Our roads are crowded with more and more vehicles every year, and people always seem to be in a hurry. Sharing the road is vitally important. Drivers have the utmost obligation to those most at risk: pedestrians.
It is vital to keep the safety of those not protected inside of vehicles in mind because if an accident occurs, their consequences will usually be the worst. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 75,000 pedestrian accidents in the United States each year resulting in over 5,000 deaths. That is equivalent to one pedestrian killed every 105 minutes or every hour and a half. Pedestrian injuries occur every seven minutes or less.
Similar to difficulties in observing motorcycles, if you don’t expect to see a pedestrian, your brain will often ignore them even though they may be right in front of you. It’s possible the eye won’t get around to focusing on the pedestrian long enough for the brain to actually process it until it is too late. This odd phenomenon is known as selective attention. For more details on the science of selective attention see the link below.
Accidents where an individual is struck by a vehicle often cause significant injury even in minor collisions. Ordinarily a pedestrian does not have the benefit of any protection or defense against the vehicle more than trying to jump out of its way.
Unfortunately these accidents are all too common, especially in commercial and tourist areas (beaches, parks, and street side shops) that have heavy pedestrian traffic. Often drivers are visitors that are unfamiliar with such heavy pedestrian traffic and/or are distracted by looking for their own destination and fail to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians. Fortunately, the law is clear that pedestrians almost always have the right-of-way and drivers need to keep a lookout to avoid running into or over pedestrians.
Another unfortunate victim of many pedestrian accidents is children on their way to school.
School buses are often the safest way for children to travel to and from school; however, there are dangers when children are boarding and leaving the bus. Over the last decade, nearly two-thirds of school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school transportation-related crashes were struck by the bus or another vehicle when getting on or off a school bus. There are four easy steps to help your child or anyone using public busing to stay “SAFE”:
When dealing with school buses, governmental school districts are often involved. There are special rules which partially protect the government from lawsuits. The doctrine that protects them is called sovereign immunity and it carries with it special rules. It comes from the olden days when there were sovereign kings and queens—you couldn’t sue royalty. We created law to hold everyone accountable and we don’t have kings or queens, but the government kept the idea and modified it. The rules they kept include shorter deadlines and notice requirements that can jeopardize your claim if you fail to meet them, and there may also be a maximum limit that the government will be required to pay regardless of your injuries. Over the years we have handled claims against counties, cities, police, fire departments, and even the US Postal Service.
The damages you are able to recover are the same as in other negligence cases: lost wages, medical bills, future medical costs, property damage losses, and damages for pain, suffering and lost capacity for the enjoyment of life due to permanent injuries. If the injured individual is married, their spouse may also recover for the loss of support and consortium.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian-vehicle crash, please give us a call for further assistance. Our accident cases are always handled on a contingency fee basis, and there is never a fee charged unless there is a recovery for you.
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