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Look Down: the Dangers of Walking and Texting

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on July 27, 2017

You’ve probably seen the type of video that shows a person walking while looking down at his phone. The video usually ends with him walking into a pole, falling into a hole, or facing some other kind of danger. But while these videos may provide a good laugh, and no one is usually seriously injured as a result, they do demonstrate the very real danger of looking down at your phone when you’re out walking.

Arguably, most if not all pedestrians today have smartphones on them. And in many instances, they’re using them to text while continuing on their way. But this phenomenon has had some terrible results.

More Pedestrians Are Getting Hurt

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian accidents have risen dramatically due to the sheer number of people texting while walking; and this has even led the National Safety Council to add “distracted walking” to their list of categories! Those at greatest risk are teenagers, who are not only the group most associated with never looking up from their phones, but also don’t seem to fully realize that other things are on the road, too.

Is “Texting While Walking” Legal?

So what does the law say about pedestrian accidents that involve a pedestrian who was looking down at her phone?

At the moment, nothing. If a pedestrian gets hit while looking down at her phone, the court will still treat it like any other pedestrian accident. However, in Washington, contributory negligence does apply, so if the court finds the pedestrian partially to blame, they’ll lower the amount of overall compensation the pedestrian receives in a personal injury case.

How to Stay Safe While Walking

The best advice for pedestrians? Use the same rules that apply to drivers. Pedestrians should put the phone away while they’re walking so that they can watch out for cars, other pedestrians, and any objects that may be in their path.

If a text must be read or sent, pedestrians should move over to the side of the path or sidewalk before pulling out their phones and tapping away. This will keep them from accidentally stepping out in to traffic or running into objects; and other pedestrians who may be looking down at their phones won’t run into them!

If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident in Seattle, whether you were looking at your phone or not, contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., toll-free at (888) 228-3860. It doesn’t matter if you are partially to blame; we may be able to help you seek compensation for injuries you have sustained. Don’t suffer alone; give us a call today.

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