3 Legal Options for Pedestrians Hit by a Car

pedestrians hit by a car
If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, what are your options? Find out what you need to do next and what to do if you are partially at fault.

In 2017, there were an estimated 137,000 pedestrians treated in an emergency department in the U.S. for non-fatal crash-related injuries, in addition to 5,977 pedestrian deaths.

These accidents can be caused by drivers who aren’t paying attention, mistimed traffic signals, unsafe roads, poor lighting at night, or even pedestrians who ignore traffic regulations.

If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, what are your options? 

Keep reading to learn more about what to do if you are a pedestrian hit by a car, as well as what it means if you are partially at fault. 

What Should Pedestrians Hit by a Car Do? 

1. Seek Medical Assistance Immediately

There are few situations that are scarier than being struck by a vehicle. An incident like this can cause obvious physical injuries and unknown internal injuries.

Additionally, pedestrian-vehicle accidents can cause profound emotional stress.

Call 911 and seek medical attention to attend to injuries immediately. Your health is the first priority in this situation and should be treated as such.

After you are treated, collect documentation from your caregiver about your initial injuries and any follow-up visits related to the accident.

Documentation is vital for later steps in this process.

2. Call the Police

If possible, make notes of the accident before memories fade. As noted before, pedestrian-vehicle accidents are traumatic, and heightened emotions or physical injuries can make recalling details difficult. 

Take this another step forward and call the police. Give a detailed recount of the chain of events that led to you being hit.

The insurance company will likely review a police report and your statement to establish fault and proceed with an insurance claim.

3. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are struck by a car, you’ll likely experience more severe injuries than the vehicle occupants. Despite this, the driver’s insurance company may try to downplay your injuries or even place the fault on you.

Contact a personal injury lawyer before talking to the insurance company. 

A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this difficult process and ensure that you are getting the best possible outcome.

Can A Pedestrian Share Fault in the Accident in Washington?

According to Washington law, all drivers must exercise care so as not to collide with pedestrians on any roadway. If necessary, a driver should honk his/her car horn to warn a child, a confused person, or an incapacitated person that may enter the roadway (RCW 46.61.245). 

So what does this mean exactly? No matter what road a driver is on, it is his/her responsibility to keep an eye out for pedestrians that are crossing the road or that may cross the road. Therefore, if a driver hits a pedestrian, that driver will be at fault for the accident.

However, in Washington, a pedestrian can be partially at fault for an accident (RCW 4.22.070). 

How so? After all, don’t pedestrians have the right-of-way? 

While pedestrians always have the right-of-way on sidewalks (RCW 46.61.261), they do not always have the right-of-way on roads. If you break a traffic violation that results in another car hitting you, you can share fault. 

Regardless of whether you share fault in the accident or not, the driver’s insurance may try to blame the accident on you to reduce your claim. That’s where a personal injury attorney can help. We will make sure you get the amount of money you deserve in the settlement. 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of pedestrian laws in Washington to help you find out if you could be partially at fault for your accident.

An Overview of Pedestrian Laws in Washington

Just like drivers and bicyclists, pedestrians have certain laws they must abide by.

In addition to receiving partial fault for the accident, if any of those laws are violated, pedestrians can also receive a ticket or fine.

Below, we’ve compiled an overview of pedestrian laws in the state of Washington. Keep reading to learn if and why you could be partially at fault for getting hit by a car.

  • All pedestrians must abide by traffic control regulations and signals (RCW 46.61.230). 
  • All drivers must stop at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross the roadway. However, pedestrians should not leave the curb and move into the path of a vehicle that is too close to be able to stop for the pedestrian (RCW 46.61.235).
  • If a pedestrian is not at a crosswalk at an intersection, vehicles have the right-of-way. If a pedestrian wishes to cross the road in this instance, s/he must yield to other vehicles. Additionally, between adjacent intersections where traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians must not cross anywhere except the crosswalk. Crossing diagonally and crossing where there is a sign that prohibits crossing is unlawful (RCW 46.61.240).
  • Where sidewalks are available, it is unlawful for a pedestrian to walk or move along the roadway. If a sidewalk is not available, the pedestrian may walk along the adjacent roadway until a sidewalk is available to use. However, the pedestrian must move as close to the shoulder and as far from traffic as is possible (RCW 46.61.250).
  • If a pedestrian is trying to solicit a ride with another driver, it is unlawful for the pedestrian to stand in or on a public roadway, preventing a vehicle from safely stopping off the main traveled portion of the road. Pedestrians also cannot stand in the middle of a roadway for the purpose of soliciting employment or business from an occupant of a vehicle. Lastly, no pedestrian is allowed to stand in proximity to a street or highway for the purpose of soliciting the watching or guarding of a vehicle that is parked or about to be parked (RCW 46.61.255).
  • Pedestrians must always yield to emergency vehicles (RCW 46.61.264).
  • Pedestrians should not enter or remain upon a bridge after a bridge operation signal has been given. Pedestrians also cannot pass through, around, over, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad or bridge when the gates/barriers are closed or while they are in the process of opening or closing (RCW 46.61.269).

Have You Been Hit by a Car? Contact an Expert Personal Injury Attorney

As a pedestrian hit by a car, a personal injury attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve, whether you are partially at fault or not. 

Will & Will is a husband and wife lawyer team in Seattle that specializes in helping individuals who have suffered an injury as a result of getting hit by a car. Court and Michelle Will are caring advocates who are dedicated to working tirelessly with you so you can get compensated for your injuries. 

For a free consultation, contact Will & Will today!

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