Across the United States, pedestrian accidents are becoming more commonplace. With roads constantly buzzing with distracted drivers, there’s plenty of room for incidents involving those on foot. Over 500,000 pedestrians die every year from incidents involving motor vehicles. Another 76,000 suffer injuries from the same types of accidents. Arizona’s 7th congressional district was just named the most dangerous area to walk. This covers most of Phoenix and parts of Glendale. Around five citizens per 100,000 in this district, died due to pedestrian accidents. With numbers so high, it’s important to know your rights as a pedestrian as well as a driver involved in a pedestrian accident.
Is the Driver Always at Fault?
Many people believe that because there was a vehicle involved, the fault lies with the driver. However, this isn’t always the case. Both the driver and the pedestrian have to be within the law when incidents occur. Of course, it’s always wise for those driving vehicles to be aware of those around them. However, with busy streets such as the ones you’ll find in Phoenix, it’s not always so cut and dry when avoiding pedestrians. Many times, once a pedestrian is seen, especially in an area they’re not expected to be, there’s not enough time to slow down or react to avoid an accident. Both sides will be taken into account when a pedestrian accident occurs. However, there are other factors where the driver is handed more responsibility. This often lies with the age of the pedestrian in question.
What Should I Do if I’m Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?
There is a basic code of conduct that should always be followed in accidents, including a pedestrian accident.
- Always call the police and an ambulance if needed. This should be your first focus.
- Whatever you do, don’t leave the scene, even if you think everything is under control. Get released by an officer before leaving.
- Don’t start talking and offering stories to other drivers, pedestrians, or random people standing around. Keep your words to yourself until you can talk to an official.
- The only talking that should be occurring is getting the names and numbers of witnesses that may be able to affirm what occurred.
Duty of Care
There is a certain level of care that is referred to as “duty of care” for those that could be involved in a pedestrian accident. Of course, a driver’s duty of care is to pay attention, not drive while distracted, follow traffic laws/signs, and practice extra caution in work, play, school, etc. zones. A pedestrians duty of care is not to walk where the law prohibits, follow signs, not disrupting the flow of traffic, walking out in front of moving cars, etc. In other words, common sense and following basic law go a long way when it comes to pedestrian accidents.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, whether you were the pedestrian or the driver, be sure to ask an attorney about your rights and how to move forward.