Pedestrian accidents are horrible events that happen more often than you would think. In fact, there were about 5,977 fatalities in the United States due to pedestrian accidents in 2017 alone. Because pedestrians lack protection between their bodies and the vehicle that might crash into them, they are exposed to fatal injuries or even death. They can acquire injuries like severe head injuries, fractured or broken bones, grave leg injuries, and more.
Disastrous crashes commonly happen due to the carelessness of the driver. However, cases where the pedestrian is at fault have occurred as well. The most common causes are drunk, distracted, reckless driving, driving through stop signs, driving through risky weather, backing-up incidents, and pedestrian negligence. Furthermore, the United States Department of Transportation’s data in 2012 shows that 70% of casualties where pedestrians are on foot are caused by motor vehicle traffic crashes at night.
When are you at fault?
As stated before, when a car crashes into a pedestrian, the fault is not automatically pointed to the driver. There may be instances where pedestrians jaywalk, walk under the influence of drugs or alcohol, ignore traffic signals, use mobile phones while walking, and more. These are actually the most common cases of pedestrians being at fault in a car accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety discovered that about 50% of pedestrians were to blame for these kinds of accidents in 2002.
Additionally, the driver of the vehicle can be identified as negligent. Firstly, the driver can end up with a DUI arrest if he/she is proven to have been under the influence of illegal substances or alcohol. Secondly, the driver will automatically be at fault if they try to flee or escape the scene of the crime. Cases of hit and runs will most likely end up in harsh criminal charges and prison sentences for the driver. Now suppose a driver’s reckless driving resulted in a pedestrian’s death.
In that case, the driver might end up with serious criminal charges that can only be avoided depending on particular circumstances. There are many instances in which the driver can be labeled as the one at fault. The pedestrian in a civil case, otherwise known as a plaintiff or claimant, has the responsibility for proving the negligence of the vehicle’s driver. Therefore, it is best to contact a professional and experienced car accident attorney to sort out the whole situation.
There may also be some cases wherein the driver and pedestrian are both at fault. For example, suppose that there may be incidents wherein a driver may be driving rashly while a pedestrian may be using their phone while crossing the road. If that’s the case, then both parties will be at fault. With the help of legal authorities, the settlement amount and the charges or fines will be settled accordingly.
What are the urgent steps you need to take?
Getting involved in a car accident is a horrifying experience that every car driver tries to avoid. The potential consequences of a serious car crash will be too dreadful to deal with. Most car drivers are too overwhelmed to think. It is best to keep calm and focus on the actions you need to take. Here are the most important things to do immediately after hitting a pedestrian with your vehicle.
The first crucial thing to do is to assess the state of the pedestrian that was just hit. In this situation, the pedestrian is the most vulnerable to the fatal outcomes of a pedestrian accident. Identify the condition of the pedestrian so that you can call for medical help right away. While waiting for the medical professionals to arrive, stay with the victim, and make sure they are responsive or safe from further harm. Moreover, do not attempt to move the victim to avoid adding more injuries.
In most states, calling the police at once after hitting a pedestrian on the street is a legal requirement in these situations. Make sure to stay in the area of the accident until the police arrive to avoid adding serious charges to your name. It is best to cooperate with the authorities, as this is a serious incident with legal implications.
Recording and documenting the incident will also be vital for insurance claims in the future. Remember to identify the pedestrian’s contact information, if possible, and the witnesses of the accident. Other than that, the situation’s details will be necessary, like the location, road or weather conditions, time, and date. Lastly, you should collect the names and badge numbers of the officers who responded.
The last step you need to take is to call your insurance company and contact a lawyer for professional legal assistance. Calling the insurance company is essential since almost all car insurance companies can cater to these accidents.
To conclude, pedestrian accidents happen each day. Drivers and pedestrians must be responsible and conscious of their surroundings at any time of the day. By following the necessary safety precautions and rules, you can surely avoid these types of accidents.