Winter Weather and Crosswalk Safety
Winter brings with it a number of hazards, especially when it comes to Washington State’s roads and highways. But you don’t have to be in a vehicle to be in danger of an accident, pedestrians also need to be aware of the adverse effects of winter weather on the roadways.
First, as a pedestrian, you should always obey all traffic laws. This is especially true during the winter months. Washington is a comparative negligence state, meaning that, in the event of an accident, more than one party can be found at fault. Take for example, an accident in which a pedestrian is disobeying a posted no walking sign and is hit by a driver who is texting at the time. A judge or jury might rule that the pedestrian was 25 percent at fault while the driver was 75 percent at fault. That means before the pedestrian receives any damages, the amount would be reduced by 25 percent.
It should be noted that, 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.” This means the burden is placed on the driver to watch out for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
Of course, pedestrians have plenty of motivation to tread carefully during winter, besides just the law. Washington experiences a variety of extreme weather, including heavy rains, snow, ice, fog, and more. Faced with such dangerous conditions, accidents can occur much more frequently, putting pedestrians especially at risk.
In the event of a crosswalk accident, the liability can fall upon a number of parties. The driver can be found at fault if he or she failed to obey all posted traffic laws, was driving while intoxicated, or in some other way put others at risk. The blame can also fall upon the automobile manufacturer if the accident was caused by a defective or poorly designed vehicle or part. The municipality can also be held liable for poorly designed intersections, a failure to properly maintain the roadways, a broken stoplight, or some other form of negligence.
Whatever the cause, if you or a loved one has been injured in a crosswalk accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, including all medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The pedestrian accident attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has four decades of experience and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call (888) 228-3860 today to schedule a free consultation.