What You Should Know About Pedestrian Crashes
In the United States, a fatal pedestrian accident occurs about once every 88 minutes. Statistically, these incidents are much more fatal than car crashes because pedestrians are completely exposed to danger.
Making matters worse, many pedestrian accidents occur on semi-rural roads. As a result, first responders do not reach the scene straightaway. A few ticks on the clock could literally be the difference between life and death.
Due to the serious nature of pedestrian injuries, a Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation in these matters. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Speed is one of the leading contributing factors to pedestrian injuries. At impact speeds under 30mph, the pedestrian fatality rate is about 20 percent. At 60mph or greater, the death rate catapults to 90 percent.
High velocity also increases the risk of a collision. At 30mph, a vehicle’s safe stopping distance is about six car lengths. At 60mph, sage stopping distance multiples to eighteen car lengths. Certain factors, such as vehicle size and weather conditions, increase safe stopping distance even further.
Alcohol also plays a prominent role in pedestrian crashes. This substance impairs motor skills and clouds judgement ability. So, impaired drivers are less able to react to changing situations and more likely to take unnecessary risks.
There is a difference between alcohol intoxication and alcohol impairment. Most people are intoxicated after three or four drinks. But dangerous impairment begins with the first sip of alcohol.
Most pedestrian injury claims involve the ordinary negligence doctrine and the sudden emergency defense.
Ordinary negligence is basically a lack of care. Most noncommercial operators in Florida have a duty of reasonable care. They must avoid accidents when possible, obey the rules of the road, and drive defensively. Most commercial operators, like Uber and taxi drivers, have a higher duty of care.
Most pedestrian accidents involve a simple failure to look. Right turn wrecks are a good example. When drivers make right turns on red lights, they normally only look to the left. As a result, these motorists might not see pedestrians who are crossing the street with the green light.
Such wrecks might involve the negligence per se rule as well. Tortfeasors are presumptively liable for damages if they violate safety laws, like failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, and that violation substantially causes injuries.
Negligence forms the victim/plaintiff’s prima facie case. In response, the insurance company can use a number of defenses. Sudden emergency is one of the most common ones in these situations. This legal loophole excuses negligence if the tortfeasor (negligent driver):
- Reasonably reacted to
- A sudden emergency.
That first prong usually applies in pedestrian accidents. When they hit people, most drivers pull over and wait for emergency responders to arrive.
But the second prong is different. A jaywalking pedestrian is usually not a “sudden emergency” in this context. That label applies to hood fly-ups, lightning strikes, and other completely unanticipated events.
Count on an Experienced Lawyer
Pedestrian accidents often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters throughout the Treasure Coast area.