To start, let’s define a pedestrian. A pedestrian is defined as a person walking, running, biking, skating, etc., on a public roadway. In modern times, the term “pedestrian” is also commonly applied to users of non-motorized modes of transportation such as a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, roller blades, skates, etc. According to the NHTSA, pedestrian deaths accounted for a shocking 17% of all traffic fatalities in 2019 [1].

What Should You Do After an Accident With A Pedestrian?

If you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian, your first step should be to call 911. This will help ensure that emergency medical personnel can respond quickly to treat your injuries.

If you do not require immediate medical attention, take plenty of photos from various perspectives, as documenting what occurred at the scene is crucial. Collect the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witnesses and help clear the motorway. Take note of the following information about the accident scene:

  • Does anyone need medical treatment?
  • Was there adequate lighting?
  • Were there obstructions to vision?
  • Are there any witnesses?
  • Do you have the other party’s details?

When the police arrive, remain calm, note the officer’s name and badge number, and answer any questions they may have. If they ask you to sign a statement, make sure all details are stated correctly.

Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian struck by a car has certain rights under the law. The first question to answer is who is at fault. In general, pedestrians are considered to be at fault when they fail to yield right-of-way to vehicles and drivers who fail to see them. However, this does not mean that all pedestrians are negligent; it simply means that they have failed to comply with the law. The same applies to bicyclists.

Drivers may be found liable for injuries caused by their negligence. If you were injured in an accident involving a pedestrian or bicycle, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney right away.

Colorado Pedestrian Laws

Pedestrians must obey traffic signs and signals. Traffic signs tell both drivers and pedestrians what to do and traffic lights control how fast vehicles move through intersections. When there are no traffic lights, pedestrians should cross at designated crossings and should always look both ways before crossing the street.

When crossing at a designated crossing, pedestrians have the right-of-way over cars. This means that pedestrians have priority over all other vehicles, including bicycles, motorcycles, and emergency vehicles. Cars must stop for pedestrians even if the driver can go around them.

When a vehicle makes a turn, the driver must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians who are within 30 feet of the intersection. If the driver does not yield, they are liable for any injuries that result.

When a vehicle turns into a driveway or parking lot, the driver must yield to pedestrians who are already on the sidewalk or path. The driver must also yield to pedestrians who are about to enter the driveway or parking lot.

If a pedestrian is injured by a motorist, the pedestrian can sue the motorist for negligence. The pedestrian can recover money for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Vehicular Manslaughter

A person commits vehicular manslaughter if they cause the death of another person by operating a motor vehicle recklessly. Recklessness in this context refers to the state of mind where a person deliberately and unjustifiably pursues a course of action while consciously disregarding any risks flowing from such action. Their chosen course of action constitutes a gross deviation from what a reasonable person facing the same situation would choose.

To prove vehicular manslaughter, the state must show that the defendant was driving a vehicle and that the defendant acted recklessly. In addition, the state must show either that the defendant knew that their conduct created a substantial risk of harm or that the defendant actually believed that their conduct did create a substantial risk of harm.

If you were involved in an accident where someone died, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. You may be able to avoid criminal charges depending on the circumstances. For example, you can argue that swerving to avoid a collision with a truck and hitting a pedestrian as a result was necessary to protect yourself or others from serious harm. Obviously, this is a wildly different scenario from ignoring a red light and running over a bicycle as a result.

You should consult with an attorney right away if you have been accused of vehicular manslaughter. An experienced lawyer can help you understand the law and defend against these charges.

Comparative Negligence and Pedestrians

Pedestrians have the same rights as drivers. They have the right-of-way at intersections and driveways. They also have the responsibility to use sidewalks safely. So, if you crash as a result of swerving to avoid a pedestrian who ignored a red light and walked in the path of your car, you can seek compensation for your damages. If you are injured in the accident, your claim can include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses.

Pedestrian Accident Prevention Tips

If you are a pedestrian, you can help minimize the chances of an accident by following the tips below:

  • Walk in well-lit areas.
  • Look both ways before stepping onto streets, paths, or trails.
  • Use sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Cross streets at designated crosswalks.
  • Don’t carry heavy loads.
  • Wear bright clothing so that motorists can see you better, especially at night.
  • Make sure that your home address is clearly marked on your clothes.
  • Carry identification with you.
  • Remember that pedestrians have the right-to-way over vehicles but never assume that drivers know where they are going.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert and watch out for children and pets.
  • Keep your distance from parked vehicles.
  • Avoid talking on cell phones or using electronic devices while walking.
  • Watch out for dogs, especially when they are running loose.
  • Always wear appropriate footwear.
  • Check weather conditions before heading outside.
  • Plan ahead. Know where you want to go, and plan your route accordingly.
  • Pay attention to road signs and signals.
  • Give yourself extra time to get places.

Contact Help in Colorado

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident involving a pedestrian, the last thing you need is to stress over what happens next. Reach out to us for a free initial consultation, irrespective of your income level or economic situation.

Contact Help in Colorado online, call us at (303) 351-2567, or visit our offices at 6795 E. Tennessee Ave. #210, Denver, CO, 80224 to discuss your case! Initial consultations are free and conducted with absolute confidence. We will listen to you, help you understand the law, and discuss your options, without you having to pay any out-of-pocket fees.

References

[1] https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/813079#:~:text=Seventeen%20percent%20of%20all%20traffic,injured%20in%20crashes%20in%202019.