Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Connecticut and all across America. In 2017 alone, 5,977 pedestrians or about one every 88 minutes lost their lives in traffic accidents in the United States. In addition to the fatalities, it’s estimated that 137,000 pedestrians received treatment in emergency departments for nonfatal crash-related injuries in the same year. Furthermore, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be fatally injured in a car accident.
If you or someone you love were recently injured in such an accident, you might be entitled to damages. You can find out more about your rights by scheduling a consultation with a well-versed Bridgeport pedestrian accident attorney at Bert McDowell Injury Law. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Pedestrians Rights and Responsibilities in Connecticut
Since 1929, Connecticut laws have protected pedestrians in crosswalks by providing them the right of way. A pedestrian usually has the right of way over any vehicle while at the curb of or in a crosswalk. Cars and other motor vehicles, including buses, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles, must slow down or stop in front of a crosswalk when a pedestrian is using or is about to use a crosswalk. Vehicles must remain stationary until the pedestrian has completely crossed the street or has reached a “zone of safety.” However, the “zone of safety” isn’t defined in the statute.
- Connecticut drivers must yield to pedestrians when they:
- Are within any portion of the crosswalk
- Step to the curb at a crosswalk’s entrance and indicate their intent to cross by raising their hand and arm toward oncoming traffic
- Indicate their intent to cross by moving into the crosswalk’s entrance any body part or any extension of a body part, to include a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, crutch, bicycle, electric bicycle, stroller, carriage, cart, or leashed or harnessed dog.
- Pedestrians must:
- Yield the right of way to all vehicles when they aren’t in a crosswalk
- Yield the right of way to all emergency vehicles that indicate with flashing lights or sound that they are operating under emergency conditions
- Not cross intersections diagonally
- Use the right-hand side of crosswalks whenever possible
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Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
Pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur in some areas than in others. For example:
- About ¾ of pedestrian accidents happen in urban areas
- Nearly 70 percent occur away from intersections
- More than half occur at night, with the largest percentage of crashes occurring between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m.
Most pedestrian accidents involve a single vehicle hitting a pedestrian. Less than ten percent involve multiple vehicles. In most pedestrian accidents:
- Pedestrians often get hit by the front of a vehicle rather than its rear or sides.
- Cars and light trucks are responsible for most front-impact pedestrian accidents.
- When side and rear impacts happen, a large truck or bus is usually involved.
The reality is that a pedestrian accident can happen anywhere at any time. Drivers need to be vigilant and remember that they share the road with many other motorists and also pedestrians. A determined pedestrian accident lawyer in Bridgeport can investigate the circumstances of a collision and fight tirelessly to hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries.
What Types of Injuries are Common in Pedestrian Accidents?
Severe and even catastrophic injuries are too often the result of pedestrian crashes in Connecticut. Usually, pedestrian accidents cause much more than a simple, painful bruise or bump. Pedestrian accident injuries frequently lead to considerable medical expenses, months in rehabilitative therapy, and even the potential need for lifelong nursing care.
In most car accidents, passenger vehicle occupants have the protection of seatbelts, airbags, and other safety and protective devices mechanisms. On the other hand, pedestrians have little to no protection in such an accident. The pedestrian is the most vulnerable party in this situation, which causes them to potentially sustain many severe or even fatal bodily injuries, including:
- Soft tissue injuries, including whiplash
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Internal organ damage
- Severe bleeding
- Road rash PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Herniated discs
- Coma Head and neck injuries
- Severe burns
These injuries can arise not only from the initial hit from the vehicle but also from the collateral consequences of a crash. In fact, over half of pedestrian accident injuries happen after the initial contact with the vehicle. For example, when the pedestrian victim hits the ground or makes contact with other objects in the immediate area. Even still, the driver responsible for the accident is liable for these secondary injuries. A skilled Bridgeport pedestrian accident lawyer can help you establish your injuries within your accident claim, even if they weren’t caused by the initial contact with the liable party’s vehicle.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Although most people might think the weather is a common contributor to pedestrian accidents, it’s not. Almost 90 percent of pedestrian accidents happen in ideal weather conditions when rain, fog, or snow is absent. So, what causes pedestrian accidents?
Most pedestrian accidents can be traced back to a failure to follow a duty of or negligence. Negligence can take on many forms, including:
- Alcohol and drug use: Almost half of all pedestrian-related deaths involve alcohol, whether consumption is by the driver or the pedestrian. Drug use, including illegal and prescription drugs, can also impair drivers and result in pedestrian accidents.
- Higher vehicle speeds: The faster a vehicle travels, the greater the chances are of a pedestrian being struck and that the resulting injuries will be severe or even fatal.
- Distracted driving: Texting, talking on a phone, using audio controls within the vehicle, or checking a GPS all cause driver distraction and can lead to serious accidents.
- Failure to yield: When drivers don’t yield to pedestrians at crosswalks or yield to traffic signs and signals, including not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or running through a red light, the chances of pedestrian accidents increase.
- Turn signals: Simply forgetting or failing to signal while driving can increase the likelihood of an accident.
- Road conditions: Failing to adjust driving behavior for certain weather and traffic conditions.
Keep in mind, however, that if the pedestrian had been behaving recklessly, a court might determine they are partially at fault for one or more of the following:
- Disregarding the “stop” signal at the intersection or failing to obey other traffic rules
- Walking through traffic, making drivers stop suddenly to avoid a crash, or quickly darting out in front of vehicles
- Failure to use crosswalks
- Standing and remaining in the middle of a crosswalk or road
- Use the road to cross when a sidewalk is obviously nearby.
- Using an electronic device, such as a cellphone, GPS, or MP3 player, while walking and not paying attention
Both parties may have acted negligently in these circumstances and may share some amount of fault in a pedestrian accident. A common scenario is when a pedestrian begins to cross the street illegally, for instance, not in a crosswalk, and the driver is traveling much above the speed limit, making it impossible to stop in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
Suppose you were hit by a driver and could have some fault in the accident for something you did or didn’t do. In that case, it’s in your best interest to speak to a seasoned Bridgeport pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help determine your degree of fault and help protect your legal rights and options. It’s crucial to note that even if you are somewhat liable, you may still be able to collect compensation for your damages.
What to Do after a Pedestrian Accident
What you do or don’t do after a pedestrian accident will impact the success of your injury claim. Always seek any necessary medical care first. Doing so is imperative to your health and well-being, as well as your legal rights and options. Take steps to document your injuries as soon as possible.
Next, preserve or take photos of any evidence that you can, including accident scene, bloody clothing, broken shoes, and your injuries, no matter how minor they may seem. If EMTs come to the scene and want you to ride in the ambulance to the hospital, follow their advice. You can always return to the scene later or ask someone to do so on your behalf to collect other evidence.
Once you are medically stable, contact a Bridgeport pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. With representation from legal counsel, you will decrease the chances that your claim will be denied or that you will settle for less than your accident is worth. It’s best not to speak to any insurance adjusters until you have received legal advice.
Do You Need a Seasoned Bridgeport Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
If you need an experienced Bridgeport pedestrian accident attorney, look no further than Bert McDowell Injury Law. We’ve helped countless pedestrian accident victims recover the compensation they deserved for their damages, and we can help you. We are available to take your call anytime or you may reach us online. Whatever you do, don’t put off getting legal help. Your rights are time-barred under Connecticut laws.