When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, serious injuries and deaths can result. Even at just 10 miles per hour, a car can cause severe injuries to a person walking.
In 2017, there were 5,977 pedestrian deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents in the United States. An estimated 137,000 pedestrians were sent to the emergency room for nonfatal injuries caused by traffic accidents the same year. 260 pedestrians were killed in Georgia by motor vehicles in 2018, up from 253 in 2017. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die than the occupants of an auto when a crash occurs between a vehicle and a pedestrian.
Victims of pedestrian accidents have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, however, a settlement may not come immediately and when it is needed most. The Legal Funding Group provides pre-settlement funding for pedestrian accident lawsuits to help plaintiffs pay medical bills and other expenses.
The “duty of care” principle is a big factor in determining fault in accidents involving a pedestrian and a motor vehicle. Each of the parties, the driver and the pedestrian, are obligated to adhere to traffic and safety rules, plus use reasonable care. Often, it may appear obvious who the negligent party was in causing the accident. However, the court will examine several factors to determine negligence. One cautionary truth that every driver should remember is that any individual who operates a motor vehicle negligently could be ordered to pay damages for the harm done to persons and property as the result of such negligence.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Everyone knows that drivers need to intently watch the road when operating a motor vehicle. However, carelessness is far too common, and pedestrians are frequently the ones who pay a devastating cost for the recklessness of drivers. Listed below are some common factors that lead to pedestrian-vehicle accidents:
- The driver was distracted by a cellphone or not paying attention
- The vehicle failed to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- A defective design in crosswalk location, such as not considering traffic flow upstream and downstream
- The driver fails to look both ways when turning at the intersection
- The driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- The driver fails to obey the posted speed limit
While a greater number of accidents involving pedestrians happen in urban areas, country roads can still be the scene of horrific accidents. Given the limited visibility of many winding rural roads and the high speeds that vehicles can reach out in the countryside, the scene is set for a tragic collision.
Pedestrian Risk Factors
Inebriated drivers or pedestrians – Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of the wrecks in which a pedestrian is killed. In 47 percent of these collisions, either the driver or the pedestrian or both had consumed alcohol.
Children and older adults – Twenty percent of the pedestrian deaths in 2017 were individuals age 65 or older. Additionally, this age group accounted for approximately ten percent of all the pedestrian injuries that year. Tragically, of every five children under 15 years old who lost their lives in traffic accidents during the same year, one of them was a pedestrian.
Speed – The faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the likelihood that a pedestrian will be struck, and the injury severity increases with the higher speed.
Urban settings – The majority of pedestrian deaths happen in urban areas at night and away from intersections.
Filing a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit Against a Driver
When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, the driver is likely to be considered at fault, whether or not the pedestrian was in a crosswalk. Most states have traffic laws in place requiring a driver to remain alert and aware of everything going on around the vehicle. If the driver is paying close attention, hazards on the road can potentially be spotted in time to take evasive action. Pedestrians can be classified in the category of hazards in the roadway. Thus, drivers are legally obligated to notice and avoid them.
If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk when a motor vehicle strikes him or her, the driver will almost certainly be deemed liable. There is very little likelihood that this driver can avoid liability in such a situation. However, even if a pedestrian is hit when he or she is not in a crosswalk, it is still likely that the vehicle driver will be deemed liable provided the pedestrian was attentive to the road and wasn’t running into the street.
To be clear, no pedestrian has the legal right to enter the street and force vehicles to stop if the pedestrian is not in a crosswalk. Jaywalking is not legal in most states. Pedestrians are required to use common sense. If a pedestrian chooses to cross the street away from a crosswalk and is paying no attention and using no common sense, it is likely that this pedestrian will not win a lawsuit against a driver whose vehicle strikes the pedestrian.
Bad Crosswalk Design
When a crosswalk is designed and created, it should be done so with consideration of pedestrian safety. There is a duty to safely design and maintain crosswalks. Sometimes, the location of a crosswalk and the road’s design can contribute to an accident involving a pedestrian. If the crosswalk is unsafe and/or hasn’t been properly maintained, the responsible parties may be held accountable. Possible defendants in a situation like this could include governmental agencies and engineering firms.
Pedestrian-Vehicle Lawsuits and Settlements
When a pedestrian suffers injuries as a result of a driver’s negligence, the pedestrian may be able to recover damages. Whether the injury was caused by a motor vehicle or defective property, by filing a legal suit, the victim’s damages may be recouped. The injured party could choose to accept a settlement from the at-fault defendant. One major problem with a lawsuit, however, is that it might be months or even years before the victim receives any payment. To avoid the dilemma of bills piling up during this wait, many plaintiffs are choosing to receive monetary assistance through pre-settlement funding with The Legal Funding Group.
Pedestrian Accident Legal Funding
Rather than let medical bills and household expenses increase with no help in sight during a lawsuit, allow us to help you obtain financial funding against the future settlement amount of your case. The Legal Funding Group can provide a portion of the expected settlement, and you can remain financially solvent while waiting for your lawsuit payout.
Apply online or give us a quick call today for more information. We can help.
- CDC. “Pedestrian Safety”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pedestrian_safety/index.html. Accessed June 12, 2020.
- AP News. “Georgia sees rise in deadly crashes involving pedestrians”, The Associated Press, https://apnews.com/430d8a364dbf4dd191224c5a60f1efd3. Accessed June 12, 2020.