In a college town, people do a lot of walking to and from class, the grocery store, friends' houses, work, and so on. A lot of students live right on campus or close enough to bike or take advantage of the shuttles and busses and do not need to have a car. While walking is a great, environment and health-friendly mode of transportation, personal injury attorneys say that it is also risky, as a large number of accidents involving cars and walkers result in serious injuries for the pedestrians.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 4,000 pedestrians, defined as "any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting, or lying down," are killed each year by vehicle collisions, and more than 70,000 are injured in accidents.
A collision with any type of vehicle-car, bus, truck or even bike-can do a lot of damage to a pedestrian, as he or she is typically unprotected from heavier moving objects. Injuries can range from a light sprain or bruising to serious head trauma, broken bones, spinal cord damage or worse. The more extensive the injuries, the higher the medical expenses, and the longer the time it takes to recover-all of which can be major setbacks for injured pedestrians and could cost them their livelihood or source of income, as well as future earning potential and quality of life.
What Causes an Accident?
An accident can be caused by either party and by a variety of factors. On the part of the driver, these factors can include:
- Inattention or distraction
- Drunk driving
- Failure to obey traffic signs, crosswalk right-of-ways, stop signs, lights, etc.
- Failure to signal appropriately
- Car failure
On the part of a pedestrian, accident-causing factors typically include:
- Failure to look both ways before crossing a street
- Failure to use a crosswalk appropriately
- Jaywalking or diagonally crossing an intersection
- Failure to obey traffic signs, stop signs, lights, etc.
- Failure to walk on a sidewalk
- Walking in unsafe conditions, such as highways or dangerous roads
Although pedestrians are usually the more seriously injured party, drivers can, and likely will, blame them either partially or fully for an accident. Pedestrians have a duty to remain alert whenever they cross the street, even if they are using the crosswalk at the appropriate time. They also have a responsibility to use common sense and act safely to avoid injury or incident.
What to Do If You're Injured
If you have been injured in a car accident while you were walking, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney. You will need to figure out who was at fault and what rights you as the pedestrian have after an accident, as well as your medical bills and other expenses will be handled. Even if you sustain minimal injuries, you may want to discuss your case because an injury or complication could flare up in the days following the accident.
At Rehmeyer & Allat Attorneys at Law, we represent any pedestrian who has suffered an injury in an accident involving a vehicle. To discuss your case, contact one of our injury lawyers at State College today.