A pedestrian is someone who walks on any road. Sometimes cyclists are also pedestrians. About 3.5% of Indianapolis residents walk to work or for other reasons such as shopping or exercise. A pedestrian accident involves an automobile and a walking or cycling person. The years 2020 and 2021 recorded the highest numbers of pedestrian and cyclist traffic crashes in Indianapolis.
Although most pedestrian accidents are not fatal, plaintiffs may claim compensation for injuries sustained in the accidents. A pedestrian accident lawyer in Indianapolis can help the plaintiff get maximum compensation or overcome the technicalities of Indiana pedestrian accident laws. Read on to learn more.
Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Indianapolis
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs increases the risk of causing a pedestrian accident. While impaired driving is against the law, some drivers still operate motor vehicles while intoxicated. Since alcohol impairs the driver’s judgment, the chances of causing a pedestrian accident are high.
Drivers with little driving experience are likely to make mistakes on the road. Inexperienced drivers may misjudge the distance between their cars and other vehicles or pedestrians. The drivers may also not give way to pedestrians as required by law. Such mistakes lead to pedestrian accidents.
Drivers should concentrate on the steering wheel whenever they operate an automobile. Any distraction, such as reading text messages on a smartphone, eating, or arguing with passengers, may lead to an accident. To reduce distraction on the road, Indiana passed the hands-free law in 2020. The law forbids drivers from holding any mobile devices while on the road.
Violations of School Zone Speed Limits
Inexperienced drivers believe in the wrong notion that they only need to slow at a school speed zone when they spot a child on the road. This assumption has contributed to making school-going children the major casualties of pedestrian accidents. As opposed to the common belief of just slowing down, drivers should keep to the speed limit of a school zone and use more caution. Of course, if there’s a school bus present, the driver must stop until the bus has discharged or loaded all its passengers, then proceed with caution.
Violation of Traffic Rules
Drivers are sometimes tempted to speed up to beat a red light. While doing this, they may hit walkers who are also in a hurry to cross the road.
Pedestrians can also contribute to accidents when they:
- Walk on a busy road while listening to music on earbuds.
- Text while walking on a busy road.
- Fail to respect the walk/don’t walk signals.
- Cross the road in areas not designated for crosswalks.
- Walk directly on the road other than the designated sidewalk (jaywalk).
Types of Injuries a Pedestrian Accident Causes
Pedestrian accidents can lead to numerous types of injuries. When someone sustains injuries, they should seek medical assistance and allow a pedestrian accident lawyer in Indianapolis to handle other issues. Common injuries in Indianapolis pedestrian accidents include:
Soft tissue damage: This type of injury occurs when body muscles, tendons, or ligaments sustain some level of trauma. The injuries may include tears, lacerations, contusions, strains, sprains, and dislocations. Soft tissue damage is the most common injury in pedestrian accidents and, if tendons and ligaments get hurt, can take a very long time to heal, if ever.
Broken bones and bone fractures: Trauma from a pedestrian accident can fracture or break bones in the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, legs, and back. These injuries are painful and may sometimes lead to the plaintiff’s permanent impairment. There are many small bones in the hand, which don’t always heal properly.
Spinal cord injury: The high impact of speeding automobiles can also lead to severe injuries to the spinal cord. An injury in the spinal cord can alter the plaintiff’s life by paralyzing the pedestrian or even lead to death.
Traumatic brain injuries: Severe head and brain injuries can be life-threatening. If the victim survives, the traumatic brain injuries can alter their lives and force them to depend on long-term care from their loved ones. Common symptoms of traumatic brain injury include headaches, fluids leaking from the ear, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, difficulty speaking, sleep problems, dizziness, or loss of coordination. Concussions are brain injuries.Patients should seek medical assistance immediately to reduce the risk of complications.
Indiana Pedestrian Laws to Know
According to the Indiana Code IC 9-21-17, pedestrians must follow the laws listed below:
- Follow walk/don’t walk signs wherever they spot them.
- Drivers should never overtake vehicles that have stopped to give way for pedestrians at a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians should not abruptly walk into the path designed for automobiles.
- Where there’s a tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing, those who decide to cross the road at other points must give way to vehicles.
- If there’s no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the far edge of the roadway.
Types of Monetary Damages for a Pedestrian Accident
If an automobile hits a pedestrian, they can claim compensation. The compensation for accidents is monetary damages. Economic damages cover the cost of medical treatment, while non-economic damages cover pain and suffering from injuries.
The insurance of the driver who is at fault pays the compensation. If the driver has not insured the vehicle, an Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer can help the plaintiff assess available options. The lawyer can also help the plaintiff get a financial settlement. If a child is injured, the plaintiff must ask for court approval for compensation exceeding $10,000.
Indiana is a comparative fault state. That means if the pedestrian contributed 30% of the accident, they can only claim 70% compensation. If the pedestrian contributed more than 50% to the cause of the accident, they may not receive monetary damages. However, a pedestrian accident lawyer can help Indianapolis residents fight the comparative fault claims and assist the plaintiff to get maximum compensation.
When to Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
After an accident, the first thing to do is seek treatment for severe injuries. The next thing is to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer in Indianapolis to help in the collection of evidence and assessment of the driver’s insurance status. The lawyer can also help fight for the plaintiff’s rights against comparative fault claims.
Wagner Reese Can Help You With Your Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident Claim
If a driver hurt you or your loved one in a pedestrian accident, you can receive compensation. However, the process of compensation in Indianapolis can be complicated due to the comparative fault rules. Wagner Reese personal injury law offices can simplify the process and help you get justice after an accident. Schedule a free case assessment.
This content has been reviewed by the Attorneys at the Wagner Reese offices.