Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

Pedestrians do not always have the right of way, but motorists must avoid striking pedestrians. Even if a pedestrian enters the roadway without the right of way, a motorist must brake, swerve, or make other evasive maneuvers.

Often, a motorist violates the right of way and strikes a pedestrian. In these cases, the pedestrian can seek compensation from the at-fault motorist. A pedestrian accident attorney in Hackensack can lead any lawsuit or claim you pursue, making your financial recovery their mission.

When Pedestrians Have the Right of Way

We generally know that pedestrians do not have the right of way when traffic is flowing, such as when traffic lights are green. However, in many circumstances, motorists must yield to pedestrians, including:

When the Pedestrian Has the Signal to Walk

If a pedestrian has the signal to cross the road, they have the right of way.

When a motorist encounters a crosswalk, they must:

  • Come to a complete stop
  • Allow pedestrians to cross
  • Proceed only when there is no pedestrian in the crosswalk or preparing to cross

Even when a traffic light is red, a motorist can turn right. However, they must grant pedestrians the right of way or risk causing a pedestrian accident.

When an Intersection Lacks Walking Signals

If an intersection does not have signals indicating when pedestrians should cross the road, motorists must yield the right of way to the pedestrian. Walkers must use their judgment about when to cross the road, and motorists must always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

When the Pedestrian Is Crossing at a Roundabout

Roundabouts can confuse anyone, but motorists must always yield to pedestrians crossing at a roundabout.

When Pedestrians Are in a Parking Lot or Another Free-Flowing Environment

There are many environments where pedestrians and motor vehicles come in close contact, including parking lots. Motorists must watch for pedestrians and do everything possible to avoid striking them.

Drivers Must Always Watch for Pedestrians and Avoid Hitting Them

The number one tip the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives for avoiding pedestrian accidents is for motorists to “Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times.” A motorist may avoid pedestrian accidents if they are generally safe drivers.

A motorist may avoid causing a pedestrian collision by:

  • Practicing defensive driving: A defensive driver assumes that others will act unpredictably. Defensive motorists err on the side of caution in every given situation. If a motorist has a defensive approach, they will give a pedestrian the right of way, even when the motorist may technically have the right of way.
  • Abiding by all traffic signals: Traffic signals, including lights and signage, help protect pedestrians. If a motorist stops at stop signs and red lights, yields at yield signs, and respects crosswalks, they will avoid many potential pedestrian accidents.
  • Driving the speed limit: When motorists speed, they increase the likelihood of hitting a pedestrian and the chances of causing a severe injury. When motorists drive fast, they have less time to react to pedestrians. Speeding causes many pedestrian collisions. 
  • Reducing speed in chaotic or unpredictable circumstances: Sometimes, driving at the speed limit is not cautious enough. In cases where pedestrians abound, a chaotic environment, or poor weather or lighting makes it difficult to see, a motorist should reduce their speed further.
  • Looking specifically for pedestrians and always giving them the right of way: Pedestrians are more difficult to see than motor vehicles. Therefore, motorists must take special care to identify and avoid pedestrians. A visually impaired, distracted, or generally inattentive motorist risks hitting a pedestrian.

Even if a pedestrian does something to contribute to a collision, a motorist may share liability for the collision. In many cases, the motorist is solely liable for a pedestrian accident.

Potential Injuries Resulting from a Pedestrian Accident

When negligent motorists strike pedestrians, they injure them badly because:

  • Pedestrians often have little or no physical protection from the impact—not even a helmet
  • Pedestrian accidents often happen at high speeds, as the motorist generally does not see the pedestrian before striking them
  • The size and weight of a motor vehicle is far greater than that of a pedestrian, meaning the pedestrian absorbs most of the force of the collision
Pedestrian Accident

For these reasons, pedestrian accident victims can suffer disabling or even fatal injuries. An accident victim may eventually heal from their injuries, but only after a long period of hardship and recovery.

Virtually any blunt-force injury can result from a pedestrian accident, with some notable ailments including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can have life-threatening and lifelong medical consequences
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Injuries to internal organs, including but not limited to the lungs and kidneys
  • Internal bleeding
  • Severe scrapes, cuts, and burns
  • Amputation injuries
  • Severe scarring
  • Dislocation injuries

The nature and severity of your injuries can depend on:

  • The speed at which the vehicle struck you
  • How the vehicle hit you
  • The size and weight of the vehicle 
  • Whether the vehicle ran you over, as this may cause crushing injuries
  • Whether the motor vehicle driver stopped or continued driving after impact
  • Whether the vehicle dragged you
  • How you landed following the collision

If motorists do not immediately stop and render assistance, they may face additional financial liability for their negligent actions.

How Do I Know Who Caused a Pedestrian Accident?

Whether you know beyond a doubt that a motorist caused your accident, or you doubt who had the right of way, you should consider hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer. An attorney will explain in simple terms who you can hold responsible for your injuries.

Your lawyer may establish fault for your pedestrian accident by:

  • Interviewing witnesses: Your attorney will obtain existing witness accounts. If it can help your case, your lawyer will interview or re-interview witnesses personally. Eyewitness accounts can be immensely helpful because, in most cases, witnesses have nothing to gain by being deceptive. Therefore, witness accounts are often reliable evidence.
  • Getting a police report: Your lawyer will pull the police report from the responding agency. Based on the officer’s findings, this report may indicate who is at fault for the accident. 
  • Obtaining and reviewing video footage: Video footage can be compelling evidence, too, as it may show exactly how the collision happened. Useful video footage may come from traffic cameras, security cameras, dashboard cameras, cell phones, or other sources. 
  • Consulting experts: Qualified experts may help build your case, and your lawyer’s firm will cover their fees. An expert may reconstruct the collision digitally, testify about liability, or provide other services that help prove liability.

Attorneys take a unique approach to each case because available evidence and case details can vary significantly. However, each lawyer aims to prove that another party (such as a motorist) caused their client harm.

Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Pedestrian Accident

Once you have received medical attention for all accident-related injuries, you must decide whether to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer. Reasons why pedestrian accident victims hire Hackensack personal injury lawyers include:

A Law Firm’s Resources and Financial Support

When you hire a law firm to seek compensation for a pedestrian accident, you get:

  • An attorney whose responsibility is securing money for you
  • Paralegals, investigators, and other support staff who will help your lawyer build your case
  • Financial support for your case, as the law firm will cover the entire upfront cost of your claim or lawsuit

Many pedestrian accident victims are under great financial stress. Having a law firm’s total financial support can be a great relief, especially if the law firm secures the financial recovery you seek.

A Lawyer’s Experience and Training

Personal injury lawyers have gone through law school. You can find a lawyer with years (perhaps decades) of experience representing pedestrian accident victims. There is no viable substitute for such training and experience.

Your Unfamiliarity with Insurance Claims and Lawsuits

While you may have dealt with an auto insurance claim before, each new claim presents unique challenges and obligations. Furthermore, you may have never suffered a pedestrian accident before.

Rather than trying to learn the ropes and navigate the claims process (and, possibly, the legal process) for yourself, hire a lawyer to handle these processes for you.

Prioritizing Your Health

Victims of any accident deserve to place their recovery first. While your insurance claim or lawsuit is also important, that doesn’t mean you must handle the case.

While your lawyer fights for your financial recovery, you can:

  • Rest
  • Receive medical treatment
  • Undergo rehabilitation
  • Follow your doctor’s orders without worrying about the demands of a lawsuit or claim
  • Heal as quickly as possible or adapt to life with a disability

While you do this, your attorney will show an unwavering degree of commitment to securing the compensation you deserve.

How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Will Serve You

Your pedestrian accident lawyer will handle both the large and small details of your case and their duties may include:

  • Obtaining evidence as soon as possible: Once hired, attorneys work quickly to document their clients’ accidents. Your attorney will both secure and organize evidence for you.
  • Documenting your damages: Your lawyer will seek documentation for every type of damage from the pedestrian accident. Important documentation may include proof that you have missed work, medical bills, images of injuries, expert testimony about pain and suffering, and invoices related to damaged property.
  • Hiring experts: Law firms work with experts to provide services the law firm does not—like accident reconstructions—and add credibility to a case. For instance, a mental health expert may testify about your pain and suffering.
  • Calculating and negotiating your settlement: Once they have obtained all proof of your damages, your lawyer will calculate the exact cost of those damages. Your attorney will then engage in settlement talks with liable parties, demanding the entire financial recovery you are entitled to.
  • Completing a trial, if necessary: If liable parties refuse a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can proceed to trial. Your attorney should discuss the option of going to trial with you, especially if it becomes a realistic possibility for your case.
  • Handling communications throughout your case: Anyone involved in your case will need to contact your lawyer with requests or questions. This includes insurance companies, who do not always have accident victims’ best interests at heart.

Your lawyer will handle every aspect of your case, taking a significant responsibility off your shoulders.

Recoverable Damages for Victims of Pedestrian Accidents

The cost of a motor vehicle accident can overwhelm you. This figure does not account for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages from your accident.

Your attorney will create a detailed record of your damages (including the cost of each damage), and this record may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Proof of lost income
  • Expert testimony about pain and suffering and other damages
  • Invoices for property repairs
  • Invoices for any other accident-related expenses (such as the cost of medical equipment)

Every accident victim experiences different damages. If you hire a competent, proven attorney, they will ensure that your case reflects all your damages.

What Happens If I Don’t Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?

Pedestrian Accident Attorney Richard Reinartz
Richard Reinartz Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you choose not to hire a lawyer, you may:

  • Expose yourself to substantial stress
  • Compromise your health
  • Find it difficult to manage the responsibilities of your lawsuit or claim
  • Fail to build a successful claim or lawsuit
  • Fail to secure the compensation you deserve (and need)

You may need a lawyer’s help at this time, but you must choose to accept the assistance.

Find and Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Do not wait to hire a lawyer, as there are generally filing deadlines for pedestrian accident cases. Once you hire an attorney, you can direct your full attention toward recovery.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!