Each year, thousands of pedestrians are killed and tens of thousands are seriously injured in traffic-related accidents. Everyone is a pedestrian at some point, and this is when we are most vulnerable on the roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks. Unlike motorists, those who are walking do not have a steel cage to protect them, and when they are struck by a vehicle, bicycle, or object, there is not much that separates their bodies from the pavement.
Pedestrian accidents can be some of the deadliest incidents that occur, and for those who are hit while they are walking, this can be a life-altering experience. Medical bills start to pile up, and if the victim is a primary breadwinner in the household, missing work for an extended period of time can leave families with financial hardship. When this happens to someone and another party is at fault, they deserve to be compensated.
At the Zach Peagler Law Firm, we understand that pedestrian accidents can put a major physical, emotional, and financial strain on victims and their families, and we are here to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. We have in-depth experience representing clients who have suffered all types of personal injuries in Alabama, and we have a successful track record helping victims recovering maximum compensation.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
In most cases, pedestrian and crosswalk accidents are preventable. The majority of these accidents are caused by negligent motorists, although there are some that are the fault of the pedestrian or outside factors.
Some of the ways in which pedestrian accidents may be caused by a driver include:
Speeding: When a driver is speeding, the risk of a collision increases, because they need more time to stop the vehicle in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle or object. Collisions at higher speeds also tend to result in more serious and in the worst cases, fatal injuries.
Reckless Driving: Various forms of reckless driving are also common contributors to pedestrian accidents. Examples include excessive speeding, running stop lights or stop signs, failing to yield, illegal or dangerous turns, street racing, and many others.
Distracted Driving: Since smartphones became widely used, a growing number of motorists regularly send and receive texts and other types of electronic messages while driving. While all types of distracted driving can be dangerous, texting and similar activities bring this to a whole new level. Just looking down at your phone for 3 to 5 seconds is long enough to miss important things that happen on the road, such as a pedestrian crossing in front of the vehicle.
Drowsy Driving: A large percentage pedestrian accidents happen at night, and many of those that happen after dark are caused by drowsy or fatigued drivers. Drowsy driving is more common than most people believe, and this problem is especially bad among those who work long shifts that run into the evenings and overnights, and those who drive commercial vehicles for a living.
Drunk Driving: Driving while intoxicated is another common cause of pedestrian accidents, especially those that happen at night. Drivers who are intoxicated tend to get sleepy and have slower reaction times. Chemical impairment also alters a motorist’s state of mind, which generally results in much poorer driving decisions.
Here are a few ways a pedestrian might be responsible for a traffic related accident:
Distractions: Widespread smartphone use is not limited to just motorists; pedestrians deal with this issue as well. Some people out walking spend too much time sending and receiving electronic messages, taking photos, watching videos, and doing similar activities on their cell phones. This type of activity should be limited, and it should be avoided altogether when pedestrians cross the road.
Intoxication: Some pedestrians that are out walking at night are coming from restaurants, bars, and other establishments after having too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can be dangerous, because the chemical impairment can cause people to stumble and do other unpredictable things, and to not pay as much attention as they should.
Illegal or Improper Crossings: Pedestrians should always cross the street at designated intersections and crosswalks where they are legally allowed to do so. Crossing illegally is another unpredictable behavior that can catch a motorist off guard and lead to disastrous consequences.
There are also outside parties that are sometimes at fault for a pedestrian accident. For example, if the sidewalks or roads are poorly maintained and there are cracks, potholes, and similar hazards, the party who is responsible for maintaining the walkways and roads could potentially be held liable.
Another common example would be a faulty or defective vehicle or vehicle part that causes an accident. Some vehicle parts that are brand new break down shortly after they are installed. This could happen with a brand-new set of tires in which one of them blows out right away, a new braking system that fails to stop the vehicle, and any number of other part failures.
When a pedestrian accident is due to the failure of a dangerous or defective product, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the faulty product.
Alabama Pedestrian Accident Injury Claims
When someone is seriously injured in a pedestrian crash and it was caused by someone else, they have the right to seek compensation in the form of damages. Compensatory damages can be recovered not only for direct monetary losses such as medical costs, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, but also for noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
In more limited cases in which the actions of the person or party that caused the crash were willful, malicious, or grossly negligent, punitive damages may also be awarded. Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather to punish the wrongdoer and help discourage similarly egregious actions in the future.
Pursuing a pedestrian accident injury claim in Alabama can be especially challenging because of the state’s “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident, they can be barred from recovering damages. This is a very difficult standard to meet, and with so much at stake, it is absolutely essential to get an experienced attorney involved in your case as soon as possible. Otherwise, your right to recover compensation could be jeopardized.
Speak with a Seasoned Birmingham, AL Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian crash, the Zach Peagler Law Firm is here to help. We will work hard to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve, and we will handle all of the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on your recovery. Throughout the process, we provide frequent updates on the progress of your case, and we are always available whenever you need to reach out to us with questions or concerns.
To schedule a free consultation with our attorney, message us online or call our office today at (205) 871-9990. We look forward to serving you!
The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.