Do pedestrian accidents present unique issues of law?

Among the different groups of road users, data maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that pedestrian fatalities and traffic-related injuries are among the few that have not decreased in recent years, subject to some fluctuations. In the studies, the NHTSA defined a pedestrian as any individual who was on foot, sitting or lying down while involved in a motor vehicle traffic accident. 

Is a proactive approach to pedestrian safety possible? The NHTSA would answer in the affirmative, urging pedestrians to apply the same duty of care that they would behind the wheel or when riding a bike. Pedestrians should never assume that a driver has seen them, instead making eye contact with drivers when possible. If crossing, pedestrians should use designated crosswalks. In general, pedestrians should also stick to well-lit sidewalks and paths. Chances are that most people fit the definition of a pedestrian at some point during their week, even if briefly, so these safety tips are very important.

Unfortunately, not every accident can be avoided. If a vehicle has struck a pedestrian, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to know whether a personal injury claim against the negligent driver might be available. An attorney can investigate the liability aspect of the case and prepare a proper request for damages. 

Damages should be of particular concern in a pedestrian accident. For example, although drivers might also suffer a brain injury from motor vehicle accidents, this type of injury seems to be a heightened risk to pedestrians. Such injuries may require long-term care, especially if symptoms of head trauma do not surface right away. Although an insurance company might encourage premature settlement, an attorney can help you decide which course of action will be best for you.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Pedestrians,” copyright 2015, U.S. Department of Transportation

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