Bellevue Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Bellevue for Pedestrian Accident Victims
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, nearly all Washingtonians walk on a daily basis and for about 25% – 30% of the state’s population who do not drive, walking is a necessary means of transportation. Bicycling is also not just a means of recreation but the way in which many Washingtonians commute to work and the way many of our children get to school. Walkers and bicyclists accounted for 18.6 percent of traffic fatalities between 2013 and 2017, and 22.5 percent of serious injuries. The number of serious injuries and fatalities of walkers and bicyclists has also been increasing. There were 412 walkers and bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the 2011-2015 period and 474 in the 2013-2017 period. During those same periods, serious injuries for walkers and bicyclists increased from 1,992 to 2,351.
In Washington, the leading action by motorists that results in them hitting someone is failure to yield to pedestrians. While the law assigns pedestrians the right of way, it does not relieve pedestrians of using due care for their own safety. If sidewalks are not available, walk on the edge of the road or on the left shoulder of the road, facing the traffic flow. Use pedestrian bridges when they are available. Pedestrians are most often hit by drivers while crossing the road. Use marked crosswalks and signalized intersections when available. Every intersection is a legal crosswalk under Washington law unless it is marked as closed or where it’s located between two signalized intersections you could cross at. In addition to intersections, driveways are another place where you can expect to encounter drivers or bicyclists exiting or entering. Take an extra moment to confirm that you can cross safely. Traffic fatalities involving pedestrians—including people in wheelchairs and those using small rideable devices such as skateboards and scooters—increased by 62.5 percent from 2010 to 2019. Crash data indicate that vehicle-travel speed is a critical factor and one of the key first steps to addressing deaths and serious injuries among pedestrians and bicyclists. Strategies to address vehicle speeds and other important safety issues for people who walk and bike are outlined in the Washington state Target Zero Statewide Traffic Safety Plan.
Due to the physical exposure, a pedestrian involved in a collision with an automobile is at a much higher risk of serious injuries than a vehicle passenger. While there are several things that should be done quickly if you have been in a car accident, such as obtaining their insurance and driver’s license information, taking photos, and contacting your insurer, the most important thing is the health and wellbeing of all of those involved in the collision. If you are experiencing any physical or psychological symptoms following being struck by a motor vehicle, it is strongly encouraged that you present to a medical provider for evaluation and any recommended treatment.
If you have been in a pedestrian accident and have any legal related questions, please feel free to reach out to Charles McNeese and Adam Trotsky for a free phone, video, or in-person consultation. We look forward to answering any of your questions.
Understanding the Insurance Aspect
Washington State requires all drivers to maintain liability insurance to operate a vehicle. While there are numerous types of car insurance, Washington drivers are required to carry a minimum of $25,000/per person and $50,000/per accident of liability insurance to cover victims of their negligence while operating a vehicle. Washington State also requires that an insurer offer their insured drivers the opportunity to purchase both Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists and Personal Injury Protection coverage, and must produce written rejection of both coverages, otherwise this coverage will be provided to their insured, irrespective of if the premiums paid included these types of coverage.
Uninsured Motorists coverage stands in the shoes of the insurance for an uninsured at fault driver
Underinsured Motorists coverage is excess coverage for an injured party if their claim is valued in excess of the at-fault party’s liability insurance limits
Personal Injury Protection coverage will cover necessary, related, and reasonable medical expenses incurred due to injuries suffered in a car accident, up to the policy limit, which is a minimum of $10,000 in Washington State
Another important car insurance coverage is rental car coverage; if you don’t have rental car coverage, the at-fault parties’ coverage should provide a rental car or a rental car stipend for the time you are unable to use your vehicle. A recent case in Washington has decided that a victim of a car accident, who will be without their car due to its inability to operate or due to repairs, is entitled to either a rental car of comparable value or a stipend based on this amount.
The Two Big Questions
There are two primary questions regarding car accident claims.
Who is At-Fault?
If the claimant can show the collision was at least partially the fault of the other driver or drivers, there is a claim for damages.
What are the Damages?
If there is fault to be apportioned to another driver, the next question is what are the damages. In personal injury claims, there are two primary areas of damages:
1) Special Damages are damages that a specific number can be put on, such as lost earnings, loss of future earnings, property damage, and medical bills
2) General Damages relate more to pain and suffering, including psychological and emotional damages