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​Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

​Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

In most situations, pedestrians have the right of way. In fact, vehicle drivers have a duty to be on the lookout for pedestrians—especially at busy intersections where pedestrians are lawfully present in crosswalks. However, pedestrian accidents do not always occur near traffic intersections. They can happen near sidewalks, parking lots and garages, and other locations where pedestrians tend to be present. This is especially true around busy malls and shopping centers.

In addition, drivers always have an affirmative duty to operate their vehicles carefully and safely under the circumstances. When they violate that standard of care and negligently cause their vehicle to strike a pedestrian, both they and their insurance company may be liable for the resulting damages.

If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries in a pedestrian collision, you have legal rights and options available.

First, you should seek same-day medical treatment for your accident-related injuries at a local hospital emergency room or urgent care facility.

Next, you should contact an experienced Denver pedestrian accident lawyer in your area who can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you and determine if you can file a personal injury claim for monetary damages. If so, your attorney can gather the necessary documents and assist you throughout the claims-filing process.

After filing a claim on your behalf, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and work to pursue the favorable settlement damages you deserve. If the insurance company does not compensate you appropriately for your injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and assist you throughout litigation in court.

Your lawyer will do everything possible to maximize the compensation you recover, ensuring you become whole again—to the greatest extent possible—after your pedestrian accident.

How Do Pedestrian Accidents Usually Occur?

​Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?Although some pedestrian accidents result from defective sidewalks and roadways, they usually happen when people drive their vehicles in a negligent, careless, or reckless way. Drivers have a duty to obey all traffic laws, pay attention to the road, and refrain from driving while intoxicated. When they violate the applicable standard of care, and a pedestrian accident happens, they may be liable for the resulting injuries and damages that the accident victim suffers.

Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include road rule violations, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and failing to use rear view and side view mirrors at the appropriate times.

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Road Rule Violations

Road rule violations that lead to pedestrian accidents typically involve speeding and failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate times. When a driver speeds, especially in parking lots and parking garages where pedestrians are present, the driver may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid striking a pedestrian.

Similarly, when drivers approach traffic intersections, they must be sure to look out for pedestrians who may present in crosswalks. When overzealous drivers attempt to run a red or yellow traffic light, yield sign, or stop sign, they may not see a pedestrian, negligently causing their vehicle to strike the pedestrian and knock them to the ground.

At other times, pedestrian accidents happen when drivers operate their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Passenger vehicle drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent are legally intoxicated. The same holds true for commercial vehicle drivers, including big rig operators, who have a BAC of at least 0.04 percent. Finally, a 0.02 percent BAC cut-off applies to minor drivers who are under 21 years old.

The law prescribes these BAC limits because of the many dangers surrounding drinking and driving. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they typically exhibit physical symptoms, including blurred vision. As a result, they may not even see another vehicle or a pedestrian in the vicinity, negligently causing an accident. Moreover, alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system’s ability to function normally.

Consequently, an intoxicated driver may experience delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid striking a pedestrian. When drunk drivers cause pedestrian accidents, they may incur criminal penalties and civil penalties when injuries result.

Finally, some pedestrian crashes happen when drivers fail to use their side view and rearview mirrors. Drivers should adjust their mirrors as soon as they get behind the wheel, and they must use them when backing out of a parking space—especially in a parking lot or parking garage. When drivers do not use their mirrors at the appropriate times, they may not see a pedestrian walking behind their vehicle, negligently causing an impact.

The force of impact in a pedestrian accident may knock a pedestrian to the ground, causing them to suffer debilitating injuries—and sometimes death. If you or a person you love has suffered injuries in a recent accident, you should talk with a pedestrian accident attorney in your area as soon as possible. Your lawyer can determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit and help you take the appropriate legal steps to recover monetary damages in your case.

Pedestrian Accident Injuries

When pedestrian accident victims fall to the ground, they may suffer debilitating injuries that leave them in severe pain and in need of ongoing medical treatment. The injuries that a pedestrian accident victim suffers typically depend upon the force of impact and how they strike the ground. The body part(s) which hit the ground may also impact the injuries from which they suffer. For example, if the pedestrian falls to the ground on their neck or back, they might sustain a spinal cord injury or paralysis injury that limits their mobility. In addition, if they fall on their head, they may suffer a traumatic head or brain entry, such as a concussion.

At other times, pedestrian accident victims may suffer soft tissue contusions, including muscular sprains and strains. If they scrape the road when they fall, they may also suffer a road rash injury which leaves significant scarring.

No matter your situation, you should seek prompt medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center as soon as possible after your pedestrian accident—and preferably on the same day. You should also seek treatment if you are uncertain about the severity of your injuries. This is because many injuries are asymptomatic until days or weeks after the accident date. This is especially true for pedestrian accident victims who suffer soft-tissue contusions or traumatic head injuries.

Seeking prompt medical treatment ensures that your injuries do not become worse over time. Moreover, if you later file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, it shows the insurance company that your injuries were, in fact, serious—and that you did prioritize your medical treatment after your accident.

When you go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility, the medical provider on duty will examine you and order the necessary imaging studies, including CAT scans, X-rays, and MRIs. Your doctor will then use this information to render an accurate medical diagnosis and make recommendations for follow-up care.

In some instances, the ER doctor may recommend that you follow up with your primary care physician if you have one. Alternatively, you may need to consult with an orthopedic doctor, neurologist, or physical therapist, for ongoing medical treatment after your initial hospital visit. It is essential that you continue your medical treatment until a healthcare provider formally discharges you from care. Releasing yourself from care may also have negative consequences for your personal injury claim or lawsuit.

While you focus your attention on making a full recovery, your pedestrian accident attorney can begin handling the legal aspects of your claim. Specifically, your lawyer can gather up your wage loss documentation, injury photographs, police report, victim impact statement, medical records, and medical bills.

Your lawyer can then assemble these documents into a settlement demand package and send it to the insurance company adjuster once you complete your medical treatment. If the adjuster agrees to accept fault for the pedestrian accident, settlement negotiations may begin, and your lawyer can help you pursue the damages you deserve.

Filing a Timely Pedestrian Accident Claim or Lawsuit

Pedestrian accident victims have a fixed time period in which to file a claim or lawsuit seeking damages. Specifically, these accident victims only have two years from their accident date in which to file their lawsuits in court. If they file suit belatedly, they will not be eligible to recover any monetary compensation later. Therefore, time is of the essence in any pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit.

To safeguard your legal rights, it is essential that you speak to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Suppose the statute of limitations is about to run out in your case. In that case, your lawyer can immediately file suit on your behalf, safeguarding your right to recover monetary damages for your injuries. Your lawyer may then continue negotiating with an insurance company settlement adjuster or litigating your case through the court system for an efficient resolution.

Recovering Monetary Compensation and Damages for Pedestrian Accident Injuries

The damages that pedestrian accident victims may recover depend upon various factors, including the nature and extent of their injuries, the cost of their medical care, whether they suffered permanent or disfiguring injuries, and the scope of their pain and suffering.

Since all pedestrian accident cases are different, not all accident victims will receive the same types and amounts of monetary compensation as others. A knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in your area can review the circumstances of your accident and injuries with you, helping you arrive at a ballpark figure for your potential settlement, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award in your case.

First, accident victims may recover their related medical costs, even if health insurance paid for some or all of their treatment. In addition, if they had to miss work time, they may recover lost wages as part of their damages. In some pedestrian accident cases, the injuries are so severe that the accident victim cannot return to their former job. Consequently, they may need to find a different employer and take a significant pay cut. When that happens, the accident victim can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.

In addition, pedestrian accident victims may recover compensation for their inconvenience, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, mental distress, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of spousal companionship, and loss of life enjoyment. Your lawyer will strongly advocate for you during all settlement negotiations—and during personal injury litigation—helping you pursue and recover the maximum damages you deserve for your injuries.

Call a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Near You Today

Victims of pedestrian accidents go through a lot. Not only do many pedestrian accident victims suffer debilitating injuries, they often incur high medical costs and miss extended time away from work. This puts a heavy financial strain on accident victims, and many are unsure where to turn next.

If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you should immediately speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company to recover the monetary compensation you need.

If the at-fault party’s insurance company does not offer you the damages you deserve, your pedestrian accident lawyer should welcome the opportunity to file a lawsuit on your behalf, litigate your case in court, and pursue a favorable jury verdict or arbitration award that fairly compensates you for your injuries.

Your lawyer will keep you informed at every stage of the claims-filing process—and during litigation—to ensure that you make informed decisions that will get you the total compensation you deserve while you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Lauren Varner, Personal Injury Attorney

Lauren is a Personal Injury Attorney. She is Colorado native who became involved with the field of personal injury long before she became an attorney. Lauren’s professional philosophy centers around good old fashioned hard work, producing quality work product, and treating others professionally, with dignity and respect at all times.

Awards and as featured on

Top 40 Under 40 National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 NTL American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorney