Have you been injured by a vehicle while you were walking or riding a bike?
If you are injured after getting hit by a car while walking or riding your bike in Washington, you need to take action quickly to protect your rights.
When drivers don’t watch the road carefully, the results can be devastating, especially for pedestrians. Here are a few common causes of pedestrian-car accidents:
The driver wasn’t paying attention or was distracted by a cellphone
Design defects in crosswalk locations, including failure to consider upstream and downstream traffic flows
Motor vehicles and bikes not yielding for pedestrians at crosswalks
Turning at intersections without looking both ways
Failure to follow posted speed limits
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Urban areas have a much higher number of pedestrian accidents than rural areas, but many horrific accidents can happen on country roads. Winding roads with limited visibility and high speeds create the perfect environment for a serious crash.
The statute of limitations for a personal injury action in Washington is just three years. If you are injured after getting hit by a car, you should contact Earl and Edwards, PLLC as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. Our attorneys will evaluate your claim and help you decide if the matter should be brought to court. While some people think they can handle the matter themselves, this is unwise. It is a near-certainty that the driver who hit you will be represented by counsel. As will be seen below, a Washington pedestrian or bike accident case is not as simple as “The driver was driving like a maniac-make him pay me!” You should not go into court alone. You should retain the experienced lawyers at Earl and Edwards to represent your interests and make sure you recover every penny you deserve.
Pedestrian accidents are often catastrophic because the human body simply cannot withstand the damage caused by a collision with a vehicle. The impact of being hit with thousands of pounds of metal can cause severe injuries, including:
Deep cuts (lacerations) and bruises (contusions), including damage to major organs
Head injuries, including concussion and more severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) or coma
Dental or facial injuries, which may include eye injuries and loss of vision
Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis or other loss of function
Orthopedic injuries, including broken bones or damage to other parts of the musculo-skeletal system
If a motorist does not use ordinary care in driving their car, and as a result of this someone is injured, the motorist is liable for damages. They can be required to pay for medical expenses the person they injured already incurred, and for medical expenses they will incur in the future (for example, if their doctor anticipates that surgery will be needed). They can be required to pay for lost wages, as well as lost earnings potential. The motorist can also be made to pay for the injured person’s pain and suffering. It does not matter whether or not the defendant anticipated the damages, it is enough that the damages were caused by the defendant’s negligent conduct. The attorneys at Earl and Edwards are experienced in proving damages to juries, so by retaining us, you will be sure of recovering what you deserve.
In Washington, a pedestrian or cyclist has right of way in a crosswalk. Drivers must pay attention and stop their cars to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross safely. A motorist who does not do this can be made to pay damages. The attorneys at Earl and Edwards are familiar with cases where pedestrians or cyclists in crosswalks have been hit by negligent motorists, and will work to make sure you get the recovery you deserve.
Crosswalk location and road design can also contribute to a pedestrian accident. Those who design and maintain public crosswalks have a duty to consider pedestrian safety. If they fail to do so, and the crosswalk itself is unsafe, then those responsible can also be held accountable. Potential defendants in crosswalk location negligence may include but are not limited to engineering firms and governmental agencies.
What if the driver who hit you was driving under the influence? In Washington, violation of the DUI statute is negligence per se: The fact that the driver was drunk is sufficient to prove negligence. The attorneys at Earl and Edwards know how to show the jury that the driver who hit you was DUI in order to get you the recovery you deserve.
In order to recover damages for injuries caused by getting hit by a car in Washington, you must prove that the driver was negligent. In other words, you must prove that the driver did not use ordinary care in operating their vehicle. In any negligence case in Washington, including pedestrian or bike accident cases, the plaintiff must prove: that the defendant was negligent, that the plaintiff was injured, and that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Unlike in a criminal case, this does not need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The plaintiff need only show that it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent, that they were harmed, and that the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the harm. Drivers in Washington must use ordinary care in driving their cars. This includes keeping a lookout for cyclists and pedestrians. The attorneys at Earl and Edwards are familiar with the elements of negligence in Washington pedestrian and bike accident cases, and will examine your case to determine if there is a chance of recovery.
A common thing we hear clients tell us is “The driver who hit me was going 35 in a 25 mph zone. That means I win automatically, right?” Well, that is actually not the case. While the posted speed limit is a factor in Washington pedestrian and bike accident cases, Washington courts have held that is not the sole deciding factor.
It is possible that the motorist can assert some defenses. For example, Washington requires pedestrians and cyclists to exercise ordinary care as well as motorists. For example, the motorist could claim that the pedestrian they hit suddenly ran into traffic, and so was partially at fault. If the jury agreed, this would reduce the amount of damages the motorist would be liable for. This is known as contributory negligence. It would reduce the total damages awarded to the pedestrian. The attorneys at Earl and Edwards are familiar with the intricacies of contributory negligence, and will work to minimize any reduction in the damages you are awarded.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when you are hit by a car in Washington. You should retain experienced counsel who is familiar with the details of Washington negligence law as applied to pedestrian and bike accidents. The attorneys at Earl and Edwards fit that description. We will examine your case, determine how to prove the defendant’s negligence to the jury, determine what defenses the defendant could assert and how to defeat them, and show the jury what damages you suffered, so you can recover what you deserve.