More people are walking every day, both as a form of exercise and a healthier way to commute. Along with the increased societal benefits of walking, however, more walking also means more accidents involving pedestrians. All accidents are dangerous, but pedestrian accidents are often catastrophic and/or fatal. Drivers are protected by their cars, but pedestrians are far more vulnerable to severe injuries and death.
Motor vehicle drivers who are not paying attention often results in an accident with a pedestrian. Additionally, aggressive drivers who run red lights or ignore roadway signs can also contribute to these types of accidents. Nighttime accidents are particularly common since pedestrians are far less visible to drivers than other vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you should speak with an experienced Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can review your case and discuss your legal options.
Factors Contributing to Driver Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents
Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to exercise reasonable care, and a failure to do so constitutes negligence. However, when a negligent driver hits a pedestrian, it’s usually the pedestrian who suffers the most severe injuries; the driver may not even be injured. Common factors contributing to negligent driving include:
• Distracted driving
• Impaired driving
• Failure to yield
• Failure to obey traffic control signals and devices
Pedestrian Laws in Indiana
Pedestrians also have a responsibility to obey the law. Everyone should understand the followingIndiana pedestrian laws
• If a vehicle stops to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk, then another vehicle cannot pass the stopped vehicle
• Pedestrians must obey all traffic control devices unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer.
• If a pedestrian is crossing at a location other than a marked crosswalk, he or she must yield to traffic.
• Drivers must always yield to blind pedestrians who are using a walking cane or a seeing-eye guide dog.
• If there is no sidewalk available, pedestrians may walk on the shoulder of the road. They must stay as far as possible from the edge of the road and yield to all vehicles.
• If a pedestrian is using or approaching a crosswalk that is on the same half of a road as a vehicle, the driver must yield.
• When approaching any yield sign, drivers must also yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians that are simultaneously crossing the road.
• Pedestrians are not permitted to leave a curb or enter into a crosswalk if it entails entering into the path of a moving vehicle that is dangerously close to them.
• Pedestrians are only permitted to cross an intersection diagonally if authorized by a traffic control device to do so.
Other Contributing Factors in Pedestrian Accidents
Some of the other leading factors that contribute to pedestrian accidents include the following:
• Whether the accident occurred at a designated pedestrian crosswalk or not
• Exactly where the pedestrian crossed and for what reason
• The time of day or night that the accident occurred
• Weather conditions that may have affected visibility
• The type and color of clothing that the pedestrian was wearing at the time of the accident
• Whether or not the pedestrian was distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
When a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more likely to suffer serious or catastrophic injuries than the vehicle driver. First, the vehicle hits the pedestrian; next, the force of the collision propels the victim into the pavement or a solid object. Some of the most common pedestrian accident injuries include:
• Torn and sprained ligaments
• Scalp cuts and bruises
• Cuts and bruising on the face and hands
• Internal injuries
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
• Spinal cord injury (SCI)
What You Can Do to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
Avoiding pedestrian accidents requires proactive actions by both drivers and pedestrians.
Tips for Drivers
• Don’t drive while distracted. Even changing the radio station or checking your GPS can take your attention away from the road.
• Check your mirrors and continue to check them when backing up or in crowded areas.
• When you get in your car, adjust your seat and mirrors, and make sure that your windshield is clean.
• Don’t speed in bad weather conditions. Rain, snow, fog, or other poor weather can impair your visibility and ability to stop in time to avoid an accident.
• Use your turn signals. Not only are you signaling your intentions to other cars by using your turn signals, but also to pedestrians.
Tips for Pedestrians
• Cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey all traffic signs and signals.
• Walk on the sidewalk, if possible.
• Watch for cars in all directions, and never assume a driver sees you.
• Pay attention, do not walk when impaired by alcohol or drugs, and do not use distracting devices while walking.
• Wear visible clothing, and use reflective materials and flashlights as needed.
• Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure that they notice your presence.
• Check for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
Why You Need an Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Indiana law involves strict time limits called statutes of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits, so it is in your best interest to contact an attorney right away following a pedestrian accident. An injured individual and his or her legal team must prove that the defendant is liable for the accident and the related injuries. Your attorney may wish to use the services of investigators and experts to support your claim. In Indiana, a plaintiff in any personal injury case must prove that he or she was no more than fifty percent at fault for an accident if he or she wishes to recover compensation. If the injured individual was partially liable for an accident, but only fifty percent or less, then a court will reduce his or her compensation based on the percentage of fault.
If a pedestrian accident is fatal, the decedent’s family should pursue a wrongful death claim, as outlined by Indiana law. Your attorney will advise you on the law regarding these claims.
If you have sustained an injury in a pedestrian accident, you need the best legal representation available. For further information or to schedule your free initial consultation, call the Law Office of Hurst Limontes LLC today at (317) 636-0808, or contact us online.