Like any accident that occurs on the road, pedestrian accidents can prove to have serious and life-threatening consequences. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, or if your loved one lost his life due to the same, and in either situation, the driver was negligent, then you have rights. You need to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer in Montgomery, Alabama. Insurance companies will try to blame you for contributing to the accident, and if successful, you won’t see a penny for your pain. Our excellent Montgomery injury lawyers at The Vance Law Firm can answer your questions and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents In Montgomery
Pedestrian accidents are caused by both motorists and pedestrians, and oftentimes it’s a combination of poor conduct on the side of both parties. Other times, it could be an environmental matter or mechanical issue. The following is a summary of the causes of accidents by motorists and pedestrians.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents by Motorists
- Distracted Driving – Driving while distracted is a primary cause for all kinds of accidents involving vehicles, and it is no different if it involves a pedestrian. Too often motorists are on their phones, eating, grooming, chatting with passengers, distracted by a pet in their car, or, one of the worst distractions of all, texting.
- Impaired Driving – Too many times a driver is impaired when he drifts into another lane or loses control of the car because he’s been drinking or doing drugs.
- Fatigue Driving or Asleep – Driving while drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel is a real problem today. Too many people are tired, overworked, and stressed. When drowsy, a driver of a vehicle pays less attention to his surroundings because he’s too busy trying to keep his eyes open.
- Lots can happen when a driver fails to obey speed limits. He may not see a pedestrian in time and lose control of the car, or if a traffic light turns red, he may not stop in time before pedestrians start crossing the street.
- Failure to Yield the Right of Way – When a driver is impatient or inattentive, he may fail to yield the right of way to a pedestrian and strike him.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents by Pedestrians
- Improper Crossing Over – Pedestrians who are impatient may attempt to cross the road at improper locations and/or times, outside of designated crosswalks. Drivers who are not paying attention or simply can’t stop in enough time for whatever reason may strike the individual, and the fault will not lie solely on the driver. Therefore, the pedestrian will receive zilch in any third-party claim.
- Under the Influence – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reports that walking while under the influence or intoxicated is a significant factor in many pedestrian accidents.
Many times, pedestrian accidents involve motorists and persons on the job, which includes construction or road workers, police officers, emergency responders, and other similar workers. Their jobs are dangerous by the very situations they are placed in.
Pedestrian Dangers & Injuries
We are all pedestrians, and yet injuries and death rates keep rising for pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, 1 pedestrian was killed every 2 hours, and 1 pedestrian was injured every 7 minutes. In fact, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities were pedestrians. The data shows that in 2015, 5,376 deaths were due to pedestrian accidents. That was a 10 percent increase from 2014.
Even in Alabama, the injury and death rate is on the rise. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, the most current available data show that in 2014, there were 816 total pedestrian accidents that resulted in 623 injuries and 95 deaths. That was an increase of 67 percent for deaths, but a decrease only of 2 percent for injuries from the previous year. A 10-year comparison shows a 28 percent increase in deaths and a 10 percent increase in injuries.
Pedestrian accidents occur anytime, day or night, and anywhere, whether in rural Alabama or urban Montgomery, but the majority occur in urban areas at night. Injuries and deaths are non-discriminate, too. Women, men, and children of all ages are victims.
|Pedestrians Involved in Crashes by Age (Alabama Department of Transportation, 2014)|
Among the common types of injuries resulting from pedestrian accidents are:
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Injuries tend to be much worse because pedestrians have no protection whatsoever, thus the rate of high injuries and deaths per pedestrian crash.
Pedestrian v. Driver: Duty of Care, Rights & Requirements
Drivers owe a duty of care to everyone using or around the roads, including pedestrians. Pedestrians, too, have a duty of care for fellow pedestrians and motorists. Likewise, both have certain rights and complementary responsibilities in certain situations.
Pedestrians have a legal and moral duty to adhere to traffic laws that pertain to them. Pedestrians are responsible and must also stay aware of their surroundings, paying special attention to motor vehicles in their vicinity. Alabama Code Sections 32-5A-210 to 32-5A-222 dictate the rights and responsibilities to which pedestrians are bound. These codes address the rights pedestrians have to cross the street at intersections and designated crosswalks, providing when and where it is appropriate. Additionally, the codes instruct when pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to motor vehicles, particularly if they cross at undesignated areas or outside of a marked crosswalk, or when they are subject to traffic lights, do not walk or wait for signals, and other traffic signs or rules that would affect a pedestrian.
Alabama law requires motorists to yield the right-of-way when a pedestrian is in a designated crosswalk. That said no matter what the circumstances, motorists have the responsibility to yield to a pedestrian even when the pedestrian is not crossing a street properly, and thus endangering his life and others. Motorists have an additional responsibility to honk their horn to alert the pedestrian that the motorist is in the vicinity.
Breach of Duty of Care
When a pedestrian or motorist breaches the duty of care and an accident results, and that breach is the proximal cause of the accident, then that party is at fault. Alabama, however, is unlike most other states in the United States. It still conforms to the doctrine of contributory negligence. Under this doctrine, if the victim is so much as 1 percent at fault, then the victim recovers nothing from the other party. This puts a huge burden on victims of pedestrian accidents. Not only are their injuries likely to be worse than any other kind of traffic or vehicle accident, but oftentimes they may share some of the blame, or at least the insurance company is going to do all in its power to put the blame, or some of it, on the pedestrian.
If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident in Montgomery, Alabama, you need to hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney well versed in personal injury matters. We, at The Vance Law Firm, have years of experience. We are also resourceful and aggressive. We treat your plight as our plight and fight to obtain your just rewards.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Alabama is not full of cities that are “walkable.” In fact, the highest walking score is in Birmingham with a score of 40 out of 100. Montgomery, Alabama receives a 26, and the average Alabamian town receives a 22. Walkability in Alabama, therefore, is generally poor. You can use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s checklist to determine how safe and “walkable” your community is.
Given the dim review of Montgomery’s walkability, the first and best, even if abstract, piece of advice we can provide is: follow the law. If you follow the law, you are moving in the right direction towards safety. Regardless if you are the pedestrian or driver, if you both are obeying the laws, then harm should hopefully come to no one. Below are some basic and common sense tips that you as a pedestrian can do to stay safe.
- Obey the rules. Cross the street only at designated crosswalks. Use traffic signals. Yield the right-of-way when appropriate. Even if the cross signal says you can go, don’t trust that motorists will obey, always look as you cross, too.
- Use the sidewalks. Always use the sidewalk, it’s at least some protection against pedestrian accidents. If there is no sidewalk, then walk facing oncoming traffic and stay to the extreme left or right, depending on which way you are walking.
- Make eye contact. If you can, make eye contact with nearby motorists so that you can confirm they see you. Alternatively, always behave in a manner that assumes drivers cannot see you. You are, ultimately, responsible for your own safety and well-being.
- Don’t be distracted. Refrain from texting or reading texts as you walk, or wearing headphones and singing as you walk, or any other kind of behavior that will distract you from paying attention to your surroundings and where you are going.
- Dress appropriately. If you know you’ll be out walking, particularly towards dusk or dark, wear bright colored clothes. You can even purchase reflectors to wear so that cars can see you better in the dark, especially when there are minimal street lamps.
- Don’t walk if intoxicated. You don’t want to walk if intoxicated or on drugs. Stay put. Get someone to come to get you. According to NHTSA, a good many pedestrian deaths are a result of pedestrians being under the influence or intoxicated.
Frequently Asked Questions About Montgomery Pedestrian Accidents
You likely have many questions, and we hopefully have the right answers for you. Review the following, but if you still have questions, feel free to contact the pedestrian accident lawyer at The Vance Law Firm.
What do I do if I get hit by a car?
No one expects to walk out their door, whether it’s their home or a business, and be injured in a pedestrian traffic accident. What you do after it happens generally depends on the seriousness of it. If you’ve been critically injured, then you’ll likely be taken to the hospital. After you are able to move around, you want to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer immediately.
On the other hand, if you are able to move after the accident occurs, you want to do the following:
- Call 911 if you need medical attention or the police.
- Take information, including the vehicle owner’s/driver’s name, address, phone number, license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
- Take information from any witnesses.
- Take pictures.
You may or may not be able to perform all of the above tasks, depending on your circumstances, which is why it is all the more important to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer immediately who will begin the investigative process for you. You’ll need all the evidence you can if you want to win a claim. The other party’s insurance is likely to do everything it can to minimize the amount paid to you if anything at all. In Alabama, the insurance company is likely to try at all costs to blame the accident partly on you.
On the contrary, if you were hit by an at-fault driver, but the driver hit and then ran, you may be able to make a claim with your own auto insurance company.
We, at The Vance Law Firm, are experienced pedestrian accident lawyers who understand Alabama personal injury law. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will guide you through the claims process and aggressively advocate for your right to receive full compensation.
If an immediate family member has been injured or killed by a motorist when he was a pedestrian, do I have any rights?
If your family member died, you have rights. You have the right to file a claim for wrongful death and loss of consortium. If your family member was injured, then the injured party has the right to file a claim or lawsuit.
How soon do I need to make a claim or file a lawsuit?
According to Alabama law, Code of Alabama section 6-2-38, the statute of limitations is 2 years, and the clock starts immediately on the day of the accident. This statute of limitations applies to all accidents in association with vehicles. Therefore, no matter if you were a pedestrian or a cyclist hit by a car, or run over by a car, you or your family member has only 2 years to file a claim or lawsuit.
What happens if I am a pedestrian and I cause the accident?
Regardless of any situation, whether the pedestrian has the right or not, motorists in Alabama must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk. If an accident ensues, however, and the pedestrian was walking when he should not have been walking, then there’s a contributory negligence problem.
As above-mentioned, in Alabama, if the victim contributes at least 1 percent to the proximal cause of the accident, the victim cannot claim damages. This law can cause serious financial and emotional woes of victims of vehicle accidents generally, and pedestrian accidents particularly because of the higher probability of sustaining greater and life-threatening injuries. The latter is also why it is so important for pedestrians to conduct themselves in a lawful and cautious manner while walking through the streets and on the road of Montgomery, Alabama, and its surrounding areas.
What Can a Montgomery Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Do For You?
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Montgomery, Alabama, you should contact our office. Our pedestrian accident lawyers can provide the following services for you in the event the other party was at-fault:
- Detailed investigation of the site (such as returning to the scene to find if there were skid marks, or not, because if no skid marks, it could suggest the driver failed to try to stop in enough time) to determine what exactly happened.
- Evidence preservation, such as driver’s cell phone records, and evidence gathering, such as eyewitness testimony, to link causation with the at-fault party(s).
- Identification of all responsible parties.
- Conduct interviews and provide accident reconstruction reports.
- Analysis of insurance policies to determine if you should file a first-party or third-party claim or both.
- Analysis of economic and non-economic damages to ensure you receive the right compensation package.
- Thorough legal analysis and preparation of your claim or your lawsuit.
- Aggressive advocacy throughout the entire process.
Retain an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s careless, negligent or reckless conduct and are seeking assistance, contact a pedestrian accident lawyer at The Vance Law Firm. We’re experienced. We’re aggressive. We’re resourceful. Call today to speak with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer about your accident.