According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 4,092 pedestrians were killed and 59,000 were injured in traffic crashes in 2009. Approximately 72% of those collisions between vehicles and pedestrians occurred in an urban setting versus a rural one. Not surprising, 70% of pedestrian fatalities occurred during the nighttime.
Whether a pedestrian will be permitted to recover damages for their injuries depends on several factors. First, it is necessary to show that the operator of the motor vehicle was negligent. Negligence is simply failing to use ordinary care. Negligence may be proven by demonstrating, for example, that the driver failed to obey a safety statute, failed to keep a proper lookout or keep their vehicle under proper control and thus avoid striking the pedestrian. It must be further shown that the negligence was a cause of the collision. Finally, the pedestrian himself must not be negligent.
Unfortunately, accidents involving motor vehicles colliding with pedestrians often result in serious injury. The complete lack of protection to the pedestrian means even vehicles traveling at a relatively low rate of speed can do a great deal of harm. It is often the case due to the severity of the injuries sustained by the pedestrian, that he or she will be unable to assist in providing information about how the accident happened.
In North Carolina, if it can be demonstrated that the pedestrian was contributorily negligent in causing the accident, then the pedestrian would likely be barred from any recovery. A pedestrian is charged with the duty to “see what ought to be seen” under North Carolina law. In practice, that means looking for vehicles before entering are crossing a roadway. Automobile insurance companies, who are responsible for paying damages in pedestrian accidents, work hard to find any degree of fault on the part of the injured pedestrian. If they are successful in proving fault on the part of the pedestrian, the pedestrian may not be entitled to recover damages.
At Price, Hargett, Petho and Anderson, we understand pedestrian automobile accidents. Since 1979, we have successfully litigated and settled thousands of these claims. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to avoid the potential pitfalls in these types of cases. Time is of the essence in gathering evidence. Once hired, our firm works hard to investigate pedestrian accidents by gathering witness statements, taking photographs and performing accident reconstructions. Our firm's early involvement in these types of cases is critical in achieving a successful outcome.