When a pedestrian, walking or jogging, is hit by a car or other motor vehicle, the injuries can be severe if not fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 4,000 pedestrians are killed in collisions with motor vehicles each year.
In many cases, pedestrian accidents are caused by negligent and reckless drivers. Injured pedestrians and their families have a right to hold these drivers accountable and to recover compensation that can aid in their recovery.
The Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyers at Sevenish Law Firm can help you. Attorney Randall “Randy” Sevenish has been investigating and negotiating or litigating accident claims in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana since 1985. And before that, as a police officer, he investigated countless pedestrian and motor vehicle crashes. Contact our accident attorneys today to receive a free review of your pedestrian accident case and to learn more about your rights and options.
Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
To bring a claim for damages in Indiana, an injured pedestrian must prove negligence on the part of the automobile driver. An Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer can act quickly to preserve evidence and establish whether a driver’s fault caused a collision with you or your loved one. This evidence may establish that the driver:
- Failed to see the pedestrian because he or she was distracted (cell phone records, which can be subpoenaed, may indicate the driver was talking on the phone or texting)
- Was impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash (police reports, breath or blood test results, guilty pleas or jury verdicts are solid evidence)
- Ran a red light or stop sign, turned illegally or exceeded the speed limit (this may be established through red light camera footage and information from electronic data recorders, or black boxes)
- Failed to exercise care in a school zone or area where children were present (security camera footage and school bus camera footage may be available) and
- Many other potential legal theories that are too numerous to mention and remain factually sensitive on a case-by-case basis.
In many pedestrian accident cases, eyewitnesses can provide accounts that establish that a driver was to blame for a collision with a pedestrian.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Drivers and pedestrians both have responsibilities with regard to intersection crossings. In Indiana, pedestrians are subject to the traffic and pedestrian controls, such as “walk” and “don’t walk” signals, and under certain situations, must yield to drivers. Vehicle operators may not pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, and pedestrians have the right of way when crossing in crosswalks, under Indiana law (IC 9-21-17).
The number of pedestrians killed on roadways in the nation is not expected to decline in the coming year, and remains almost unchanged since 2013, according to a report issued by the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration. Many more Americans are walking, and the report urges continued vigilance and a combination of engineering, education and enforcement actions to better protect against pedestrian injuries.
The report recommends improving infrastructure by adding raised medians or
“refuge islands” to protect pedestrians, installing high-intensity, high-visibility, crosswalk signals, and limiting speed limits on streets and roadways where pedestrians are in danger due to the volume of fast-moving traffic.
The report revealed the virtually unchanging rate of pedestrian deaths nationwide over the past couple of years:
- January to June 2013: 2,141 Pedestrian Deaths (34 in Indiana)
- January to June 2014: 2,125 Pedestrian Deaths (37 in Indiana)
The study also revealed trends in pedestrian deaths in recent years:
- Pedestrian Accidents are 15 percent higher in 2014 than in 2009
- Since 2009, there has been a 28 percent surge in pedestrian deaths for individuals aged 20 to 69
- In 2013, 36 percent of pedestrian deaths involved drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more.
- 70 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Unfortunately, Indianapolis is ranked as one of the worst in the nation for preventable pedestrian accidents. A 2014 report by Smart Growth America, entitled “Dangerous by Design,” ranked the city as 25th most dangerous for pedestrians, based on the following data:
- 199: Total Pedestrian Deaths 2003-2012
- 16: Annual Pedestrian Deaths Per 100,000 (2008–2012)
- 6: Percent of People Commuting by Foot (2008–2012)
- 98: Pedestrian Danger Index (2008–2012)
Children and Older Adults
All pedestrians have some risk of injury, but the study established that children and older adults were at a far higher risk of being struck by a vehicle. A fatal pedestrian injury is a leading cause of death for children aged 15 and younger, and the most common cause of a traumatic brain injury for children aged 5 to 9. National statistics reveal the numbers:
- Almost 18,000 children are admitted to the hospital for pedestrian injuries each year.
- 11 percent of the 18,000 children admitted to the hospital need surgical intervention.
- Pedestrian death is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1–15.
- Pedestrian accidents are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries to children.
- 23 percent of children struck by cars suffer psychological harm.
Older adults comprise 12.6 percent of the population but account for almost 21 percent of traffic fatalities in pedestrian accidents. Older people no longer have the ability to move fast, react quickly, and potentially avoid a deadly impact. Often this segment of the population has given up driving, and public transportation and walking are more common. The statistics on older adults and pedestrian accidents reveal:
- Adults 75 and older are 6 percent of the population, but 12 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
- Adults 65 and older make up 12.6 percent of the population, and 21 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
- Indiana is ranked 41st in pedestrian accidents for adults 75 and older.
If you, your family member or a loved one has been hit by a vehicle, it is critical that you connect with an Indianapolis pedestrian accident attorney to assist you with the legal actions necessary to recover compensatory damages. At Sevenish Law Firm, our entire legal team is comprised of dedicated professionals that can help you seek justice and the maximum possible in compensation.
Seeking Compensation after Pedestrian Accidents
Traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other types of catastrophic injuries are common when a pedestrian is hit by a car.
Sevenish Law Firm, can review medical records and work with medical experts, life care planners and other professionals to establish the full extent of harm that an accident has caused you or a loved one and determine what would be full and fair compensation in your case.
If a motor vehicle driver caused the accident, a pedestrian may turn to the driver’s liability insurance coverage for payment of compensation. However, if the driver has no insurance or lacks enough insurance to pay for all of your losses, your own UM/UIM coverage can be relied on for compensation. It is important to have an Indianapolis pedestrian accident attorney review all insurance policies that may apply to your case.
With pedestrian accidents, additional issues may arise that must be carefully navigated, including:
- Comparative fault – Under Indiana law, a plaintiff who is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for an accident can be barred from recovering compensation. If the plaintiff is 50 percent or less at fault, the plaintiff’s recovery can be reduced in proportion to his or her degree of fault. Often, motor vehicle drivers try to pin blame on pedestrians, alleging the pedestrian darted into traffic or illegally crossed the road. These assertions must be aggressively challenged.
- Child injuries – If a child is the injured pedestrian, special steps must be taken in the process of pursuing compensation, including obtaining court approval of any settlement that exceeds $10,000.
- Wrongful death – If a pedestrian accident has resulted in a fatality, the surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim, which is governed by Indiana statutes that control who can bring the claim and the types of damages that can be recovered.
- Where did the pedestrian cross the roadway and why? Was it at a designated pedestrian crosswalk or somewhere else? What type and color of clothing was the pedestrian wearing? What time of day or night was it and what was the purpose of walking in that area at that particular time? Was the pedestrian under the influence of alcohol or medications at the time? These are just some of the questions that would be addressed in an initial consultation.
Contact an Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Sevenish Law Firm has extensive experience with representing injured pedestrians and the families of pedestrians who were killed in collisions with motor vehicles. Our Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyers know how to carefully guide a case through the many complex issues that can arise in these cases, and we are aggressive in seeking due compensation.
We promise every client we represent that we will do so with the integrity, honor, and discipline they deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today or through our online form. Our consultations are always free, and we will not charge for our legal services unless you recover compensation.