Due to the nature of pedestrian accidents, they can result in severe injuries, permanent disabilities, and even death. Out of 1,252 pedestrian crashes in Wisconsin in 2016, 1,181 individuals sustained injuries and 49 died. According to We Are Green Bay, 59 died in pedestrian accidents in 2017. This increase in pedestrian accidents has been largely due to distracted driving as well as distracted pedestrians.
Distracted drivers may be on their phones, eating, applying makeup, or reading. Distracted pedestrians are usually looking at their phones and not focused on their surroundings. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Wauwatosa pedestrian accident lawyers for legal advice regarding how to seek compensation for your injuries.
Factors That Contribute to Pedestrian Accidents
In most cases, pedestrian accidents are preventable. Factors that contribute to these accidents include:
- A driver or pedestrian not paying attention while turning into or leaving a driveway or parking lot
- Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks or at intersections
- Drivers who are speeding or driving while distracted
- Distracted pedestrians (usually looking down at their phones)
- Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drivers who fail to stop at red lights or stop signs
Distracted pedestrians are one of the primary factors in pedestrian accidents; while there are laws that prohibit the use of cell phones while driving, no laws exist in Wisconsin that require pedestrians to refrain from using their phones while walking through intersections or in front of driveways or parking lots. Distracted drivers coupled with distracted pedestrians is a deadly combination, and in such a situation, the pedestrian and driver will likely be held jointly responsible for the accident. However, if the driver’s behavior is particularly negligent and dangerous, he or she may have to pay punitive damages as a punishment for his or her actions.
Types of Pedestrian Injuries
Because pedestrians generally lack any safety gear or other protections while walking, should a vehicle collide with a pedestrian, he or she is likely to sustain more severe injuries than individuals involved in other types of accidents. The size and age of the pedestrian involved in such an accident will play a major factor in determining the severity of the injuries. Furthermore, the size of the vehicle, the speed at which it was traveling, and the exact circumstances of the collision are also important factors. The most common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Sprains, tears, and strains in muscles, and other soft tissue injuries
- Lacerations and deep cuts and scrapes, including road rash
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to internal organs
- Fractures, including compound fractures
- Concussions, traumatic brain injury, and other head injuries
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
These types of injuries can affect injured individuals’ health for the rest of their lives, which may involve ongoing medical care. Pedestrian accident injuries may also lead to permanent disabilities, which would require life-long medical care.
If You Are Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, never admit fault or give the implication that you contributed to the accident, even if you honestly think that you did. In many cases, a court or insurance company will determine that the driver of the vehicle caused the accident. If the accident investigation concludes that both you and the driver contributed to the accident, you should still attempt to seek some compensation for your injuries.
If the accident investigation concludes that the driver was entirely at fault for your accident, you should seek compensation through the driver’s vehicle insurance company, including for medical expenses and lost wages. Because insurance companies are businesses focused on their profits and bottom lines, they will usually try to deny or downplay your claim. Additionally, they may offer a low initial settlement amount that may not even cover your current medical bills, let alone ongoing medical costs. If an insurance company attempts to contact you regarding a settlement, always refer them to your attorney.
Because the injuries involved in pedestrian accidents are often severe and may not manifest for a couple of days, you should always see a doctor or go to the emergency room for an examination, even if you don’t think you’ve sustained any injuries. You should also contact a Wisconsin pedestrian accident lawyer to discuss the details of your case and determine your eligibility for compensation.
Statute of Limitations
Under Wisconsin law, you generally have three years to file a lawsuit, but there are some exceptions, so you should contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident. It’s best to contact an attorney while the incident is still fresh in your mind and before you forget any important details. Additionally, your attorney will immediately begin negotiating with the involved insurance companies regarding a settlement.
At the Groth Law Firm, if we are unable to secure a reasonable settlement, we are unafraid to take your case to court. However, we need ample time to negotiate with the insurance companies and then file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out, which is why it’s in your best interest to contact us as soon as possible.
The Damages You May Recover
Pedestrian accident cases generally involve two types of damages: (1) monetary damages that cover your expenses and (2) punitive damages that are meant to punish a driver for being particularly negligent. Potential monetary damages include the following:
- Current medical expenses
- Ongoing medical expenses for long-lasting or permanent disabilities
- Mental anguish, such as pain and suffering caused by the injuries or the accident itself
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages if you are not able to work in the same line of work due to your injuries and/or must make a career change
- Loss of the use of a limb
- Loss of life if filing a wrongful death action on behalf of a deceased loved one
A court may award punitive damages when a driver acted particularly negligent or reckless—for example, if a driver was driving while distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Contact Our Wauwatosa Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
If you sustained an injury or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, contact us today to discuss the details of your case. Our experienced Wauwatosa pedestrian accident lawyers are waiting for your call. Call Groth Law Firm, S.C., at (414) 240-0707, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation. We provide the legal guidance that you need to recover compensation following a pedestrian accident.