Pedestrian Accident Lawyers in Seattle
Seattle is a city made for walking. There’s nothing better than the sights and sounds experienced while traveling on foot, but walking has its risks. Crosswalks, traffic signals, and sidewalks are in place to keep pedestrians safe, but many Seattle drivers pay little attention to signals, and recklessly speed through intersections, endangering the lives of pedestrians.
In an impact between car and pedestrian, the pedestrian is likely to be seriously or fatally injured. If you were struck by a vehicle due to the negligence of its driver, you can seek monetary compensation. We at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., sincerely hope you never need our services. But should an unfortunate event occur, you will receive our support and guidance. Just call our Seattle pedestrian accident lawyers at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation.
Washington Pedestrian Injury Case Results
- $385,000 recovery for a man struck by a snowplow while walking to his car in Renton, WA.
- $345,000 recovery for a woman who sustained a fractured leg and knee injury when she was struck by a car while standing on a street corner in Sammamish, WA.
- $335,000 recovery for a woman who sustained a knee and foot injury when she was hit as a pedestrian in Lynnwood, WA.
- $162,500 recovery for pedestrian crosswalk accident in Kent.
When pedestrian accidents occur, there will likely be primary and secondary injuries.
Primary injuries occur at the point of impact. For adults, these usually include injuries to the legs and lower body. In small children, these can be in traumatic areas like the head and upper torso. Secondary injuries are incurred after the initial collision. If a man is hit in the legs by a car (primary impact), he’s going to fall down. Any injury to his face or head due to hitting the ground would be a secondary injury.
Here are the most common injuries we see after pedestrian accidents in Seattle:
- Head or brain injuries: The most serious and potentially fatal injuries involve the head and brain. Brain damage can last a lifetime, and minor brain injuries can require long-term care and therapy to overcome.
- Facial injuries: Injuries to the face can be fairly minor, yet have long-lasting impact, especially if there is scarring or disfigurement, or the victim is a child.
- Spinal damage: Minor spinal damage often comes with tremendous pain that may require surgery or extensive physical therapy to treat. More serious injuries to the spine often involve partial or full paralysis, which can affect the rest of the victim’s life.
- Internal organ damage: Surgical treatment is often necessary to repair internal damage and stop bleeding. These injuries can be potentially fatal. Hospital stays can be long, expensive, and difficult for families to handle.
- Loss of limb: A crash can cause so much damage to a pedestrian’s hands, feet, arms, or legs that traumatic amputation occurs, or surgical amputation is needed after the fact.
- Sensory loss: Injuries to the head, face, and other areas can also cause a loss of the senses, such as sight or hearing. Such sensory loss can greatly impact a victim’s future lifestyle and well-being. These may not be life-threatening injuries, but they are serious and require long-term treatment or therapy to overcome.
- Broken bones: Though broken bones are fairly common, they are still serious, and complication in the healing process means the victim may never recovering full use of the limb. Even a short recovery from a broken bone involves pain and difficulty.
Other injuries may be present at the time of the accident, but symptoms could manifest days or weeks after the accident – for example, in the case of whiplash. Because of this, it’s important to get a complete and thorough medical examination right away so potential injuries can be detected (and documented) as soon as possible.
Some people are at higher risk of injuries in a pedestrian-vehicle collision than others. Statistics show that children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at the greatest risk of being hit by a motor vehicle. This is largely due to the fact that children are smaller and less visible, as well as sometimes unpredictable in their behavior. For this reason, the law imposes a higher duty of care on drivers when driving where children are known to congregate, such as schools, parks, playgrounds, and neighborhoods with young families. This is why speed limits are often reduced in school zones. The injuries children suffer from a pedestrian accident are often catastrophic due their small size and fragile bones.
Likewise, the elderly are at higher risk of injury when hit by a car, especially women who have osteoporosis. Because seniors already suffer from weaker bones or bone loss, pedestrian accidents are almost always serious or fatal.
Pedestrians have rights. Vehicles are required to come to a full stop when a pedestrian is crossing the street, at a crosswalk, or controlled intersection. Distracted, drunk, speeding, or inattentive drivers may fail to observe someone or be unable to stop due to excessive speed. In Washington, several laws may come into play in determining who was at fault in a pedestrian accident, including:
- Right-of-way at intersections (46.61.235): Vehicles must stop at intersections for pedestrians crossing the road in a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked intersection.
- Obeying traffic signals (46.61.050): Pedestrians must obey traffic signal devices and walk only when it is safe to do so.
- Right-of-way on sidewalks (46.61.261): Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks when entering or exiting private driveways.
- Walking on roadways (46.61.250): Pedestrians must use sidewalks when available. When there is no sidewalk, pedestrians must walk facing traffic on the far-left side of the shoulder.
- Running into traffic (46.61.235): Drivers won't be held liable for accidents involving a pedestrian running into moving traffic who does not give the driver a reasonable amount of time to avoid a collision.
- Crossing the road where there is no crosswalk (46.61.240): Pedestrians attempting to cross the roadway where there is no crosswalk or intersection must yield the right-of-way to all oncoming vehicles.
- Due care (46.61.245): Drivers must "exercise due care" to avoid a collision with a pedestrian.
Every case is unique and should be reviewed and evaluated by a skilled pedestrian accident attorney. Washington is a comparative fault state, meaning when both parties were partly at fault for the accident, the defendant in a legal claim will have his or her compensation reduced. If you had some level of responsibility in the crash, you still have the right to pursue a settlement from the other party. Our Seattle personal injury lawyers will get to work uncovering the facts in the case, obtaining all relevant evidence, and filing a claim on your behalf.
There are four possible liable parties when a pedestrian is injured in a crosswalk:
- Driver: The driver of the vehicle, of course, can be held liable if he did not yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian.
- Municipality: The municipality in charge of maintaining the roadway can be found liable for a poorly designed intersection, a broken stoplight, poor lighting, a stop sign obscured by foliage, a pothole, oil spilled on the pavement, etc.
- Vehicle or vehicle part manufacturer: If the accident is cause by a defective vehicle or vehicle part, the designer and manufacturer can be held liable. This could be a new tire that blew out, a brake that failed, a blind spot that should have been fixed in the design phase, etc.
- Pedestrian: Yes, a pedestrian can be found partially at fault. Washington is a comparative negligence state, meaning that more than one party can share blame for causing an accident. For instance, if the pedestrian was crossing against the light when he was struck by a driver who was texting, a judge or jury could rule that the pedestrian was 25% at fault for the accident and the driver was 75% at fault. If the pedestrian was to be awarded $100,000, that award would be reduced by 25%, or $25,000.
According to Washington's Department of Transportation, "The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning." While pedestrians are also required to obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals, it is ultimately the vehicle driver's duty to look out for pedestrians.
Pedestrians struck by cars often require emergency lifesaving treatment, surgical intervention, and rehabilitation for many months or even a lifetime. Beyond the costs of current and future medical care, other financial damages you suffered because of the collision should be pursued in your claim, including lost wages, lost earning potential, and more. Noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering, emotional anguish, or loss of quality of life, can also be sought.
If you lost a family member to a vehicle-pedestrian crash, a wrongful death claim may be filed for the following damages:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering before death
- Mental anguish and costs of emotional therapy
- Loss of love, affection, companionship, and consortium
However, insurance companies frequently engage in various strategies to limit the amount they pay in settlements. At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our Seattle car accident attorneys are steadfast in demanding fair compensation for our clients, seeking justice and full compensation for those we represent. Our goal is to recover the maximum amount possible in a settlement or jury verdict.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a pedestrian accident, you need a strong Washington injury lawyer to help you fight for what is right. For over four decades, the team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., has been fighting for the rights of injured pedestrians, young and old. Let us help you get through this difficult time and see that you're fully compensated for your losses. Call (888) 228-3860 to schedule a free consultation today.
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