Representing injured victims and
their families since 1952

Lakewood Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one were recently injured in a car vs. pedestrian crash, The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you. When a car hits a pedestrian, it’s not a fair contest. Thousands of pounds of metal machinery versus one human body will often leave the pedestrian with serious or even life-threatening injuries, especially if the car was traveling at high speeds. Pedestrians can be harder to see than other cars, but it still falls on drivers to watch out for them on the road and to take care to keep from hitting them. For those who are hit by negligent drivers while walking, recovery can be extremely difficult.

At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, our Lakewood pedestrian accident attorneys believe that drivers who hit pedestrians should be held accountable for the injuries they cause. If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, our Lakewood injury lawyers are ready to fight for you. We can help you file a personal injury or wrongful death claim and increase your chances of winning compensation in or out of court. Contact us at (253) 588-6696 to schedule a free consultation.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

In many pedestrian accidents, an inattentive driver is to blame. Such mistakes come at a cost to the driver but an even higher cost to the pedestrian, who may even lose their life. Here are some of the common ways that drivers cause pedestrian accidents:

  • Turning without watching for pedestrians at intersections
  • Backing into pedestrians in parking lots
  • Failing to yield at pedestrian crosswalks
  • Failing to watch for people getting into or out of cars while driving near the curb
  • Running up onto the curb while pedestrians are walking beside the road
  • Assuming that pedestrians will not cross at intersections without a designated crosswalk
  • Texting while driving

Drivers are not always to blame, and sometimes hit pedestrians who unexpectedly start jaywalking. But in many cases, the driver will be held liable when they hit a pedestrian. It is important that drivers and pedestrians alike understand who has the right of way in every situation.

Common Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents

There is no question that a collision between cars can cause injuries to the occupants of the vehicles involved. However, that damage does not compare to the harm caused when a car hits a person. The impact of that type of collision can cause catastrophic injuries.  The most common injuries in pedestrian accidents include:

Head or brain injuries: Pedestrian accidents can cause concussions and traumatic brain injuries, which can be life-threatening.  The injuries can be permanent and may require long-term therapy and care.

Facial injuries: When a pedestrian is hit by a car, injuries to the face are likely to occur. These can leave permanent and disfiguring scars.

Lacerations and cuts: This includes lacerations, contusions, dislocations, strains, and sprains. The wounds can cause severe pain, long-term physical impairment, and permanent scars.

Spinal cord injury:  Spinal damage can often cause extreme pain and may need surgical intervention or long-term physical therapy.  In some cases, the damage can cause partial to full paralysis, which can be permanent.

Internal injuries: Pedestrian accidents can cause life-threatening internal injuries from the resulting blunt force trauma. The injuries may range from punctured lungs and ruptured spleen to internal bleeding.

Loss of limb: A collision between a car and a pedestrian can cause massive trauma to the limbs of the person on foot. The injury can be so destructive that amputation can occur at the scene of the accident, or surgical amputation may be needed afterward. This can be life-threatening to the victim.

Broken bones and bone fractures: The violent impact of a car hitting a person can cause bones to break or fracture. These can be serious and will most likely take a long time to heal. In some cases, the victim may even suffer long-term pain and may never regain full use of the limb.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to a U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there has been a 51 percent increase of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents nationwide since reaching the lowest in point in 2009. In fact, there has been an average of one pedestrian killed in traffic crashes every 1.5 hours. Here are a few more disturbing statistics to consider:

  • In 2019, there have been 6.205 pedestrians killed in car accidents.
  • More fatalities occurred in the dark (75%) than in daylight (22%), dusk (2%), and dawn (1%).
  • 72 percent of the fatalities occurred at non-intersections.
  • 17 percent of traffic accident deaths were pedestrians.
  • 48 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents involved alcohol, on part of the driver or the pedestrian.
  • 21 percent of pedestrians killed were hit by hit-and-run drivers.

In Washington, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports 32 percent of pedestrian fatalities in car accidents involved a distracted driver. In addition, 43 percent of deaths involved an impaired pedestrian.

Pedestrian Laws in Washington State

Washington law sets specific rules for when drivers must yield to pedestrians and vice versa. These laws can help determine who was at fault for the accident. Drivers are legally required to be vigilant and watch out for pedestrians at all times. However, pedestrians explicitly have the right of way in the following places:

  • On the sidewalk
  • At marked crosswalks
  • At intersections, whether or not the crosswalk is marked

However, this does not give pedestrians completely free reign over the roadways. Drivers have the right of way:

  • In the middle of the road, apart from crosswalks and intersections
  • When traffic signals say so, such as when they have a green light and pedestrians have a stop signal

Even at crosswalks, pedestrians are prohibited from darting out into traffic so suddenly that cars do not have time to stop. Whatever the time and place, it is important to remember that both cars and pedestrians are required to obey traffic signals and warning signs, as well as traffic officers’ instructions.

Proving Fault After a Pedestrian Accident in Washington State

As you can see above, drivers are generally required to yield to pedestrians unless those pedestrians are jaywalking. These legal requirements can make determining fault easier in a pedestrian accident case than in a case involving two cars. However, the details can get messy, particularly if the driver did not have much time to stop. Washington is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that both parties involved can be found to share part of the blame. In a successful personal injury suit, the plaintiff’s award will be reduced by the percentage of fault they share.

As in a car-on-car case, proving fault in a car-on-pedestrian case involves determining which negligent actions each party took that led to the accident and resulting injury. For example, if a driver was distracted and ran into a pedestrian they didn’t see at a crosswalk, but the pedestrian entered the crosswalk without giving the driver much time to stop, a jury might determine that the driver was 90 percent at fault and the pedestrian was 10 percent at fault. If this pedestrian would have otherwise been awarded $50,000 in damages, that award would be decreased by 10 percent, leaving them with $45,000.

Recovering Damages in a Personal Injury Suit

Pedestrians who are hit by cars often receive serious or even life-threatening injuries. Recovery can take a toll on your life and finances. Thankfully, a personal injury suit can help you win compensation for some of the associated costs. If you or your loved one was hurt in a pedestrian accident, here are some of the damages you might be able to recover in a personal injury suit:

  • All recovery-related medical bills
  • Property repair or replacement, if you were carrying anything valuable
  • Lost wages due to time off work
  • Future loss in income due to temporary or permanent disability
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Other miscellaneous, recovery-related expenses
  • Wrongful death, if your loved one was killed

No amount of money can ever really repay you for your injuries or restore your peace of mind, but a judgment or settlement for these costs can help with your recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine which damages to seek in your pedestrian accident case.

It is important to note that in order to file suit for compensation from a pedestrian accident, the statute of limitations is three years. In other words, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you file a case after the deadline has passed, the court may dismiss your filing, ending your ability to gain compensation through the court system.

Contact Us

Recovering from a pedestrian accident can be extremely difficult. In addition to paying sky-high medical bills and dealing with physical and emotional pain, you may suffer a life-long disability, or worse. You don’t have to face this trying time alone. If you believe the driver was responsible, you may have legal options.

The Lakewood, Washington pedestrian accident lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can be your lifeline. For over sixty years, we have been helping personal injury victims just like you to win compensation for their injuries. With lawyers serving Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton, we are ready to help you when and where you need it. For more information on how we can fight to hold the negligent driver who hit you accountable, call us now at (253) 588-6696.