Pedestrian accidents occur with increasing and alarming frequency, accounting for nearly 15 percent of traffic fatalities. More than 25 percent of pedestrian accidents happen between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. when it is dark or getting dark and the roads are still busy with cars and people on foot. For unknown reasons, more males are victims of pedestrian accidents. Being a young child or an elderly person also puts you at elevated risk, the former because of impulsivity, the latter because of slower reflexes and possible mobility issues. In any case, far too many pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run events.
Obviously, when a car and a person collide, the pedestrian is far more vulnerable to severe injury or fatality than the driver or passengers of the car. If you or someone you love has been hit by a car or other motor vehicle, it is natural to be overwhelmed and confused. Cummings Law, located in Nashville, is prepared to take over all the complex legal and insurance aspects of your case while you and your family focus on healing from the trauma or tragedy. Brian Cummings is a savvy negotiator and sharp personal injury litigator who will fight aggressively for your right to obtain the full compensation you deserve.
Who’s at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?
The majority of pedestrian accidents are caused by drivers, but some of the time pedestrians are at least partially to blame. Under Tennessee law, pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections and driveways. Pedestrians are expected, however, to behave responsibly, obeying signals and using sidewalks where they are available. When a pedestrian crosses the road at an intersection, he or she should do so in the crosswalk if one exists. If a person crosses the street anywhere that is not an intersection, the car has the right of way. Also, on streets without sidewalks, pedestrians are charged with facing traffic as they walk. Nonetheless, no matter what the circumstances, motorists are expected to be alert for unexpected occurrences.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are a number of reasons for the increasing number of pedestrian accidents in Tennessee and elsewhere throughout the country. These include:
- Distracted driving and walking (electronic devices have greatly worsened this problem)
- More heavily trafficked and populated streets, particularly in cities
- Drunk or drug-impaired drivers and pedestrians
- Drivers who speed or drive recklessly
- Drivers who fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Drivers or pedestrians who disobey traffic signs or signals
- Drivers who fail to signal while turning
- Drivers who disregard weather or traffic conditions
- Drivers who are sleepy, exhausted, or inattentive
There also appear to be an increasing number of pedestrian accidents involving cars that jump curbs or even crash into storefronts, hitting and severely injuring or killing innocent pedestrians in the process. Pedestrian accidents are also not uncommon along rural roads, particularly at night. These accidents often involve inattentive or impaired drivers and pedestrians wearing dark clothing and walking with, rather than facing, traffic.
Other factors may also contribute to pedestrian accidents, such as icy or poorly maintained roads, defective traffic signals, or the presence of an animal or obstacle on the road. Most of the time, however, human error is to blame.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When you are the victim of a pedestrian accident, you stand little chance of escaping severe, even catastrophic, injury. Even a slow-moving vehicle can cause you great harm. With even slightly increased speed, the impact of the car can easily result in you permanent disability or death.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the most common pedestrian injuries are:
- Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries
- Fractures of the leg, hip and pelvis
- Other musculoskeletal injuries
- Chest and abdominal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Because pedestrians have no protection against a moving vehicle and rarely have time to get out of its way, their injuries have increased likelihood of being disastrous, resulting in paralysis, loss of limb, loss of hearing or eyesight, cognitive impairment or death. If you have suffered a life-altering injury in a pedestrian accident, or a loved one has died as the result of such an event, you owe it to yourself and your family to engage the services of an astute pedestrian accident attorney.
Cummings Law Will Win You All Damages You Are Entitled to Receive
If a driver has been largely or entirely responsible for your injuries, you are entitled to receive compensatory damages. Compensatory damages come in two categories: economic and non-economic.
- Economic damages reimburse you for all monetary expenses related to your injuries. These damages will differ according to your age and the nature of your injury and may include: medical and rehabilitative costs, lost income, loss of future earning power, property damage, cost of long-term care, funeral and burial costs.
- Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are designed to compensate you for things that are not as easy to assign monetary value, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement or impairment, loss of companionship or consortium, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are only awarded in cases in which the court finds the party who harmed you acted with extreme recklessness or with malicious or fraudulent intent.
Modified Comparative Fault
Tennessee, like the majority of states, uses the laws of Modified Comparative Fault which allow the court to determine the percentage of fault attributable to each party. While in most cases, the motorist bears the bulk of responsibility for a pedestrian accident, in some cases, both parties may be found to be partially at fault. According to the statutes of Modified Comparative Fault, as long as you are found to be less than 50 percent responsible for the crash, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, but the damages you are awarded will be decreased by your percentage of responsibility. If, for example, the court finds you to be 10 percent to blame and you are awarded $1,000,000, you will end up with a $900,000 settlement. If you are found to bear over 50 percent of the blame for the accident, though this is extremely rare in pedestrian accidents, you will not receive any compensation for your injuries.
Contact A Pedestrian Accident Attorney!
At Cummings Law our powerful negotiation and litigation techniques are well-known and we have the experience to know which strategies will be most convincing to the court. We have the experience and resources to accumulate physical and photographic evidence of the accident, gather police reports and medical data, interview witnesses, and bring in experts whose testimony will be helpful. Don’t forget, since we work on a contingency basis, you will not owe us any attorneys’ fees unless we win your case and we have a history of winning substantial compensation for pedestrian accident victims. You can reach us by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website.