor vehicles are able to see the pedestrian easier.  It can avoid motor vehicle accidents by making the pedestrian clearer to visualize.  Even so, it is not a good idea to walk in the middle of the road, cross against the red light or walk too far away from the edge of the road.  Pedestrians that are wearing reflective clothing have the ability to be seen around 150 meters away, whereas a pedestrian not wearing clothing that is reflective is only visible at around 30 meters away.

Motor vehicle drivers need particularly to pay attention to the elderly people. The elderly can be confused and can have poor hearing and eyesight.  They don’t see motor vehicles coming in their direction and they move much more slowly across the street than younger people.  The elderly person is more likely to sustain serious or fatal injuries due to delicate spines, easily fractured skulls and more limb injuries.  Being elderly does not mean a person is at fault because of the pedestrian accident but it can be made out that the driver is less at fault in causing the injuries.

US Pedestrian Accidents

One must think of inclement weather when dealing with pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents.  If there is a lot of snow, there is less room on the roadway and visibility is less than in clear, snow-free weather.  Rainy weather can make it difficult for both the pedestrian and the motor vehicle to see the surrounding area.  It is easy for such a thing to cause a motor vehicle/pedestrian accident, especially if there is pouring down rain.  Rain and snow conditions do not mean that the motor vehicle is not at fault in the accident but it can be a mitigating factor when it comes to calling fault.  This can also be true if the motor vehicle slips and slides on the road, causing a pedestrian accident.  In such cases, the accident is considered truly accidental and no claim is made.

Then the same parties make a decision as to how much money the pedestrian should get.  It can be as little as a few thousand dollars or as much as several million dollars.  Millions of dollars are usually awarded if there has been severe disabilities that are expected to be permanent.  This is especially true of head injuries and cervical injuries resulting in paralysis.

When the money is awarded, the attorney for the Plaintiff takes out a third or a fourth of the total sum and keeps that for himself.  Generally, if the lawsuit does not go to trial and is settled out of trial, the attorney gets a fourth of the money.  If the lawyer has to go to court, he or she receives a third of the total sum.  The Plaintiff can take the money all at once or can have the money doled out in monthly installments.  This is up to the lawyer and the pedestrian to make that decision.  Pedestrians that have had severe brain trauma may not be able to handle their funds and should get their money in divided doses, sometimes with the help of a person who helps them handle their funds.

If the Plaintiff loses his or her case, the attorney gets nothing in the claim and receives no money even after all they have done.  This entices the plaintiff’s attorney to work as hard as possible to get money from a claim for their client.  They get all the pictures necessary, make accurate drawings of the accident scene and get statements from all witnesses before going to court.  Every attempt is made to show the judge and jury just how severe the pedestrian’s injuries were and make every attempt to establish that the motor vehicle was at fault at the time of the injury.  This is very important because, if causation can’t be established, there is no case and the plaintiff receives no money for their injuries.  In some cases, there is partial causation on both sides and the claim made is reduced to reflect the fact that the pedestrian was somewhat at fault in the accident.  There are calculations made to determine how much money the defendant should pay, given the fact that he or she was not completely at fault.  Even so, some money is awarded to the Plaintiff, even though it is not the entire sum the plaintiff would be looking for.  Agreements are made as to who gets what during the process of the lawsuit.

A good pedestrian cares for himself and remains aware of the surrounding area.  Even pedestrians must follow traffic laws in order to reduce the chances of being hit by a vehicle.  Remember, too, that not every motor vehicle follows the letter of the law so if you suspect a vehicle is about to run a red light, for example, stay out of the way.

You should assume that a motor vehicle at night cannot see you, even if you are wearing reflective clothing.  Steer clear of vehicles and stay off the pavement.  Reflective clothing does help, however.  If you are wearing reflective clothing, you can be seen by a motor vehicle at 150 meters away.  If you are not wearing a reflective outfit, cars can only see you at 30 meters away.

An unfortunate set of conditions includes motor vehicles being in the same areas as elderly people.  Elderly people have poor vision and walk slower than others.  They can easily still be walking in the road by the time the pedestrian sign has gone to “don’t walk”.  The elderly person does not have the ability to judge distances or rates of approach so don’t have the ability to determine how fast they should be travelling.

Intersections are common places for motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents.  As a pedestrian, you must stay on the sidewalk so long as the pedestrian light flashes “no walk”.  When the light changes to “walk”, you may proceed within the boundaries of the crosswalk.  Be especially aware of the fact that there will be motor vehicles trying to make right and left-hand turns who may be more interested in making their turn than they are in looking for pedestrians legally crossing at the crosswalk.  If the pedestrian light shows “don’t walk”, don’t walk against it.  Vehicles traveling at a rate of 30-35 miles per hour can crash into you quite readily.

Highway pedestrian accidents are the most severe as the vehicles on the highway are traveling at 55 mph or more when they hit you.  Most of these types of accidents occur because a driver has a disabled vehicle and is looking under the hood or has a flat tire and is trying to change the tire.  Police officers are at risk because they often stand at the side of vehicles talking to other drivers.  In order to avoid being a highway pedestrian accident victim, you need to stay off the pavement completely, although that may not always help you.  If you must change a tire, pull the vehicle far off the side of the highway.  If you can’t pull a disabled vehicle off the road, raise the hood and put on the emergency flashers.  Stay in the care and use a cell phone to get help.

Blind pedestrians pose a special hazard in that they are using their ears and, hopefully, a cane, to guide them through the pedestrian crosswalk. They often stray from the crosswalk and are at a particularly high risk for being a motor vehicle-pedestrian victim.

Many cases of pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents result in serious injury with amnesia of the event on the part of the victim or a fatality.  The personal injury attorney may in fact be doing a wrongful death case and be working for the victim’s family.  In these kinds of cases, the police or highway patrol may perform an accident reconstruction.  They use measurements, eye witness accounts and debris to determine how the accident happened.  Eye witness accounts are particularly helpful, when they are available.  Eventually it is determined exactly how the accident happened, who broke the law, where the pedestrian was struck and other details of the incident.  This helps to determine who was negligent in the accident and to what degree.  Sometimes blood alcohol levels are checked on the driver and the on the pedestrian to determine whether or not alcohol played a role in the accident.

If the driver was found to have more than the legal limit of alcohol, he or she will also be charged with a DUI and will likely receive aggravated charges with regard to the accident.  If the driver of a hit and run is found, he or she is charged with “hit and run” from a motor vehicle accident and will probably also have aggravated charges.   If the pedestrian is found to have alcohol in the blood, this could add to their negligence.

For the victim of a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident, there are three phases of recovery that begin from the time of the accident.  The first stage of recovery is called the “acute” phase, in which bones are set, surgeries are performed, head injuries healed and spinal injuries dealt with.  The second phase of recovery is called the “rehabilitation” phase.  By now, the major wounds have healed and doctors attempt to get the victim learning how to walk again, if possible, eat again by themselves, use the toilet by themselves and practice fine motor skills, like writing and drawing.  This stage can last for a few days up to a year or more.

The third stage is recovery, which can mean disability.  Few pedestrian victims survive their injuries without some degree of disability after the accident.  The disability can be as slight as a limp or as severe as post traumatic head injury or quadriplegia.  This is the time the patient learns to live as a disabled person.  They may need a special van or other vehicle.  They may need a hospital bed or even a wheelchair in order to get around in the world.  In the third phase, these things are set up in the victim’s home and are usually paid for by a successful legal claim against the defendant/motor vehicle operator.

The key to successfully winning a legal claim in a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident is to hire an excellent personal injury attorney who is skilled in accidents and in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents, in particular.  This is the person you will trust not to lose any important data, to pour over the medical records and read carefully the accident reports, talking with any eye witnesses if they are available.  Your lawyer will keep track of the costs of medical care, costs from lost income and costs related to disability.  Even costs related to a lack of enjoyment in life after the injury are determined and are added together to decide the amount of the claim.  Ideally, your attorney will get a ruling that says the driver of the motor vehicle was 100 percent negligent at the time of the accident.  Usually, this will be found to be the case but sometimes the pedestrian shares a portion of the negligence.

Your attorney will take the claim requested to the defendant’s attorney in the hope of getting a reasonable settlement without having to go to court.  If a settlement cannot be reached by the two parties, a trial date is set.  The attorneys gather all the eye witnesses and accident data together and rely on a judge and a jury to make the determination of negligence and to set the amount of the claim.  Your attorney gets a portion of the claim won as his or her fee in the case. For More Information Visit: Accident Solicitors