What Legal Options Do Pedestrians Have in Case of an Accident?

A lot of us have been on both sides of the road. In other words, we have driven a vehicle around town and traversed it on foot at times. Have you ever wondered whether American pedestrians are safe? 

The short answer is no, especially in some cities. In 2022 alone, over 7,500 pedestrians lost their lives on the road. An additional 67,000 were injured, making the numbers the highest they’ve been since 1981. 

We know that when multiple vehicles are involved in a crash, the victims can seek compensation from the liable parties. In case of disputes, the matter proceeds to court. 

Are similar provisions available for pedestrians? Yes, and this article will discuss it in detail. Keep reading to understand the various aspects of a pedestrian accident lawsuit. 

What Pedestrians Must Do if They’re Hit by a Car 

When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the steps they take immediately afterward will protect their well-being as well as their legal rights. They are recommended to do the following. 

Keep in mind that we’re talking about a scenario where the pedestrian can make these moves. If they die or suffer crippling injuries, the following steps will not be applicable and the case will directly be handled by the reporting authorities. 

  • If possible, it’s best to notify 911 for immediate medical attention. 
  • The driver must ideally stop to check on the situation. If they did, the victim should exchange the driver’s contact info and that of their insurer. If the driver is not the car’s owner, the relevant party and their insurer’s info must also be gathered. 
  • The victim must not discuss the accident with anyone, not even their legal options. It is best to disclose the chronology of events before the local law enforcement team. 
  • The police will likely take pictures of the accident scene, the victim’s injuries, and anything else that may act as evidence later on. If the victim can, they may take relevant pictures or videos on their phone. 
  • The victim can try to gather the contact information of any witnesses present at the accident scene. They also need to call their insurer and inform them about the accident. 

What Are the Legal Options Available? 

Depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, they need time to recover completely. After that, they must file an insurance claim to get fair compensation. This process is often challenging as insurers are seldom willing to offer a fair amount. 

If negotiations fail, the claim will turn into a pedestrian accident lawsuit. As such, two legal options are available to the victim. 

Case Against Drivers and Car Owners 

In most cases, the pedestrian brings a claim or lawsuit against the driver of the car that caused the accident or the vehicle’s owner. For instance – the city of Colorado Springs in Colorado has seen quite a few pedestrian accidents in 2024. 

Just recently, a driver hit a pedestrian who sustained life-threatening injuries. The victim was rushed to the hospital but may take weeks or months to recover. The good part is that the driver completely cooperated with the emergency crew and police. 

Once the pedestrian recovers, they can bring a claim against the driver. They may require the help of a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer to dodge the insurer’s clever tactics. The purpose will always be to avoid going to trial. 

According to the Springs Law Group, drivers assume a duty to drive responsibly. This duty extends to pedestrians too, but the claims process can seem challenging to navigate alone. With a reliable attorney, it’s possible to get fair compensation through alternative dispute resolution methods. 

If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, the injured pedestrian may bring a suit against the actual owner as well. 

Case Against the Local or State Government 

Not all pedestrian accidents are caused by the driver of a vehicle. Does this sound a bit odd? In some cases, the layout or design of the city’s streets/highways may be responsible. An example would be sharp blind curves. 

Then, an injured pedestrian can file a suit against the responsible local or state government. This will also be the case when traffic control devices fail at the time of the accident. For instance – the traffic lights did not function properly. 

Another example of municipality negligence would be an improperly placed crosswalk. Let’s say that a crosswalk stood just after a street’s curve with no street sign. Such poor planning creates safety hazards. 

Finally, pedestrians involved in an accident may question what their case will be worth. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for this. It will depend on several variables at play. These include clarity regarding the at-fault party, severity of injuries, emotional trauma and suffering caused, etc. 

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