Pedestrian injuries are on the rise throughout the United States and more people than ever are getting hurt or killed simply crossing the street. As a Rhode Island personal injury law firm, some of the most significant injuries we see at Tapalian Law are the result of an accident where a person on foot is hit by a car, truck, or SUV. We also see pedestrian injuries caused by reckless bicyclists, scooter operators, even skateboarders, traveling at high speeds, on sidewalks, or wearing headphones.
As a pedestrian in the city, there are more chances now than ever to get hurt just walking down the street, most notably due to the increase in distracted motorists using cell phones while driving. Severe injuries can happen when a vulnerable person on foot is hit by a car, such as head trauma and broken bones, and lengthy hospitalization is often required along with multiple surgeries, long-term physical therapy, and other essential medical treatments. If you, or a loved one, have been the victim of an accident as a pedestrian hit by a car in Providence, it is essential to seek the expertise of a qualified personal injury attorney in RI to seek maximum compensation for your losses.Who is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident in Rhode Island?
Most pedestrian crashes are the result of a negligent or inattentive motor vehicle operator and as such, one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents in RI is a distracted driver. When a motorist collides with a person on foot and driver negligence is found to be the cause, the driver can be held liable for the injured person’s damages. In order to hold a driver liable for your injuries, you must be able to prove negligence on the part of the driver, such as drunk driving or ignoring a stop sign, was the cause of the accident. You then must prove your specific injuries resulted from the crash. Hiring a knowledgeable Providence personal injury attorney like David Tapalian who is experienced with pedestrian injuries and accidents, is essential to this process. A skilled attorney will utilize police reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, medical records, and other essential resources to show proof of the negligence that caused your injury in order to get you rightful compensation for your losses.Causes of Providence Pedestrian Accidents
Over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2017, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Unfortunately, no significant progress has been made in the reduction of these types of collisions. This figure does not include the much more substantial number of people that were hurt, yet not fatally. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to pedestrian accidents in RI and the rise in pedestrian injuries and fatalities across the U.S. The most common causes include:
- Driver distractions like cell phones, loud music, other passengers
- Impaired drivers using alcohol or drugs
- Aggressive or reckless driving such as weaving in and out of traffic, “tailgating”, not heeding traffic signals
It is often said that a pedestrian always has the right of way. Is this true? As they say, it’s complicated. If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, they always have the right of way. If a pedestrian is crossing a street and visible, they always have the right of way. However, this is a very fact intensive question. Whenever you can prove that a vehicle saw you, or should have seen you, the driver will be determined to have some fault for the accident. Yet other factors might include when you began to cross the street in relation to the speed and proximity of the approaching vehicle. For instance, if a vehicle is traveling the speed limit and coming upon a crosswalk; you cannot simply enter the crosswalk and expect the vehicle to have enough time to stop. The gray area in pedestrian accidents in Rhode Island lies with pure comparative negligence. The trier of fact will determine the pedestrian and vehicles respective share of fault. It is essential to have an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island for your Providence pedestrian accident claim to represent you if you have been hit by a car, truck, or SUV.What Can Pedestrians Do to Be Safer?
As a person navigating the high volume of traffic in cities like Providence, Warwick, and Pawtucket, there are actions we can take to reduce the likelihood of a pedestrian accident or injury. The easiest, yet maybe the most difficult, is to put our phones in our pocket. In Rhode Island, if you are in a pedestrian accident you could have some comparative fault if you are found to have been looking at your phone while walking and or crossing a street. In your pedestrian personal injury claim, this comparative fault could reduce any potential injury award.
Most pedestrian accidents occur at night. In order to prevent nighttime accidents when outdoors, make sure you are visible and wear bright reflective clothing and preferably travel with a flashing light. Proper use of crosswalks is another good way to prevent pedestrian accidents. Never assume that a vehicle can see you. Walk as you drive- defensively- and only cross streets at marked crosswalks. Remember, our senses include not only our sight but also our hearing and both go a long way in helping to prevent RI pedestrian accidents. Therefore, earphones and headphones that cover both ears can be extremely dangerous and, depending upon the music volume and type of headphones, you may not hear certain warning signs of an accident.Contact an Injury Attorney if You Are Hurt in a Providence Pedestrian Accident
If you are injured as a pedestrian in Rhode Island, seek medical treatment right away. Then, contact a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer to preserve evidence related to your claim. Attorney David Tapalian is experienced in pedestrian related injuries and has helped residents of Rhode Island and Massachusetts seek rightful compensation for their losses. Tapalian Law will work with a team of accident reconstruction professionals and investigators to obtain evidence quickly and efficiently and obtain any video evidence located in the surrounding area. We will also locate the vehicle that struck you and obtain pictures of said vehicle before it is repaired to prove liability. There is a three (3) year statute of limitations on filing a personal injury claim in Rhode Island, so don’t wait. Call the Providence personal injury professionals at Tapalian Law for a free consultation of your accident injury claim, at 401-552-5000, or contact us online.