According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 5,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents each year. Pedestrians in Washington may also fall victim to injuries caused by poorly maintained roads, sidewalks and parking lots. In some cases, more than one party may be liable for causing harm to a person who was walking or riding a bike. It is also possible for a pedestrian to be fully or partially responsible for his or her own injuries.
In a personal injury case, it must be established that the defendant violated a duty of care toward the injured victim. Drivers could violate their duty of care toward others by driving too fast for the road conditions or ignoring a traffic signal. Drivers may be required to exercise a greater level of caution if there is reason to believe that children may be nearby.
Business owners are typically liable for ensuring that sidewalks and parking lots are free from defects. However, they may not be liable for defects that are present on public sidewalks that are located in close proximity to their properties. Pedestrians who are injured are encouraged to stay where they are, call the police and gather information from anyone who may have witnessed a collision or fall. Furthermore, they are discouraged from making statements to other drivers or insurance company representatives.
A person who is injured in a pedestrian accident may sustain broken bones, muscle strains or head injuries. If those injuries are caused by another person or entity’s negligence, a victim could be entitled to compensation. Compensation obtained in a settlement or from a jury might help pay for medical bills or make up for lost wages or missed future earnings. An attorney might represent an injured victim during settlement talks or at trial.