A pedestrian can experience significant injuries when they’re hit by a car. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 7,000 pedestrians died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2020. That amounts to approximately one fatality every 75 minutes. Additionally, in 2020, an estimated 104,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal injuries related to vehicle crashes.
Every driver on the road is expected to drive with reasonable care, which includes watching out for pedestrians. Sometimes a driver fails to do so and harms a pedestrian. Under the law, the injured party may seek compensation.
If you are injured by a car while walking, you don’t have to navigate your legal claim alone. A Seattle pedestrian accident lawyer at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC, can help you understand your legal rights, including your possible right to financial compensation. Contact our office today.
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are more common than most people realize. Pedestrians have no protection from a driver’s careless actions. If you are in a vehicle, you have some protection. You can buckle your seatbelt as a precaution against collisions. Additionally, most cars have airbags and other safety features. As a pedestrian, however, you have no defense against the outside world. You just have to trust that vehicles will remain in their lane and drivers will use reasonable caution.
Here are some recent statistics regarding the prevalence of pedestrian accidents:
- One out of every six people who died in crashes in 2020 were pedestrians;
- In 2019, alcohol was involved in 46% of all vehicle crashes that resulted in a pedestrian fatality;
- According to the Seattle Department of Transportation, 7% of total crashes involved people walking, rolling, and biking, and yet they comprised 61% of fatalities;
- According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 32% of pedestrian deaths were caused by distracted drivers;
- There were a total of 97 pedestrian fatalities in Washington in 2020; and
- A Seattle Department of Transportation report found that crosswalks with more people experienced fewer accidents.
Statistics show that pedestrians face a high risk of serious injury or even death when they’re involved in a collision with a vehicle.
Who Is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident in Seattle?
In Washington, the party whose negligence caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damage they caused. An injured party should not have to be responsible for the financial burden of an accident they did not cause. If you aren’t sure who should pay the damages for your injuries, you should speak with a Seattle pedestrian accident attorney.
In some cases, the injured party may be partially responsible for the accident. Under Washington’s contributory fault law, they can still file a compensation claim. An injured party is not barred from pursuing a personal injury claim even if they were as much as 99% at fault for the accident. Instead, if they are partly responsible, their potential compensation would be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if you have $100,000 in damages and are found to be 30% at fault, you would receive $70,000.
It is important that you can accurately prove fault to ensure you are not held responsible for something that you did not cause. Remember that insurance companies are used to fighting these kinds of battles to justify lower settlements. They may try to allege that you were at fault to reduce your compensation. This is where the skill and experience of a pedestrian accident lawyer in Seattle can really make a difference. An attorney can fight these insurance company tactics to ensure you get fair compensation.
How Much Is My Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?
The value of your claim depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Each case is unique and should be evaluated on its own merits. A pedestrian accident attorney in Seattle can help you calculate the potential compensation for your claim.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Long-term care,
- Pain and suffering,
- Post-traumatic stress, and
- Future loss of income.
Keep all records of expenses related to your injuries. You will need to prove the current and future impact of your injuries from a financial perspective in addition to the mental, physical, and emotional harm you have endured.
It is important that you do not accept any settlement without first discussing your case with legal representation. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot ask for more. You want to ensure that any settlement is fair.
Time Limit for Filing a Seattle Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
In Washington, you generally have three years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file within those three years, you may be barred from legal recovery.
You may feel like three years is a long time. However, you don’t want to wait until the last minute. The sooner you can speak to a Seattle pedestrian accident attorney, the better. Over time, evidence can be harder to track down, and memories can fade. Filing a claim quickly will allow you to make your case while it is fresh in everyone’s mind.
Ways to Stay Safe As a Pedestrian
Being hit by a vehicle is a traumatizing experience. You may wonder how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when walking near roadways. Here are a few tips:
- Increase your visibility by wearing bright clothing;
- Carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing at night;
- Only cross the street in clearly designated crosswalks or intersections;
- Do not jaywalk;
- Walk on pedestrian sidewalks or paths;
- If you have to walk on the road, walk on the shoulder facing traffic;
- Avoid wearing earbuds or headphones that can muffle warning signals of traffic approaching; and
- Do not travel on foot if you have been using drugs or alcohol.
The best way to stay safe is to be aware of what is happening around you. Minimize distractions and remain visible.
Contact a Seattle Pedestrian Accident Lawyer from Our Office
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC, we have over 40 years of experience representing personal injury victims, including injured pedestrians. We are committed to treating you how we want to be treated under these overwhelming circumstances. That means we will carefully explain your legal options and fight for your rights. We are accessible and will return your calls or emails to keep you updated on the status of your case. Most importantly, we will treat you as a person, not just another case. Contact us today to schedule your free case consultation.