Indiana and other major cities across the country are redesigning their streetscapes to better accommodate pedestrians. This follows the revelation that serious accidents involving pedestrians have been on the rise for years.
On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes, based on sobering statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes are pedestrians.
What Are the Laws on Pedestrian Right-of-Way in Indiana?
As a pedestrian, you have the right-of-way only when you’re already in the street, according to the University of Indiana. Indiana state law prohibits you from stepping into the path of a car that is so close as to be an immediate hazard. And if you’re crossing anywhere other than within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection, you must yield the right-of-way. If all lanes of traffic aren’t clear enough to give you time to cross the street, you cannot step out into the roadway.
- Vehicles are prohibited to overtake another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians have to obey all traffic control devices unless otherwise specified by a police officer.
- Pedestrians must yield to oncoming traffic if there is no marked crosswalk or path.
- Pedestrians cannot walk along the shoulder or edge of a road with a functioning sidewalk.
- Motorists are responsible to yield to blind pedestrians at all times.
If you are a pedestrian who has been hit by a motor vehicle in Indiana, your injuries may have been caused by someone else’s negligence. You need the skills of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to hold reckless, careless drivers accountable. The Indiana personal injury firm of Truitt Law Offices is ready to stand up for your rights so you can focus on overcoming your physical and emotional injuries.
What Should I Do If I Have Hit a Pedestrian While Driving?
Hitting a pedestrian is most drivers’ worst nightmare. The potential for serious injuries when a car strikes a person can be very high. The possible outcomes of a bad accident can be too horrible to contemplate.
As with any car accident, there are key steps that a driver should try to follow. Hitting a pedestrian is, understandably, a shocking experience, but it is better to try to respond calmly and methodically to ensure the best possible outcome.
- Call for medical help.
- Call the police.
- Document the accident, taking photos if necessary.
- Contact your insurance company.
- Be careful what you say.
Of course, you should be honest and straightforward when telling your version of the events to police. If you were breaking traffic laws when the accident happened, you might face serious charges. Trying to point fingers elsewhere may not help your case, even if the pedestrian is found at fault for the incident.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Hit By a Car While on Foot?
If you are a pedestrian injured in a motor vehicle accident you should follow the same steps outlined above. Realize that the driver has an incentive to divert fault to you and others. Avoid giving statements to drivers or insurers until a pedestrian accident lawyer has been consulted. Any information you provide may be used to craft a defense against you.
How Do Most Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Often, there can be more than one factor playing into a pedestrian vs. vehicle accident. Some of the more common driver errors causing pedestrian injury or fatality include:
- Inexperienced or New Drivers – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and many other organizations find repeatedly that age 16 through 19-year-olds are responsible for more accidents than any other age group.
- Illegal U-Turns – U-turns are often illegal in areas where low visibility or speed of traffic prevents the necessary observation for safe turning.
- Failure to Follow School Zone Driving Practices – Each year, there are many pedestrian accidents during the hectic minutes before and after school. This is particularly true when kids are getting off and on school buses.
- Failure to Make a Full Stop at Intersections – The rolling stop may feel like a harmless infraction, but stop signs and traffic signals exist to force drivers to stop and take full account of their surroundings – including pedestrians – before moving forward.
- Speeding, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs of Alcohol, and Distracted Driving – These are the big three of car crashes. Distracted driving is a cause in many car accidents involving pedestrians.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Related to a Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrians hit by automobiles are often injured twice in the collision – first from the initial impact of the moving vehicle hitting the body, and again when the force of that impact propels the body into a solid object.
Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Torn and sprained ligaments
- Scalp lacerations, contusions and abrasions
- Contusions, abrasions and lacerations of the face and hands
- Fractures of the legs, ribs, arms, hips and pelvis
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
What Evidence Is Needed in a Pedestrian Accident Case?
When you’re injured as a pedestrian, you are likely to be stunned, disoriented, possibly unconscious and in some degree of pain. Chances are that gathering evidence is the last thing on your mind. But, if you are able, try to capture some of the pertinent pieces of evidence that may help a pedestrian accident lawyer reconstruct the scene and represent your best interests:
- Location at a designated pedestrian crosswalk or somewhere else
- Color and type of clothing
- Time of day/night
- Anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol
In Indiana, a plaintiff in any personal injury case must prove that they were no more than 50 percent at fault.
Special steps are taken throughout the recovery compensation process when a child is the injured pedestrian, and this often includes obtaining a court’s approval of a settlement that exceeds $10,000.
When a pedestrian accident does result in death then it is possible for the victim’s loved ones to pursue a wrongful death claim. These claims are regulated by Indiana’s state statutes in terms of who can bring about this type of claim and the compensation of the damages that could potentially be recovered.
Legal Help for Victims of Pedestrian Accidents
If you’ve been hurt as a pedestrian by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to significant compensation under Indiana state law.
At Truitt Law Offices, we’ve been representing injured people for 40 years with a solid record of success. With offices in Indiana, we’re strategically located to help you and pursue the just compensation you deserve.
We’re available 24/7 – in person or virtually – and stand ready to pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, scarring, pain and suffering. Contact us now for a free claim review.