Driver distractions are on the rise, and that’s not good news for pedestrians. It’s important to know your rights in the unfortunate case you are ever injured by a moving vehicle in a pedestrian accident.
Distractions don’t just mean a coffee spilling on your lap or noisy children in the backseat, being distracted means taking your hand off the wheel or taking your eyes, or even your mind, off the road.
The personal injury attorneys at Murphy & Prachthauser want you to feel prepared if a distracted driver ever injures you with their negligence. Here are some facts you should know about pedestrian accidents and steps to take if you are ever hit by a vehicle.
Pedestrian accident facts you should know:
- According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one pedestrian death happens about every 1.5 hours on U.S. roads and highways.
- The Global Health Security Agenda reported that pedestrians accounted for 16-percent of all traffic deaths in 2018, compared to 12-percent in 2008.
- The University of Nebraska Medical Center has found that even though deaths relating to motor vehicle accidents have been declining nationally, the number of deaths that involve pedestrians and cyclists are increasing.
What You Should Do If You’re Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
Focus on staying calm and level-headed. This will help you manage the aftermath of the accident: getting medical treatment, talking to witnesses, taking down the driver’s information, and assessing the situation. There is a lot to do to protect your rights, so you’ll need to be calm and collected to get the information right.
Ensure the Driver Stays At the Accident Scene
After an accident, the driver and any witnesses should remain at the scene of the accident, especially if the authorities are on the way. If you are in a hit-and-run situation, try to remember the make and model of the vehicle or the license plate number.
Important Note: An experienced attorney can help you obtain traffic cam footage to help support a hit-and-run accident claim.
Call the Police
Most people, especially when they believe they aren’t injured in an accident shy away from criminalizing the driver by calling the police. However, this is your best chance to file a police report. Many injuries appear days, even weeks after an accident, so be sure to call the police so you can be fully compensated for your pedestrian accident injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
Your own health should be your first priority. It is important to seek medical attention after an accident. Being evaluated for injuries is a necessary part of any accident claim.
Take down the driver’s information including name, insurance, driver’s license, car make and model, and license plate number. Take down witness information as well. Many of our clients are taking photos of the other driver’s license and proof of insurance. Take as many photos as you can of the car, your injuries, and of the scene - which includes traffic lights, the intersection, signs, etc.
Make Your Statement
When the police arrive, they will question you about what happened. Make sure you do not guess about your answers, Also, do not exaggerate or embellish anything you say. Make sure your statement is as accurate as possible.
Call a Lawyer
The Milwaukee personal injury and accident lawyers at Murphy & Prachthauser represent persons injured by the negligence of others. When you are a client with our personal injury law firm, your needs are our top priority.
Using a team approach, we will help you navigate through difficult legal matters with experience, compassion and a track record of successful multi-million dollar awards and settlements.
Who Pays the Damages in a Car-Pedestrian Accident?
After being hit by a car, the amount of compensation you will receive depends on how badly you are injured, the amount of insurance carried by the other driver and yourself. It also involves other drivers’ personal assets, how well you recover, and possibly your own level of fault in the accident.
The law of negligence usually plays a part in these situations. Who is at fault for the accident? Usually, the person who doesn’t exercise reasonable care under the circumstances is possibly at fault, which is also known as being negligent. The rules of the road also lay out the respective rules for drivers and pedestrians.
In many pedestrian-car accidents, the driver is at fault. However, even if the fault was partly the pedestrian’s, Wisconsin follows the “comparative negligence” rule which means as long as you are less at fault than the driver, you are still entitled to compensation.
In your case, you might have to make an under-or uninsured-driver claim if the driver is uninsured or has liability limits that will not fully cover your damages.
Determining Fault in a Car vs Pedestrian Accident
Depending on the unique details of the car accident, the driver could potentially have civil or even criminal consequences.
Because Wisconsin follows the “comparative negligence” system, as a pedestrian, you could be at risk for being charged with fault. This is why it is important to not speak to the defendant’s insurance company, to give your honest statement to the police, and to have witnesses give their statement as well.
Wisconsin also follows the rules of the road regarding pedestrian accidents. That is, the vehicle has to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. If the pedestrian is outside of a crosswalk, the pedestrian has to yield the right of way to a driver under normal circumstances. A pedestrian also needs to abide by “walk” and “don’t walk” signs. Failing to do so would make you negligent, potentially primarily negligent. Factors involving a driver that hits a pedestrian include whether the vehicle was driving too fast for conditions, if the driver was distracted, in the wrong lane of travel, or was impaired in any way.
Are You Insured as a Pedestrian?
Even though you weren’t driving, if you have auto insurance, there is a chance you are covered by an uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist provision in your policy. Many car policies have medical payment coverage that covers you as a pedestrian. A lawyer can work with you to help you understand how your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses can be covered after an accident.
Contact a Milwaukee Pedestrian Accident Attorney
At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice personal injury law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.
If you have a case you would like to speak to a lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free case evaluation and get an experienced team of lawyers working on your behalf.