Auto Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Sometimes pedestrians seem to come out of nowhere, and you must slam on your brakes or swerve to avoid hitting them. However, if you cannot avoid them in time and find yourself involved in an accident with a pedestrian, you’ll need to know what to do.
A total of 5,295 traffic crashes had one or more pedestrian fatalities. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 1.6 hours and injured every 7.5 minutes in traffic crashes. In 2015, 15 percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
Tips For Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially people on the sidewalk and crosswalks.
- Be careful when you’re around people on bikes, rollerblades, scooters, and skateboards, as it may be harder for them to stop at intersections.
- Look out for pedestrians wearing headphones or distracted by something on their cell phone.
- Pay attention to younger children and older adults, as they may be less aware of pedestrian control signs and oncoming traffic.
- Make eye contact with pedestrians to let them know you see them.
- Give pedestrians extra time and room to get out of crosswalks and back onto the sidewalk.
Some examples of negligence on the pedestrian’s part include:
- Being in the crosswalk when it is not indicated for them to do so.
- Walking on the road instead of the sidewalk.
Some examples of negligence on the driver’s part include:
- Running a red light.
- Not coming to a full stop at a stop sign.
- Distracted driving (e.g. texting, talking on the phone, checking GPS, changing music, etc.).
What To Do And Not Do If In An Auto Accident With A Pedestrian
- DO stop your car. If you hit someone, you must stop. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident where there is an injury.
- DO get out of your car and check for injuries. If you can do so safely, put your emergency blinkers on and investigate the accident.
- DO give the pedestrian aid. Check the pedestrian for injuries. If he or she needs CPR or any other kind of aid that you can give, do so. Call 911.
- DO call the police. You should contact the police so that they can take statements from all the parties involved, as well as speak to any witnesses. You should contact the police even if the pedestrian walks off or refuses to exchange information because you do not want to be later accused of engaging in a hit and run.
- DON’T leave the scene of the accident. You must wait at the scene until you have exchanged information with the other party or the police or other medical units allow you to leave.
- DON’T throw away or hide any evidence. Anything that may be relevant to the accident or injury must be preserved.
- DO cooperate with all law enforcement and emergency responders. Do not get in their way. Doing so can only make matters worse by either aggravating any injuries or by making you look bad.
- DO exchange information with everyone involved in the accident. Write down the name, phone number, and address of all the people involved. If there is a witness, be sure to get his or her contact information as well in the event that he or she leaves before the police arrive, or the police officer does not include the information in his or her report.
- DO take photographs. Take pictures of any damage caused by the accident, as well as any injuries, if possible. Also be sure to take pictures of the surrounding area. Take as many pictures as you can, from as many different angles as you can. Get tips on taking accident scene photos.
- DO report the accident to your insurance company. Contact your automobile insurance company as soon as you can. Most insurance policies require you to report any incidents within 30 days.
- DON’T discuss the accident with anyone. At the accident scene, be careful what you say. And after the accident, do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone, including the other party’s attorney and any insurance company representative (including your own!). Do not apologize to the other party because this might be construed as evidence of fault. Before you speak with an insurance company representative, either yours or that of the other party, get your attorney’s authorization. If you have an attorney, never speak to the other party’s attorney. Inform the opposing attorney that you have retained counsel and provide his or her information.
- DO contact an attorney. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can. An experienced attorney will help guide you through the process.
- DON’T agree to a settlement without having discussed the terms with your attorney. The complete assessment of liability and the scope of injuries will not be known to you immediately. Wait to discuss your case with an attorney who is experienced with personal injury cases.
Hitting a pedestrian while driving a car is a scary occurrence, but not uncommon. It is important to remember that individuals who are not in a motor vehicle and are in the road are extremely vulnerable and more likely to be seriously injured than a driver.
If you take care to give pedestrians notice, room, and time to move out of your path, you may be able to avoid hitting a pedestrian. As a driver, it’s important to know what to do immediately after an accident with a pedestrian.
Contact us if you have been involved in an accident and need assistance.