Is the Pedestrian Always Right?

Is the pedestrian right?Many people are surprised to learn that car accident rates have consistently fallen over the years. However, pedestrian accident rates have skyrocketed. According to an annual study performed by the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatal pedestrian accidents jumped by 10 percent in 2015.

As Washington, D.C. pedestrian accident lawyers, we unfortunately see many of these cases in our personal injury practice. In a city as densely populated as the District, it’s common to see just as many people on foot as it is to see motorists behind the wheel. When people and cars clash, the results are usually disastrous.

However, motorists are not always to blame for these accidents. In some cases, pedestrians are at fault.

When Pedestrians are Responsible for a Collison

Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way in traffic, but there are important exceptions to this general rule. For example, the pedestrian may be at fault in the following situations:

  • Jaywalking
  • Failing to use a crosswalk
  • Entering an area where pedestrians are not permitted, such as a highway or bridge overpass
  • Walking into the street while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • Darting into the street or dodging cars in an attempt to cross
  • Walking distracted

In fact, “distracted walking” has become a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. A CBS News report found that texting and walking has led to numerous pedestrian injuries and deaths. The problem has become so widespread, safety experts have even created a new term for these walkers: “pedextrians.” One study reports that 78 percent of people surveyed believe that distracted walking is a major problem. Other distractions, such as eating and walking or listening to music and walking, can be just as dangerous.

Steps to Take if You Strike a Pedestrian

As a motorist, being involved in an accident involving a pedestrian is a terrifying experience. Your first instinct may be to panic, but it’s important to keep a cool head. Knowing what to do in advance can help you stay calm and take steps to protect your legal rights.

Stay at the scene. Never leave the scene of an accident, even if you think you may be at fault. This can make your situation much worse, and may even lead to criminal charges being filed against you.

Call the police. Report the accident to the police right away. You should also call for emergency help if anyone at the scene is injured.

Gather witness information. Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Their testimony can be invaluable when it comes to proving you were not responsible for the accident, or that the pedestrian shared some blame for causing the accident.

Take photos. You can begin gathering your own evidence right away, assuming your injuries permit it. Use your phone to take photos and even video of the accident scene, your vehicle, and your own injuries.

Speak to a lawyer. You should contact a lawyer right away, and preferably before you speak to any insurance company. Insurance adjusters often try to get people to make statements about the accident. If you unknowingly say something that hurts your case, it could come back to hurt you down the road.

Talk to a Metro D.C. Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today

If you were injured as a pedestrian in a collision, or you struck a pedestrian while driving, it’s important to protect your rights by speaking to an experienced lawyer right away. The Washington, D.C. pedestrian accident lawyers at Mesirow & Associates, PLLC are available to speak to you today about your case. Schedule your free case evaluation today.

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