According to statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) nearly 5,000 pedestrians die in motor vehicle related accidents annually all over the USA. Pedestrian accidents generally occur when pedestrians attempt to cross highways. However, In addition to pedestrian-vehicle accidents, a number of non-vehicular pedestrian accidents also do occur. The general causes of such accidents are sidewalk or parking lot defects, poor maintenance and debris on walkways. If a pedestrian is injured either by a vehicle or property defect, they may recover damages for the injuries suffered if someone else’s negligence caused the accident. Establishing negligence in a pedestrian accident is proven by showing that the person at fault:
- Owed a legal duty to the injured party under the circumstances
- Failed to fulfill legal duty through action or inaction
- Caused the accident or injury
- The plaintiff was injured or harmed as a result
More than one party may be held liable in a pedestrian accident and depending on the circumstances, liable parties may include:
- The driver of a vehicle striking a pedestrian
- The person or entity responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, road, or parking lot
- The pedestrian themselves
Certain pedestrian accidents fall into the realm of premises liability where the plaintiff has incurred losses based on the actions of property owners. Generally, people controlling land have a duty to maintain their property as well as warn other people of any potential hazards. In order to recover damages suffered in a premise liability related pedestrian accident the injured party must prove a dangerous condition existed on the property and the owner had knowledge of it. Knowledge of dangerous condition is established by showing:
- The owner created the condition
- The owner knew the condition existed and failed to correct it
- Hazardous condition existed for such a length of time that it should’ve been corrected.
The likelihood of sustaining severe or potentially fatal personal injury is much higher in motor vehicle crashes that involve a pedestrian. It is therefore imperative that both drivers and pedestrians do everything they can in order to avoid or prevent a potential pedestrian accident. Both drivers and pedestrians should be aware of their particular responsibilities. Special consideration should be given to pedestrians such as children and elderly when they are crossing the street. Below are some tips both for drivers and pedestrians that may be helpful in the reduction or prevention of pedestrian accidents
Tips for Drivers
- Always be sober when operating a motor vehicle.
- Avoid looking at or using your phone while driving
- Always check your rearview and side view mirrors when backing out of driveways and parking lots.
- Always keep your windshield clear of dust and debris
- Always maintain a safe speed when operating a motor vehicle
- Always signal when making turns or switching lanes or stopping at stop signs.
Tips for Pedestrians
- Avoid looking at your phone when crossing a street
- Always look both ways before crossing a street or intersection
- Always make sure that you are visible to oncoming traffic on the road
- Always pay attentions to signage that is posted on the roads
- Always be alert when crossing a street or intersection
- Avoid walking alone if you have been drinking
- Always use sidewalks if available
If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident it is advisable to retain the services of a competent and qualified New Haven personal injury attorney to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
Berg Bryant Elder Law Group, PLLC provide compassionate and strong representation for Elder law.