Delaware Car Accident Lawyers Represent Victims of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian Accident Injuries Can be Life-Altering
Cars share roads with other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and when they collide, someone often becomes injured. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable, since they do not usually wear any protective gear like helmets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year, approximately 5,000 pedestrians are fatally injured in car crashes, and around 76,000 more are injured.
Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
Although pedestrians have no crash protection, drivers are not always completely at fault. Pedestrians can contribute to accidents if they cross streets illegally, are distracted while walking, or run across a street in the dark. If these actions make it impossible for the driver to avoid hitting them, a judge could find the pedestrian at fault.
There are many factors that contribute to driver negligence including speeding, distracted driving, and failing to yield. Drivers are responsible for a duty of reasonable care; this means they must follow certain standards of safe driving in normal circumstances. Additionally, they are required to adjust their driving to current conditions, as in slowing down in a school zone, or yielding to a group of bicyclists traveling on the side of the road.
If both the driver and pedestrian are not behaving safely, the liability could be shared by both.
More About Duty of Care
Pedestrians are also held to the duty of care rule. This means following traffic signs and signals, and not putting themselves in danger. Walking across the middle of a street can disrupt traffic, causing cars to crash. Jumping in front of a vehicle is another risky behavior.
Drivers who fail to follow these same rules can also be found negligent. Aside from speeding and running red lights, many drivers are texting or distracted by their GPS or phones. Others do not use turn signals, and neglect to give pedestrians the right of way. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is another significant problem that causes pedestrian accidents.
After an Accident Occurs
These accident scenes can be chaotic, especially when there are severe injuries. The first course of action is to call 911 for assistance. Once the ambulance and police arrive, they will obtain statements from both parties and any witnesses. The police report may include the officer’s opinion as to who caused the crash. This can be later challenged by the auto insurance company, though. In these situations, a car accident lawyer can provide guidance.
Pedestrians injured in car accidents may have coverage from their own auto, health and disability insurance. If the accident occurs while at work, their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance can provide benefits. In most cases, the pedestrian can also file a third-party personal injury claim against the driver that hit them.
“Fault” Auto Insurance in Delaware
Most states require car owners and their drivers to have liability insurance for third-party injuries. In no-fault states like Pennsylvania, injured parties submit claims to their own insurance companies. Delaware, however, is a “fault” auto insurance state.
With the “fault” system, the person liable for the crash must compensate the injured parties. This is usually paid out by that liable driver’s insurance carrier, and the amount can depend on policy limits. Injured pedestrians can file claims with their own insurance company, file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or initiate a personal injury lawsuit in court.
Delaware Auto Insurance Requirements
According to the law, motor vehicle owners in Delaware are required to have certain minimum insurance requirements:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person injured/$50,000 total for two or more people
- Property damage: $10,000 for each accident caused
- Personal injury protection: $15,000 for any injuries to the driver/$30,000 total for injuries to driver and passengers.
These minimums provide benefits for medical costs, property damages, and any other costs experienced by the injured. Policy holders may also purchase additional insurance, which can be helpful if serious accidents occur.
A leading cause of car vs. pedestrian accidents is the simple act of not paying attention. Pedestrians and drivers should always be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to traffic signs, signals, and crosswalks. Drivers should always give pedestrians the right of way, and pay extra attention to those with special needs, seniors, and young children. Many pedestrians do not realize that their actions are dangerous, and drivers need to keep this in mind as they approach.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC are Highly Experienced in Car and Pedestrian Accident Claims
Determining negligence in any type of car accident is integral to your defense, and a qualified Delaware car accident lawyer from McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can offer you excellent legal guidance. For a free case evaluation, call us at 302-888-1221 or complete an online contact form. We represent clients in Wilmington, Dover, Newark, and Middletown, Delaware, as well as clients in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.