In almost all circumstances, accidents between pedestrians and drivers happen when drivers violate traffic laws or engage in distracted or intoxicated driving.
Can a pedestrian be at fault for a car accident? When a fast and heavy vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian doesn’t have a chance. This is because, unlike car and truck occupants, pedestrians do not have a thick metal shell protecting them when an accident occurs. Moreover, if the impact force knocks a pedestrian to the ground, they may suffer serious and permanent injuries which require ongoing medical treatment, hospitalization, surgical procedures, and physical therapy.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident that a negligent driver caused, you are not alone. In addition to seeking medical treatment right after your accident, you should follow up with a knowledgeable Denver pedestrian accident lawyer in your area.
Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim for a lawsuit. Your lawyer can then take the appropriate legal actions and help you pursue the full amount of damages you deserve for your accident-related injuries. Finally, if the insurance company will not offer you fair compensation in your case, your attorney can file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case to a prompt conclusion.
Common Pedestrian Accident Causes
Pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere pedestrians stand, walk, or run. These accidents are especially common at or near traffic intersections, especially where crosswalks are present. They can also happen on sidewalks, parking lots, and parking garages where pedestrians move about.
These accidents most often occur when drivers behave negligently and violate the standard of care. Drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care to obey all traffic laws and regulations—and pay attention to the road at all times. When drivers act unreasonably under the circumstances and deviate from this standard of care—and an accident occurs—both the at-fault drivers and their insurance companies are responsible.
Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted driving: A distracted driver is one who fails to watch the road attentively. Drivers may become distracted when they fiddle with a GPS device or send a text message on a cellular phone or tablet while driving. Drivers may also become distracted when they turn their heads to discipline a young child sitting in the backseat or when they listen to loud music in their vehicle. Any of these distractions may cause a driver to turn their head or look down. Even if the distraction lasts for just a second or two, that may be enough time for the driver to miss seeing a nearby pedestrian—and causing a serious accident that knocks the pedestrian to the ground.
- Failing to use mirrors and backup cameras: Drivers also have a duty to use both their rearview and side view mirrors, as well as their backup cameras, while in traffic or pulling out of a parking space. When drivers fail to use their mirrors and cameras, they may not see a pedestrian walking behind their vehicle, negligently backing into them and forcing them to the ground.
- Road rule violations: Drivers also have a duty to follow road rules and traffic laws at all times. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining a safe speed limit near traffic intersections—and while driving in parking lots and garages. When drivers speed, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Moreover, drivers have a duty to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at the appropriate times, especially when pedestrians are lawfully present at an intersection crosswalk. Many drivers try to speed through red lights, yield signs, and stop signs. When they are in a hurry, they may fail to notice a pedestrian in the crosswalk, negligently striking them and causing them to suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
- Intoxicated driving: Pedestrian accidents also frequently happen when drivers drink and drive (drunk driving). A passenger vehicle driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is typically under the influence of alcohol. A 0.04 percent BAC limit applies to commercial drivers, including tractor-trailer operators. A 0.02 percent BAC limit applies to minor drivers under 21 years of age.
Alcohol intoxication is especially dangerous because alcohol slows down a driver’s central nervous system functioning and delays their concentration and reaction time. Consequently, an intoxicated driver may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Alcohol intoxication may also cause blurred and distorted vision, preventing a driver from even seeing a pedestrian on a sidewalk or at an intersection crosswalk. When a driver sustains a DUI conviction, they may incur criminal penalties, including fines and jail time. Moreover, they might be subject to civil penalties if they cause a pedestrian accident that leads to injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident due to another driver’s negligence, you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney advocating for you. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident to determine your claim-filing eligibility. If you’re eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can submit the claim documents on your behalf, negotiate a settlement offer, and explain your legal options moving forward.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian and knocks them to the ground, the pedestrian may suffer debilitating injuries that require prompt and ongoing medical treatment. The specific injuries that a pedestrian accident victim suffers usually depend upon the force of the impact—and how hard they hit the ground. Moreover, if the accident victim lands on their head, neck, or back, they may suffer more severe injuries, such as traumatic head and brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and full or partial paralysis.
What to do if you have Suffered Injuries?
If you suffered injuries in a recent pedestrian accident, it is vital that you seek emergency medical treatment right away, either at a local urgent care center or hospital emergency room. Failing to seek prompt medical treatment after a pedestrian accident can have negative consequences for your medical condition and personal injury case.
First, if you don’t treat right away, your untreated symptoms may worsen, and you may need more extensive treatment. Moreover, if you delay treating for your injuries—and you later file a personal injury claim or lawsuit—your lawyer may assume that your injuries were not that serious or that you did not prioritize your medical treatment after your pedestrian accident.
At a local ER, the medical provider on duty can review your symptoms with you, take the necessary medical diagnostics, and determine your overall condition. In addition, if you require follow-up care, the provider can make the necessary recommendations. For example, depending on your injuries, you may need to follow up with your primary care physician, physical therapist, or medical specialists, such as a neurologist or orthopedic doctor.
While you focus your attention on making a full recovery from your injuries, your pedestrian accident attorney can begin handling the legal aspects of your claim or lawsuit.
First, they can gather up your medical treatment records and bills to date, along with photographs of your injuries, the accident scene, and a victim impact statement that you prepare. Moreover, if you had to miss time from work due to your accident-related injuries, your lawyer can obtain lost wage records from your employer. After your treatment is complete, your attorney can submit these documents to the insurance company for review and begin the settlement negotiation process on your behalf.
Potential Damages in a Pedestrian Accident Case
When pedestrian accident victims suffer injuries, they may need to undergo costly medical procedures, including surgeries, and attend regular physical therapy sessions. All of these medical costs can pile up over time.
Fortunately, pedestrian accident victims whose accidents resulted from negligence may recover various damages via settlement or litigation. The total damages that a victim may recover typically depend upon the type of injuries they suffered, the extent of their injuries, the medical treatment they underwent, and the cost of that medical treatment. Moreover, if they had to miss work time to attend medical visits or recuperate from their injuries, they can make a claim for lost earnings.
In addition to recovering their medical expenses and lost earnings, pedestrian accident victims may be eligible to recover various non-economic damages. These damages compensate pedestrian accident victims for their non-tangible losses, including the inconvenience, pain, and suffering they endured from their injuries.
Victims may also recover past pain and suffering damages, compensating them for their symptoms between the accident date and the present. If they suffered a permanent injury, they might also be eligible to recover compensation for their anticipated pain and suffering—from the present time going forward.
In addition, some pedestrian accident victims can recover compensation for their loss of life enjoyment, loss of earning capacity, and loss of the ability to use a particular body part. Finally, victims can recover compensation for loss of spousal companionship and consortium under certain circumstances.
An experienced pedestrian accident attorney in your area can determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover in your personal injury claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will then work to maximize your damages by advocating for you during settlement negotiations—or in the courtroom.
Satisfying the Legal Burden of Proof in Your Claim or Lawsuit
In every pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. The at-fault driver or other responsible parties, on the other hand, do not have to prove anything in the case.
To be eligible for monetary compensation, the accident victim must first show that the pedestrian accident resulted from a negligent driver or someone else’s negligence. In other words, the at-fault individual must ordinarily have done something that a hypothetical “reasonable person” should not have done under the same circumstances. Alternatively, they may have failed to do something that a hypothetical “reasonable person” should have done under the same circumstances.
Finally, the accident victim must demonstrate that they suffered at least one injury in their pedestrian accident—and that their injury directly resulted from the accident. To prove this medical nexus, a medical provider can state in writing, and to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that a particular injury resulted from the pedestrian accident.
At other times, a medical provider can establish that a particular injury is permanent—or that it is unlikely to improve with time. In addition to stating their medical opinions in written form, an expert medical provider can testify at a discovery deposition or on the witness stand at trial.
A knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area can help you prove these legal elements, clearing the way for you to recover full monetary compensation for your injuries.
Call a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, it is best for you to retain a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer to represent you as soon as possible. This is because accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a claim in the court system seeking damages.
If they file their claim or lawsuit belatedly, they will not be eligible to recover any monetary compensation for their injuries at a later date. Therefore, the sooner you retain a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney to represent you, the better off you and your personal injury case will be. People who do not retain a lawyer consistently receive less compensation than those who do.
Often, pedestrian accident attorneys only represent injured accident victims. They do not advocate for large insurance companies, big businesses, and their legal and financial interests. Therefore, your Denver personal injury lawyer will be on your side and will do everything they can to maximize the monetary recovery you receive—via settlement or litigation.
Your lawyer will zealously advocate for you during settlement negotiations with the insurance company and, if necessary, aggressively litigate your case to a conclusion at a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.