When auto accidents involve pedestrians, it is common to see significant injuries. Pedestrians are supposed to heed traffic laws and be vigilant about vehicles driving on the road, and drivers are supposed to use caution and pay careful attention to pedestrians walking on the sidewalks and roadways. Unfortunately, there are more than 4,000 pedestrian deaths from car accidents in North Carolina every year when the driver or the pedestrian (or both) fail to exercise caution, vigilance, and respect for the lives that share the roads.
More than 11% of auto accident fatalities are pedestrians each year. Some common injuries that pedestrians experience include injuries to the hips and legs, head injuries, and internal injuries. The height of most cars causes the bumper and/or hood to hit the pedestrian in the hips or the legs, often breaking bones. Head injuries occur most frequently when pedestrians are thrown into the air and collide with a hard object. Head injuries can range from mild to very serious, and can result in death. Internal injuries include things like broken blood vessels and damage to major tissues/organs. These types of injuries often require surgery, and may require amputation.
If you want to take measures to ensure your safety as a pedestrian in North Carolina, you should stay on the sidewalk wherever possible, and to the left of the roadway (facing oncoming traffic) when a sidewalk is not available. You should always look both ways when crossing streets, even if the pedestrian sign is lit. Remain alert at all times, and avoid being distracted by music or conversation. Cross the street at intersections, rather than in the middle of the street. If you are walking after dark, where bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility. Always check every lane, and make sure that all drivers are yielding or all lanes are clear. By following this advice, you can avoid becoming the victim in a pedestrian auto accident.
Seeking Compensation for Pedestrians
If you or a loved one was the victim of an auto accident involving a pedestrian, then you can seek financial compensation for your injuries and losses. You begin by filing a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver. You can recover the expenses associated with medical and surgical treatment, prescriptions, future medical care, and damages like lost wages, lost future earning potential, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If you are the survivor of a pedestrian who lost their life to such an accident, then you can recover damages for wrongful death as well.
If the driver behaved in a particularly harmful, reckless, and unconscionable way, then you may be able to seek punitive damages, also. These are the damages assigned to punish the driver for his or her behavior and deter the behavior in the future. This is common in drunk driving cases.
Whenever an auto accident involving a pedestrian occurs, you should contact emergency medical care and law enforcement right away by dialing 911. You should gather as much information as you can about the accident and collect the contact information of witnesses and insurance information of drivers. Maintain adequate records from your medical treatment and expenses, and hire a qualified attorney to ensure that you take the right steps towards seeking a fair recovery.