Pedestrians are everywhere in Milwaukee. As walking becomes the go-to solution for exercise, saving gas, reducing carbon footprints, or simply getting from place to place, more walkers are injured in traffic accidents. Wisconsin statutes also include persons using wheelchairs and powered mobility devices within its pedestrian definition. Their numbers are a factor in state and national pedestrian casualty statistics.
As pedestrian numbers began rising a few years ago, the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration and other agencies began documenting a corresponding increase in pedestrian fatalities. The most recent NHSTA statistics show 5,987 pedestrian fatalities nationally, the highest number since 1990. Wisconsin’s 6-year pedestrian casualty statistics show an average of 1,248 pedestrian crashes per year. In these accidents, 1,196 people sustained injuries and 46 were fatally wounded. The most recent Governor’s Highway Safety Association Report on Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities shows a 9.5 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities across the country. The rates are even higher in America’s largest cities.
When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian rarely escapes injury. A car or truck has a weight advantage. Combined with speed, a vehicle easily forces a pedestrian to the ground. The outcome is often devastating. While a vehicle driver rarely gets hurt in a pedestrian collision, pedestrians usually require medical treatment. While some vehicle collisions cause only minor injuries, others leave a pedestrian with catastrophic or fatal injuries, high medical bills, and lifelong disabilities.
Children Are the Most Vulnerable Pedestrians
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recognizes children as most at-risk for vehicle/pedestrian collisions. Children walk more frequently and behave impulsively. WDOT explains that they are frequent pedestrian injury victims for a number of reasons:
- Children haven’t developed the judgment to navigate traffic without help.
- Their peripheral vision isn’t fully developed.
- They have difficulty discerning a sound’s direction.
- If a child sees a car they believe the car can see them.
- They can’t judge vehicle speed and distance.
- They haven’t yet developed a sense of danger.
- They believe a car can stop as readily as they can.
Most Wisconsin pedestrian accidents occur at an intersection or in mid-block. In the majority of these accidents, the automobile operator is at fault for causing or contributing to the accident. When a negligent vehicle operator injures a pedestrian, we believe they should pay for the damages they cause.
Our Track Record of Success
Thousands of pedestrians are injured every year in traffic accidents. Often these injuries are very serious, as we are dealing with an accident that involves a motor vehicle versus a person. Our lawyers take these accidents very seriously. We handle personal injury cases only, so we know and understand the legal issues and liability complications. Our attorneys have worked with clients who sustained serious and catastrophic injuries. We understand the medical, personal, and financial issues. We see, first hand, how injuries change their lives.
Groth Law Firm has represented people across Wisconsin that have been injured in pedestrian knockdowns and hit and run accidents. We’ve worked to help our clients make a monetary recovery for pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income, disfigurement, loss of normal life, and any other damages caused by a pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Each year in Wisconsin, there are approximately 50 deaths attributable to pedestrian vs. automobile accidents. More than 1,200 people are seriously injured each year in Wisconsin pedestrian accidents. Many of these injuries are serious, catastrophic, or fatal.
When a vehicle strikes an unprotected pedestrian or wheelchair-bound person, they rarely leave the scene unharmed. The most seriously traumatized people die from their injuries. Others sustain serious and catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious conditions.
- Spinal cord trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Traumatic amputations
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Multiple fractures
- Disc and spine injuries
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Fatal injuries
What To Do if You’re Hit By a Vehicle
If you’re a frequent pedestrian, you should know what to do if you’re hit by a car while you’re walking or navigating your mobility device. If you’re seriously injured, you should wait in place for assistance. If you have a cell phone available, call 911. If not, ask a bystander to make the call and ask for an ambulance and a police officer. The authorities will create a report that formalizes the incident and documents your injuries.
If your injuries are minor and you feel comfortable in your surroundings, perform a few simple tasks so you can help document the accident and preserve the evidence:
- Photograph the scene – Use your cell camera and snap a few photos of the area, the intersections, crosswalks, and the vehicle driver’s car. Get a clear photo of the license plate in case the driver takes off before the police arrive. If you were in a wheelchair or other mobility device ask a bystander for help photographing any damage.
- Talk to the driver – If you feel comfortable approaching the driver, ask for his or her license and insurance information. Don’t press the issue if the driver is under the influence or behaves erratically.
- Talk to witnesses – Unbiased witnesses will provide the most acceptable account of the incident but they often leave before the authorities arrive. If possible, get their names and contact information for follow up.
- Get medical attention – If the police officer arrives before the ambulance, explain that you have requested transportation to the hospital. If the ambulance arrives first, the police officer can talk with you at the emergency facility.
- Stick with your treatment schedule – Follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan even when you begin to feel better. Medical records help document your injury and your healing progress. They contain your physician’s comments on your injury and your prognosis. If you stop seeing your doctor, your medical records will reflect that you no longer need treatment and it will diminish your injury value.
- Consult a pedestrian accident attorney – Pedestrian injury claims are complicated. They involve complex liability and damage issues that are often difficult to navigate alone. A lawyer works on your behalf. He or she protects your interests and your legal recovery rights. If you have liability insurance claims pending, your car accident lawyer works with the insurance companies on your behalf.
When we settle our clients’ pedestrian injury claims, we seek full monetary compensation for the losses they’ve endured. At Groth Law Firm, our lawyers seek recovery for economic and general damages. In some cases, a plaintiff also recovers punitive damages.
We may seek reimbursement for past and future costs for these and other economic losses.
- Lost wages
- Doctor visits
- Assistance devices and structures
- Physical therapy
- Home care expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
Settlements also include general damages. These provide monetary compensation for emotional, psychological, social, and other subjectively evaluated losses.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished spousal and family relationships
- Loss of bodily functions
- Temporary and permanent disabilities
When an injured pedestrian proves a negligent party “…acted maliciously toward the plaintiff or in an intentional disregard of the rights of the plaintiff…,” a court may award punitive damages. If a plaintiff provides evidence to prove a case for punitive damages, Wisconsin statute, § 895.043 Punitive Damages, limits the damage recovery amount.
Hit and Run Victims
If a hit and run driver injured you while you were a pedestrian or operating a mobility assistive device, you must rely on your health insurance carrier to pay your medical bills. If you have auto insurance or you’re considered an insured under someone else’s auto policy, you have coverage for wage losses, general damages, and other damages under Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
While auto policies contain certain differences, the basic personal auto policy uninsured motorist coverage provisions define a resident Family Member as an insured. Our pedestrian accident injury attorneys have established our clients’ UM or UIM coverage rights for their hit and run injuries. We’ve also helped our clients comply with policy duties and hit and run requirements as outlined under Wisconsin statutory guidelines, § 632.32 Provisions of motor vehicle insurance policies.
Uninsured coverage includes hit and run drivers within the uninsured driver definition. When UM coverage applies, the insurance carrier pays the injury-related damages the negligent driver should have paid. Underinsured Motorist Coverage pays the difference in coverage amounts between an insured negligent driver’s low liability limits and available UIM limits.
Our pedestrian accident lawyers understand that UM and UIM insurance issues are complicated. We have worked with our clients in establishing coverage, damages, injuries, and the other driver’s hit and run status.
Pedestrian Accident Liability Issues
Whether or not you’re dealing with a negligent driver’s insurance company or your own UM carrier, your settlement takes time, effort, and patience. Despite clear liability issues, insurance companies sometimes litigate cases instead of settling them. They rely on a number of legal defenses:
- No negligence – If a defendant/insurance company convinces the jury that an injured plaintiff is 100 percent at fault, the injured person doesn’t receive a damage award. A child age 7 or under is considered incapable of negligence.
- Contributory negligence – Under Wisconsin’s Contributory Negligence Statute, § 895.045 Contributory Negligence juries award judgments reduced by an injured plaintiff’s negligence amount. If they find an injured pedestrian is 30 percent negligent, he receives only 70 percent of his damages. If the defendant proves a plaintiff is more than 51 percent negligent, he receives no damages.
- Disputed damages – Insurance companies and defendants diminish their claim payouts by convincing a jury that some or all of the plaintiff injuries were not related to the accident.
Our attorneys understand that insurance companies often reduce their claim payment responsibilities by relying on defense tactics. We review and prepare our clients’ cases and overcome insurance company strategies with solid evidence and legal expertise.
Contact Our Milwaukee Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
If you or a family member have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you need an attorney with the skills and dedication to recover the compensation you deserve. Our Personal injury attorneys have helped injured clients in Milwaukee, Brookfield, and in cities throughout Wisconsin. Let us review your case and determine if we can help you. Call Groth Law at (414) 240-0707 or complete our online case submission form to arrange your consultation.