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Pedestrian Accident Settlements and Verdicts

Pedestrian accidents are extremely serious.  A pedestrian accident occurs when someone in a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian with the vehicle.  Unfortunately, a pedestrian accident can happen almost anywhere.  Anyone on the road can be considered a pedestrian.  These types of accidents also have the potential to be one of the most serious and disastrous types of accidents because of the lack of protection for the pedestrian, especially when the car is driving at high speeds.  The full weight of a car plowing into an unprotected and possibly unsuspecting victim can cause significant harm and damage and can result in an array of grave injuries and even severe disability. Pedestrian accidents are more common than many people realize.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015.

Pedestrians and drivers must both take the necessary precautions and follow all rules of the road to prevent such catastrophic accidents.  When pursuing a pedestrian accident case, the case largely depends upon the legal concept of negligence.  The Legal Information Institute defines negligence as a “failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”  This definition means that if someone (perhaps the driver who struck the pedestrian) was not exercising reasonable care, they might be liable.  For example, those operating a motor vehicle should be aware of speeding, distractions, and failing to obey general rules of the road (stop signs, yield signs, etc.).   Similarly, pedestrians should cross the street at crosswalks and wait for signals at stop lights.

Utah Pedestrian Accident Statistics

Thousands of people are affected by pedestrian accidents every year.  In recent years, pedestrian accident problems have worsened.  For example, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015, pedestrian fatalities rose to a total of 5,376 deaths.  This group is one of the few road users who has experienced an increase in fatalities.  The 5,376 deaths mean that an average of one pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in crashes.

Certain groups are more at risk of being a victim of a pedestrian accident.  For example, the NHTSA reports that people ages 65 and older made up 19 percent of all pedestrian deaths and 13 percent of those injured in 2015.  Also, in 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 that were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.  Alcohol also plays a role in pedestrian deaths.  Nearly half of crashes that caused pedestrian deaths involved alcohol (for either the driver or the pedestrian).

Specific statistics paint a similar picture for Utah.  According to the state-sponsored Zero Fatalities website, 29 percent of all fatalities on Utah roads involve people who aren’t in a car.  This statistic includes 100 pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.  The Utah Violence and Injury Prevention Program reports that in 2016, 39 pedestrians were hit and killed by a car in Utah.  There were also 785 people that were treated in emergency rooms or hospitals because of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident.  According to the Utah Highway Safety Office, the percentage of crashes that involve a pedestrian is one of the fatality measures that continues to increase since 2009.

Utah has some pedestrian specific laws that are more favorable to pedestrians than other states.  For example, in Utah, pedestrians have the right-of-way at both marked or unmarked crosswalks.  Similarly, a pedestrian can cross the street at any location unless specifically prohibited.  However, if a pedestrian is crossing the road at a point without a crosswalk, the pedestrian must yield to oncoming vehicles.  An operator of a motor vehicle must exercise due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, regardless of the situation.

One unfortunate trend in Utah is that young children have an increased likelihood of being hit by a vehicle.  Of pedestrian deaths involving children, nearly half occurred in a driveway.  This type of accident is known as a “back over.”  Back over accidents can lead to a host of traumatic injuries and even death.  Such a tragedy can impact families, neighbors, and others for years and years.  According to Kids and Cars.org, a back over typically occurs because many drivers are not aware of the large and dangerous blind spot behind their car.  Children also do not comprehend the danger of a slow moving vehicle.  In the past ten years, more than 60 Utah children have been killed, and more than 500 have been severely injured in a back over accident in Utah.

How Would A Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

After a pedestrian accident, there are many reasons hiring a personal injury attorney from The Advocates is in your best interest.  One of the more significant reasons is because of the personal injury lawyer’s knowledge and expertise.  Pedestrian accidents are followed by a wake of confusion and worry, not to mention the significant physical and emotional suffering.

A pressing question after a pedestrian accident is, “What should I do next?”  There are injuries to worry about, insurance issues, negligence questions, and many other complex problems.  Handling all of these dilemmas on your own will take significant time and mental fortitude which is not always easy after you’ve been injured.  Your Advocate will know exactly what to do.  He or she will recommend the best type of treatment and help you get on the road to recovery.  Your attorney will know how to handle the case, who to talk to, what relevant laws might help you, etc.  Your attorney will know all of these things from years of handling claims just like yours.

Another reason hiring a personal injury attorney will be helpful to you is your attorney will know how to value of your case.  Generally speaking, pedestrian accidents result in significant medical bills for the victim because of the trauma of being hit by a moving vehicle.  If you are hoping the insurance company will give you a fair amount, that is not necessarily the best strategy.  The insurance company wants to keep the amount they pay you as low as possible.  Sometimes the amount they offer is simply not enough for the damage done.  Your attorney will determine what your case is worth then negotiate with the insurance companies and medical providers to ensure a fair amount for you.

What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

It is difficult to determine what your case is worth without sitting down with a personal injury attorney.  When considering your accident, your attorney will take two types of damages into account, economic and noneconomic.  The economic damages are everything that to which you can ascribe a number.  For instance, the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, etc.  The noneconomic damages are usually the more challenging part to calculate.  Noneconomic damages include all the intangible parts of your injury.  These intangible parts can differ depending on the severity of your injury.  For example, the impact of the injury on your life, scarring, age disability, etc. all of these things must be taken into account.

Statute of Limitations

When you’ve been the victim of an injury because of another person’s recklessness, there is a specified period in which you can take legal action.  This period is known as the statute of limitations.  For example, if you were the victim of a pedestrian accident, there is a time limit during which you can pursue a legal claim.  If this window passes, your opportunity to take legal action passes as well.  The statute of limitations differs depending on the state.   Utahcourts.gov  outlines you have four years from the time of the incident to pursue legal action.  Otherwise, your opportunity to take legal action will pass.  Because of this time limit, we want to help you get started with your case as soon as possible.

Free Consultations / Contingency

Following a pedestrian accident, you may not know if you have a viable case or not.  Here at The Advocates, we offer FREE CONSULTATIONS.  During this consultation, an attorney will sit down with you and discuss the specifics of your case.  The attorney will be able to resolve any questions or concerns that you might have as well.  If you are unable to come and meet with us, we can come and meet with you. Our attorneys also work on a contingency basis.  A contingency means that if you hire an Advocate, you will not need to worry about steep legal fees while you are trying to recover from your injury.  Our fees are a percentage of the final settlement we can get for you.

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