Pedestrian Accident? Call PBAR
Indiana road fatalities have been on the rise since hitting a historic low about five years ago. Each year, between 800 and 920 Indiana residents die in car accidents and thousands more are injured.
The city of Indianapolis is at the epicenter of this Hoosier road danger, with 46% of all Indiana traffic fatalities and 73% of non-fatal injuries occurring in densely-populated urban areas. With more traffic, the risk of accidents is always much higher. Interstate speeds and construction zones in Indianapolis also contribute to the problem.
If you haven’t been in an accident yet, you’re lucky. Every year, between 180,000 and 225,000 auto collisions happen on Indiana’s roads. Marion County has the highest number of traffic collisions of any Indiana county, by far.
So keep this name in mind as you drive the busy roads of Indianapolis: Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery. We fight for people who suffer injury due to car accidents. Our Indianapolis car accident attorneys believe each injured person deserves full compensation for losses, damages and injuries caused by reckless and negligent drivers.
Whether you realize it or not, if you are an active person who spends time outside of the house, you are more than likely a pedestrian at multiple points during your day. Whether you walk to work daily or simply cross the street to check your mailbox; any time you spend on your feet walking along a roadway or driveway, or in a parking lot, is time you spend as a pedestrian.
Being a pedestrian, whether for utility or pleasure, can be a healthy, cost-effective and pleasurable alternative to other forms of transportation, particularly in nice weather. However, there is an added risk with being a pedestrian for personal injury.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6,283 pedestrian fatalities in the United States in 2018, a 3-percent increase from the previous year. Furthermore, a Washington, D.C.-based group, Smart Growth America, notes that fatal pedestrian accidents in the United States have increased by 35 percent in the last decade.
This is a disturbing trend made all the more worrisome by Indianapolis’ data. As of 2019, Indianapolis was ranked 68th in the nation for pedestrian fatalities, and 2020 has seen several high-profile cases of pedestrian accidents in Indianapolis and its surrounding areas.
How is it that Indianapolis came to be one of the most dangerous places in the United States for pedestrians? And how can Indianapolis pedestrians better protect themselves?
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Common Pedestrian Injuries in Indianapolis
According to the NHTSA, more than 70 percent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2017 were males, with a pedestrian being killed, on average, every 88 minutes. Older citizens and children are in the age groups with the highest risk for pedestrian accidents.
Apart from death, pedestrian accidents can result in life-altering injuries that are physically, emotionally and mentally painful as well as financially harmful. In 2017, there were an estimated 137,000 pedestrians treated for injuries from nonfatal accidents. Some of the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians involved in an accident include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- A traumatic brain injury can result in permanent damage as well as symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, confusion, memory loss, loss of consciousness, difficulty speaking, difficulty sleeping, blurred vision, tinnitus and much more.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Injuries to the spinal cord can result in permanent damage such as paralysis and even death. Other symptoms include loss of bladder function or control, loss of sexual function, difficulty or inability to walk, loss of sensation, altered reflexes, and more.
- Common fractures from pedestrian accidents include arm, wrist, hip, back, shoulder, leg and ankle fractures.
- Internal injuries
- Internal bleeding and bruising are the most serious internal injuries sustained from pedestrian accidents. Such injuries can result in abdominal pain, bloody urine, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
- Lacerations are cuts or wounds to the skin that easily can become infected if not properly treated. Oftentimes lacerations will require stitches.
- Contusions, or bruises, can occur with blunt force trauma. They can occur on bone, muscle and skin tissue and be quite painful as well as unsightly.
Pedestrians involved in nonfatal accidents are likely to suffer from mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and phobias after the accident, which can result in years of decreased enjoyment of life and costly counseling and medication.
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Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
The NHTSA found that a majority of pedestrian fatalities occur in the evening between the hours of 6 and 8:59 p.m. Additionally, pedestrians involved in accidents with a vehicle are more likely to occur with impaired drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Motor vehicle drivers, cyclists and pedestrians themselves all can contribute to or cause an accident to occur. Here are some of the most common causes of accidents involving pedestrians.
- Crossing the street or roadway at a non-intersection (jaywalking)
- Walking in poor weather conditions with low visibility
- Walking in the early morning or late evening
- Attempting to cross at an intersection as a walk sign is expiring
- Failing to look both directions before crossing
- Stopping mid-cross or texting while walking
- Walking along a highway or roadway as opposed to on the shoulder or along a path
- Listening to music or having earbuds in while walking
- Crossing behind parked cars without looking closely, such as in a garage, driveway or parking lot
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Failing to use a turn signal, particularly at intersections
- Failing to make a full stop at intersections
- Not checking rearview mirrors before backing up from a parked position
- Attempting to make it through an intersection as the light changes
- Running red lights or failing to stop at stop signs
- Making illegal U-turns
- Driving in low visibility or poor weather conditions
- Driving too close to the shoulder or attempting illegal passes
- Salmoning, or driving against the flow of traffic
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Cycling during times of low visibility without proper reflective gear
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident
Auto accidents are very chaotic for the people involved. In the moments after the accident, witnesses rush to the scene, emergency responders arrive to help, police ask questions and insurance information is exchanged. Everything happens so fast.
If you are a pedestrian who has been struck by a vehicle, whether it be a car, motorcycle, bicycle, etc., you have the right to an attorney to fight to redeem compensation for your injuries. But first, there are several steps you should take in the immediate aftermath of the accident to better protect your medical outcome as well as your legal one.
- Get to a safe place. If you are on the road, get off of the roadway to help ensure that additional vehicles will not become involved in the accident or cause additional injuries. If you are unable to move, have someone help to stop/alert traffic and call 911. However, do NOT leave the scene.
- Seek medical attention right away. This may seem obvious, but too often someone believes they aren’t badly injured or “injured enough” to justify the cost of medical care. This is a mistake.
- Many of the injuries caused by pedestrian accidents can be internal or can appear or worsen over time. Seeing a doctor right away is the best way to ensure your best health outcome.
- However, if you do choose not to seek care and later discover you were injured, seek care as soon as possible and make sure to let your doctor know that you were involved in an accident.
- You will want medical records to show proof of your accident and the reason for your visit.
- Additionally, be sure to keep up with whatever routine of care the doctor has prescribed, whether it is exercise, prescription medication or something else.
- Keep careful track of your symptoms.
- Report the accident. Be sure to call the police and file an official report of what happened. Avoiding making statements that assign blame, and do not apologize. We tend to apologize when we are involved in accidents, even if they aren’t our fault. Don’t do this!
- Exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. Be sure to get insurance and contact information.
- Gather witness information. If anyone was nearby when the accident occurred, their statements can come in handy should your case go to trial or should you need corroborating evidence for insurance claims. Be sure to get their contact information.
- Take pictures and/or videos. Be sure to include not only the scene of the accident but also your injuries, and get as many angles as possible as well as close ups and wider shots. Your accident can’t accurately be recreated later, so be sure to take the time to gather as much visual evidence as possible.
- Save physical evidence. Any clothes you were wearing and your footwear should not be cleaned. But should be put away in a safe place where they won’t be lost or affected by sun or temperature. Proving that your shoes or clothing in no way contributed to your accident will be made easier if you have preserved them.
- Resist the temptation to turn to social media. It can be incredibly appealing to turn to our friends online for sympathy and outrage after an accident occurs, but this can ultimately provide more problems for you later. Insurance companies are eager to find any reason to deny a claim and are known to troll social media accounts for “proof” of a victim’s lack of credibility or negligence. Additionally, defense attorneys can use the same tactics to poke holes in your case. It is much better to avoid social media entirely after a personal injury until your accident claim has been settled.
After these steps have been taken, you should contact a knowledgeable Indianapolis pedestrian accident attorney to help you start the road to recovery. Don’t allow fear of additional costs to stop you from seeking legal action. Contact Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, for your free consultation with one of Indiana Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer. You may have the legal right to recover substantial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.
In the days following the crash, the authorities will record their version of events in the official police record. The insurance claim is filed and insurance companies will also decide who is at fault and determine what kinds of vehicle repairs may be needed. Anyone who is injured will continue to receive medical care.
Soon, you’ll probably receive a call from an insurance company wanting to wrap things up with your pedestrian accident case. Be careful before signing or agreeing to anything. You need qualified legal representation to help you decipher your options.
Determining Fault and Proving Negligence
When it comes to an accident, particularly one that results in bodily harm of another, determining fault is an important step in sorting out the accident.
Fault is determined by establishing negligence, and sometimes one or more parties are at fault. Legally, negligence is when someone fails to exercise a reasonable level of care when going about their activity based on the circumstances; for instance, obeying traffic laws and acting responsibly when operating a vehicle. If it can be proven that someone was not exercising care, such as speeding or running a red light, when an accident occurred, then that person may be found negligent and at fault. Our Indiana pedestrian accident lawyer will help prove your case.
Pedestrians and Indiana At-Fault Laws
Indiana is a comparative fault state, which means the victim can seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance for damages before turning to their own policy. The at-fault party can be sued for damages such as medical costs, loss of wages, and more. Additionally, more than one party may be found at fault. In Indiana, if you are injured and found to be less than 50 percent at fault, you still can recover some damages equal to your percentage of liability.
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Types of Compensation for Indiana Pedestrian Accidents
Compensation for pedestrian accidents can be awarded for a variety of costly damages incurred. Even minor accidents without serious injuries can result in expensive medical bills, emotional trauma and forced time off work for recovery. More serious accidents can result in lengthy hospital stays, surgeries and medical care that result in months if not years’ worth of health-related bills alone, not to mention loss of income from the accident.
Here are some of the most frequently sought types of compensation for pedestrian accidents:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, prescription medications, counseling and more
- Loss of income, including future lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Emotional suffering, PTSD, depression, anxiety and mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering experienced during and as a result of the accident
- Disability or disfigurement resulting from the accident
- Loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and more
- In the case of a fatality and wrongful death, funeral and burial expenses
- Any additional out-of-pocket expenses brought about by the accident
How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
Everyone who shares the road has a duty to share it responsibly. For this reason, there are several ways that each of us can work together to lessen the possibility of pedestrian accidents.
- When possible, walk with someone else to increase your visibility.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing if walking in dark or poor weather conditions.
- Wear proper footwear and clothing to avoid losing your footing along a path or roadway.
- Walk against traffic so that you can see it coming.
- When possible, walk along the shoulder or on a path rather than the road itself.
- Avoid listening to music or talking on the phone while walking. Similarly, avoid having headphones on while walking along a roadway.
- Avoid crossing the street except at an intersection.
- Never try to dart across traffic.
- Avoid drinking or using drugs while walking, especially near a roadway as these can cause impaired decisions.
- Always look both ways before crossing the street or behind a parked vehicle.
- Don’t allow children to walk unattended or play near roadways.
- Never drink and drive or drive while under the influence of drugs.
- Do not speed.
- Be mindful of school zones and neighborhood speed limits and watchful for darting pets and children.
- When driving in the early morning or late evening, be on the lookout for pedestrians.
- Don’t text, talk on the phone or use devices while driving.
- Always ride your bike with traffic rather than against, even on one-way streets.
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially in times of low light or low visibility.
- Look both ways before crossing traffic.
- Yield to the right of way.
- Be aware of pedestrian-only pathways.
Not all pedestrian accidents are alike, and not all involve vehicles. For more information about personal injury that occurs on someone else’s property, visit our slip-and-fall injuries and dog-bite injuries pages or review our page on personal injury cases.
No Attorney Fees, Unless You Win.
If you suffer an accident caused by negligent, careless or reckless acts of another person or party, our Indiana pedestrian accident lawyer law firm may be able to help you. Your first step is to contact Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, for your free consultation with one of our lawyers. You may have the legal right to recover substantial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.Call (800) 265-9881 to schedule your free case review to learn about your legal rights to hold negligent parties responsible and liable for pedestrian injuries under Indiana’s personal injury laws.