Each year hundreds of people in Washington are injured by motor vehicles while walking or attempting to cross a street or intersection. The (CDC)Center for Disease Control stated that every 8 minutes 1 person is injured as a result of a pedestrian accident and that every 2 hours 1 person is fatally injured in a pedestrian accident. In 2009 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were over 4,000 pedestrian fatalities and 59,000 pedestrians injured by motor vehicles across the United States. Because pedestrians are on foot and not protected by the safety a vehicle may provide, accidents involving pedestrians generally result in very serious injuries. According to the CDC, pedestrians are 1½ times more likely than occupants of a passenger vehicle to be killed in a motor vehicle accident. Due to the pedestrian’s vulnerability even low impact collisions can result in fractures, soft tissue injuries, concussions, and even death.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, contacting an attorney is essential to ensuring that you receive compensation for your losses. At the law office of Dann D. Sheffield & Associates our attorneys understand the difficulties and legal issues you face after being involved in a pedestrian accident and can help you along the road to recovery.
Victims of Pedestrian Accidents Frequently Require Legal Assistance with:
- Unpaid Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Phone Calls Not Being Returned by the Insurance Company
- Insurance Adjusters Disputing Liability
- Recovering Losses from Uninsured/Underinsured Drivers
- Medical Referrals for Accident Treatment
- Other Expenses
Under Washington State law a pedestrian has the “right of way” or priority to cross in front of a motor vehicle in a marked or unmarked crosswalk whenever the pedestrian is “upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning”(RCW 46.61.235). This means that a pedestrian has the right of way whenever he/she has already entered into the roadway in which the motor vehicle is traveling or turning onto. However, a pedestrian also has a duty “not to leave a curb or place of safety” into the path of an on-coming “vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop”(RCW 46.61.235). Although pedestrians are generally seen to have the right of way it is always recommended that pedestrians exercise extreme caution whenever walking near-to or crossing a roadway.
Tips for Increasing Pedestrian Safety
- Use extreme caution at intersections as drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way for pedestrians while turning onto another street.
- If you must walk in the street, walk toward oncoming traffic, so that you are aware and able to avoid a potential accident.
- Always use a crosswalk when crossing a street.
- Increase your visibility at night, wear reflective or bright colored clothing
The legal standard for proving negligence in a pedestrian accident requires showing that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care toward the pedestrian and that his/her failure to exercise such care resulted in the pedestrian’s injuries. Because pedestrians are more likely to suffer serious injuries should an accident occur, it is the pedestrian that must make every effort to avoid an accident. Even when a pedestrian legally has the right of way or believes a driver should clearly see them, does not mean that driver will not act negligently.
Pedestrian Accidents Frequently Result From:
- Negligent Drivers
- Impatient drivers
- Dangerous Road Conditions
- Driver Impairment Due to Drugs or Alcohol
At Dann D. Sheffield & Associates we know that serious injuries and fatalities to pedestrians are preventable. Someone is responsible for your injuries and loss. Washington law establishes your right to be compensated if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident as a result of another person’s negligence. Our attorneys will fight for your rights, and for the compensation you need to put your life back together. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, or a loved one has been killed in a pedestrian accident, you need a skillful and responsive legal team that is fully committed to fighting for your rights; and the attorneys at Dann D. Sheffield & Associates can help you each step of the way.
In Washington if a pedestrian is injured by a vehicle and depending upon the at-fault drivers insurance policy, a pedestrian may be entitled to specific and immediate compensation through the at-fault driver’s PIP insurance or there own PIP insurance.
What is PIP Insurance?
PIP insurance or “Personal Injury Protection” is a form of insurance that may be purchased in addition to liability insurance. PIP insurance is not required in Washington but must be offered and waived in writing. If PIP insurance was not offered by the insurance company; or a written waiver can not be produced, the insurance policy will be deemed to include PIP. PIP insurance may be used to pay for such things as medical expenses, wage loss, loss of essential services, and funeral expenses. It is insurance that is paid regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This means PIP insurance may be paid to the injured party before liability is determined. For the victim this can help pay medical bills or wage loss prior to a settlement being reached. PIP insurance is not however paid to just anyone, it covers only certain persons involved in an accident.
Who is Covered Under a PIP Policy?
PIP insurance generally only covers the insured driver (i.e. the person named on the policy and/or family members) as well as his/her passengers – up to a certain amount. This means that if there is an accident between two(2) vehicles and only one of the drivers has a PIP policy, that policy will only cover the PIP policy holder and the passengers in his/her vehicle. The PIP policy will not be paid to the other driver or their passengers. However, in some cases there may be exceptions to the driver/passenger limitations on a PIP policy. (i.e. bicyclists or pedestrians involved in an accident with a PIP covered vehicle)