I Was Hit While Crossing the Street: What Are My Rights?
Thousands of pedestrians are killed in motor vehicle related accidents annually, and tens of thousands of pedestrians are injured each year when hit by a truck or car. Most often, these accidents occur when pedestrians are crossing the street, including highways.
You May be Able to Recover Damages if you were Injured
If you were injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, then you may be able to recover damages for your injuries—especially if it was determined that the person who hit you was found negligent.
Damages that you may be able to recover include a monetary award, lost wages, and medical expenses—just to name a few.
What Does Negligence Mean Exactly?
A third party—which can be another person, company or organization—can be “negligent” if they fail to do (or not do) something that should protect others from foreseeable risks. Negligence is measured as something that a reasonable person in a similar situation would or would not do.
To establish negligence in a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident, the injured person must prove all of the following:
- The defendant had a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances at hand
- The defendant breached that duty by his or her actions or inactions (i.e., caused the accident)
- The defendant’s actions or inactions resulted in you suffering injuries
If you were injured as a pedestrian, then you may be able to bring an action against more than one party. Depending on the exact facts of your case, possible liable parties include:
- The driver of the vehicle that struck you
- The driver’s employer if he or she injured you while performing his or her job duties
- Another pedestrian who caused you to suffer injuries
Drivers AND pedestrians must follow the established rules of the road. If you bring a personal injury lawsuit, the court will look at each party to see if negligence was present.
Driver’s Duty of Care
A driver may be negligent if he or she does not follow the rules of the road and does not exercise reasonable care while driving. Some common factors contributing to a driver’s negligence are as follows:
- Failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Failure to drive reasonably given the weather and/or traffic conditions
- Driving while distracted
- In today’s world, this particularly includes driving while talking or texting on a cell phone
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to drive reasonably while passing schools, playgrounds, etc.
There are many other factors that contribute to a driver’s negligence. Depending on circumstances, you may be able to bring a statutory claim against a defendant in addition to negligence.
Pedestrians Must Also Follow the Rules
A pedestrian also must exercise reasonable care to ensure his or her own safety. If you do not exercise the required reasonable care to protect yourself, then you may be partially responsible for causing your own injuries.
You have been negligent if:
- You ignored the crossing signal at the intersection (i.e., you crossed when the signal flashed “do not walk”)
- You failed to use a marked crosswalk
- You ran out in front of a moving vehicle
- You disrupted the flow of traffic
What are the Next Steps?
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, then you should contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are time limits involved, and things you should or should not say to law enforcement, insurance companies, etc.
People who may be legally responsible for your injuries might try to blame you for the accident. The process can be daunting, but with the right legal team on your side, you will be able to confidently face any challenges.