Have You Been Hit Crossing the Street?
Traffic accidents involving a motor vehicle and someone using another mode of transport — such as a pedestrian, a skateboarder, or someone riding an electric scooter — are among the toughest cases to sort out in the legal arena. The injuries involved can be catastrophic, particularly for a pedestrian or unprotected rider, requiring extensive treatment and rehabilitation. The legal issues that arise in car-pedestrian, car-bike, or car-scooter collisions can be extensive, from questions of right of way and inattentive behavior to road conditions and faulty equipment.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian or non-licensed vehicle accident, don’t try to go it alone. You should consult a lawyer versed in the applicable state laws in order to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
There’s no disputing that cars are being built better and are safer now than they were twenty years ago. But that only holds true if you’re inside the car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,283 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2018 — about one every ninety minutes. The mortality rate of car-pedestrian accidents has been increasing steadily in recent years and now has reached the highest figure since 1990. More than 100,000 pedestrians are involved in crashes every year.
What’s causing these all-too-preventable encounters? Driver inattention, including increasing smartphone use is one factor. Speeding and running red lights are also cited as frequent causes. But there are also situations in which a pedestrian may be at least partially responsible for the accident — for example, by jaywalking, crossing against the light, or not allowing motorists sufficient time to react. Across the country, three -fourths of all pedestrian fatalities occur in poor lighting conditions.
The good news is that overall accidents involving bicycles are decreasing. The bad news is that fatalities are increasing. According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center maintained by the University of North Carolina, 783 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in the U.S. in 2017. That number jumped to 857 in 2018.
Collectively, traffic fatalities involving bikes or pedestrians increased by nearly a third between 2008 and 2017 — a decade in which overall traffic fatalities actually decreased slightly. Why are fatalities among these most vulnerable populations on the rise? Bicycle advocate groups cite various reasons, from distracted driving by motorists to insufficient bike lanes, failure to yield or share the roadway, and drunk drivers (alcohol is involved in 30% of bike -car accidents). As in pedestrian accidents, lighting conditions play a major role, too; many serious bike accidents happen at night, away from intersections.
The influx of rentable electric scooters and other short-term mobility options have taken officials in many cities by surprise; rules governing their use vary widely. For example, California requires scooter riders to wear a helmet; Colorado does not. Some municipalities try to keep the rentals in bike lanes and off sidewalks; others are trying to ban them. In the meantime, their use raises many liability issues. If you read the fine print of the rental agreement, you’ll discover that the rider typically “assumes all responsibilities and risks for any injuries” that might result from using a scooter. What happens if you injure yourself or a pedestrian while scooting — or worse, end up in a collision with a much faster, much heavier automobile? The scooter company is going to tell you that’s your problem, not theirs.
Your personal auto insurance policy may not help you here, either — unless you have uninsured motorist coverage, which is required in Colorado unless you formally reject it in writing. If you’re operating an electric scooter and happen to have an encounter with a reckless auto driver, and that driver was uninsured, in most instances your own uninsured motorist coverage will provide some protection, just as it would if you were a motorist or a pedestrian.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Accidents involving pedestrians and non -licensed vehicles, bicyclists, or non-licensed vehicles raise a wide spectrum of legal questions that may require the services of a knowledgeable accident attorney. Especially if serious injuries are involved, it’s best to have an expert who can address questions of right of way, liability, comparative fault, road conditions, adequate equipment, liability waivers and other considerations.
The Pedestrian and Bike Accident Lawyers at FDAzar
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest, most trusted personal – injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian, bicycle, or non -licensed vehicle accident, please call the experts at FDAzar day or night at 1-855-637-1268 or contact us for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.