Car accidents involving pedestrians can be devastating. Those crossing the road are much more vulnerable than people traveling within vehicles. As a result, the injuries associated with pedestrian accidents can be catastrophic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association estimates that 5,000 pedestrians are killed in car crashes every year, while over 75,000 are injured.
Colorado has faced a recent rash of pedestrian accidents. In October of 2012 alone, four accidents were responsible for serious injuries and deaths in the state.
The first accident involved a mother and her 14 month-old daughter crossing a local Colorado road with a friend when they were struck by a Toyota Sequoia. The vehicle hit both women and sent the child, who was secured within a stroller, tumbling across the road. Both women died and the child suffered serious injuries. Just days later, a 19 year-old Colorado boy was killed after he was struck by a car when crossing the road.
Liability in pedestrian accidents
Those involved in car crashes while walking across the street can face serious injuries and even death. Whatever the cause of the accident, a pedestrian may be able to receive compensation to cover the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation as well as pain and suffering. In many cases, a victim must establish that the driver’s negligence led to the accident to receive compensation.
A driver’s liability is often established through the legal theory of negligence. Negligence refers to the driver’s failure to operate the vehicle in a reasonable manner. Common factors that can contribute to a driver’s negligence include:
- Failing to follow posted speed limits
- Failing to yield right of way to pedestrians in designated crosswalks
- Driving with a disregard for weather conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while distracted by the use of a smartphone or other electronic device
Establishing a driver’s negligence can be difficult. If involved in a pedestrian accident, the following steps can help to establish the driver’s responsibility for the accident.
Steps to take if injured in a pedestrian accident
If possible, it is important for the victim of a pedestrian accident to contact the police immediately and wait at the scene of the accident until help arrives. If any witnesses are present, gather their contact information. Also, avoid making statements to the driver or any insurance agents.
Shortly after the accident, write down as much about the crash as possible. Include details about injuries and any other losses. This can include lost wages due to an inability to work because of the injuries caused by the accident.
It is not uncommon for a driver to blame a pedestrian for the accident. As a result, it is often wise to seek the counsel of an experienced pedestrian accidents attorney to better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.