Anytime we hear of a pedestrian being hit by a moving automobile, our hearts momentarily stop as car accidents involving pedestrians can frequently be deadly, especially if the collision happened at a high rate of speed. Luckily, many auto versus pedestrians accidents occur at low rates of speed and injuries are not life threatening. For example, if a vehicle stops at a stop sign and then proceeds forward traveling at a speed of 5 miles per hour and hits someone who is crossing at a crosswalk, the victim may have relatively minor injuries. The victim may sustain a minor wrist fracture, suffer back and neck pain treatable with massage therapy, and have other similar injuries as they are knocked to the ground. The speed of travel is always going to be one of the main factors influencing the nature and extent of injuries sustained by a pedestrian.
We’ve all heard the expression “speed kills.” This is advice given to drivers to urge them to exercise caution when driving and watch their speed in order to reduce the risk of getting into a high speed vehicle collision and killing themselves or someone else. When a car traveling 90 miles per hour collides with another vehicle, the force of the impact caused is much greater than if it had been going 60 miles per hour. The deadly result of speed is perhaps much more evident when a car or truck strikes a person who is on foot. If the vehicle is moving at any significant rate of speed, 15 miles per hour or more, the impact of a ton metal slamming into the human body can frequently be fatal.
If a vehicle is traveling at a very slow rate of speed, then the victim will usually be far more fortunate and injuries will mainly be due to being knocked off their feet and onto the asphalt. Still, falling onto the pavement can be very painful. You can suffer serious bodily injuries, including a broke bone (especially your wrist), a dislocated shoulder, a severely injured back and neck, a head injury (if your head hit the ground as you fell back), and other injuries. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you will need an experienced bodily injury attorney to represent you and establish that the driver was at fault so that you can hold their insurance carrier accountable and financially responsible for your injuries.
Establishing fault in an auto versus pedestrian accident can be a difficult task. Frequently the police report will be of little help. It is not as though the police officer can simply say that one car rear-ended the other, or that one person ran a red light when the other was traveling with a green light. Establishing fault can be a lot more subjective. Was the driver paying attention? Did the driver look both ways before proceeding? Was the driver going too fast? It is critical to interview any potential witnesses and obtain their statements as well as the statement of the vehicle driver. Only by establishing that the driver was at fault will your attorney to be able to hold the driver accountable and recovery money for you.
As an example of the importance of witness statements in pedestrian accident cases, our firm recently handled a legal matter in which the driver and his insurance company denied that the driver was at fault for striking the pedestrian (our client) with his vehicle. The key to showing that the driver was at fault was witness statements. Amazingly, it was the statement of the negligent driver that carried the greatest weight in showing the driver was at fault, even though he denied that he made a mistake. By nailing down the driver’s version of the facts, we were able to show how the driver’s own statements prove he was negligent. Passengers are also be key witnesses in auto versus pedestrian accidents, as so are eye witnesses who were standing on the street corner or nearby.