Pedestrian Highway Injuries and Accidents
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What are Pedestrian Accidents?
Every year, tens of thousands of pedestrians are injured by automobiles or other vehicles. Pedestrian accidents are often caused by driver inattention, poor driving conditions, and roadway or traffic sign defects. Some pedestrian accidents are caused by the pedestrian, as in when a pedestrian fails to obey traffic signals when crossing the street. Most pedestrians can recover damages for their injuries if the accident was not their fault.
Are Pedestrians Allowed on Major Highways?
Nearly all state laws prohibit pedestrians from accessing and walking on/along major highways. While most pedestrian accidents occur on sidewalks, crosswalks, and sides streets, a great number of pedestrian accidents do occur on major interstate highways.
A pedestrian accident on a major highway can present a complex legal situation. Most highways do not provide safety measures for pedestrians, as they are generally not supposed to be on the highway. Also, a pedestrian injury on the highway is often very serious, due to the fact that cars are traveling at high speeds on highways.
Some situations that might cause a pedestrian accident on a highway include:
- Crossing/Entering: A pedestrian who is crossing or entering a highway by walking across it runs a high risk of getting hit by a car. There are no crosswalks on highways and such acts are generally illegal. Most motorists may not see a pedestrian until it’s too late.
- Pedestrian activity After Dark: Over 90 percent of pedestrian-vehicle accidents occur after dark. Contributing factors may include driver inattention and alcohol use.
- Standing or Walking on Highway Shoulder: Sometimes a pedestrian may stand or walk on the shoulder of a highway. For example, they may be waiting for a ride if their car had broken down. Driver error and poor weather may result in a serious accident if the pedestrian is struck by oncoming traffic
- Vehicle Repair: A driver may often have to get out of their car in order to repair it or have it towed. For example, it is common to see a person fixing a flat tire as the highway traffic rushes by. It is generally not advisable to conduct such repairs if the pedestrian is not in a safe, protected area.
- Automobile Crashes and Accidents: Sometimes drivers may have to get out of their car on the highway after an accident. They may have to exchange information, inspect their cars, or wait for assistance. If at all possible, persons involved in an accident should pull over and avoid stopping in the middle of the road.
As you can see, pedestrian activity on the highway is sometimes unavoidable. However, you should never attempt to walk or cross a highway, as this is both dangerous and illegal. Try to stay in your car as much as possible, or place yourself in a safe spot if you must be outside your vehicle.
Can I recover Damages for a Pedestrian Accident if I was injured on the Highway?
If you were injured as a pedestrian on the highway, you may be able to recover damages for your losses. Most likely you will be filing a claim for negligence. A negligence claim would require you to prove that the driver breached their duty of care to you, and that the breach actually caused your injuries.
One of the main concerns in a pedestrian accident on the highway is that of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence occurs when the pedestrian’s own negligence contributed to their own harm. If the pedestrian is found to be contributorily negligent, it may reduce their recovery, or prevent it altogether. This is a concern because for the most part, pedestrians shouldn’t be on major highways in the first place.
If you have been injured on the highway as a pedestrian, you should compile all the important documents related to the accident. You should keep all medical receipts and expenses as proof of your injuries. Try to obtain as much of the driver’s information as possible (such as driver’s license, contact info, etc.).
All of these documents might be useful as evidence in court. They can help prove that you were not at fault and that you had a valid reason to be on the highway as a pedestrian.
Do I need a Lawyer for a Pedestrian Injury or Accident on a Major Roadway?
You may wish to contact a lawyer for advice regarding pedestrian accidents on the highway. The laws governing pedestrian rights will vary according to state and sometimes by city. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in filing a claim, so that you can recover expenses associated with your injuries.
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Last Modified: 08-07-2013 12:35 PM PDT
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