At some time or another, we are all pedestrians. If you are injured by a negligent driver while you’re walking in the Salt Lake City area, arrange at once to discuss your right to recover compensation with a Salt Lake City car accident attorney.
More than 6,500 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2019, accounting for about 17 percent of all traffic fatalities. Thousands more were injured. Why is it so dangerous to be a pedestrian? If you’re injured while you are walking, what are your legal rights?
These questions will be answered if you’ll continue reading this brief discussion of pedestrian accidents and pedestrian rights in Utah. You’ll learn what steps to take if you’re struck by a negligent driver while you’re a pedestrian.
What Threats Face Pedestrians?
If you work or live in a congested urban center like Salt Lake City, you already know that merely crossing a street can put your life at risk, but careless motorists are not the only danger that urban pedestrians face.
Pedestrians also sustain serious injuries due to inadequate sidewalk and street maintenance, abandoned debris, ongoing construction, and a host of other hazards. Whenever a careless driver hits an unprotected pedestrian, if the result isn’t a fatality, it may be a catastrophic injury.
Pedestrians in these accidents frequently suffer back and neck injuries, brain injuries and head trauma, bruises, broken bones, internal injuries, and abrasions. If you’re walking in Salt Lake City or any other urban area, vigilance is imperative.
What Are Your Rights If a Negligent Driver Injures You?
A motorist can be held liable for an accident and a pedestrian’s injury or injuries if the motorist was texting, speeding, intoxicated, distracted, or negligent in any other way that led to the accident and injury.
In Utah, if you’re injured because another person was negligent while you were a pedestrian, obtain medical treatment at once. Then, as soon as possible, schedule a consultation to discuss your rights with a Salt Lake City pedestrian accident attorney.
An injured victim of negligence is entitled under Utah law to complete compensation for accident-related medical costs, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and related damages and losses.
How Will an Attorney Help You?
But even if you’re “entitled” to receive compensation, to recover it, you may have to demonstrate that someone else’s negligence was a direct cause of your personal injury. You’ll need the right attorney’s advice and representation.
If you’re injured as a pedestrian, a Utah personal injury lawyer will negotiate out-of-court with the negligent driver’s attorney and insurance company for a reasonable settlement amount. This is how most personal injury cases arising from pedestrian accidents are resolved.
However, if an acceptable settlement amount is not offered in private negotiations, your personal injury lawyer will take your claim to trial, explain to the jury exactly how you were injured, and ask the jurors to find the negligent driver liable and order the payment of your compensation.
How is Negligence Defined?
What is the legal definition of negligence? If you are the injury victim (or “plaintiff”), in order to prevail with an injury claim in a case arising from a pedestrian accident, your lawyer must offer evidence which demonstrates that the allegedly negligent driver (or “defendant”):
- owed a “duty of care” to pedestrians (as well as other drivers and passengers)
- breached the duty of care through negligence
- directly caused the plaintiff’s injury or injuries because of that negligence
- should compensate the plaintiff for medical costs, lost wages, and related damages
Of course, if you’re injured by your own negligence – you wander into traffic because you’re distracted by your phone, for example – you will have no personal injury claim. On the other hand, sometimes when pedestrians are injured, multiple parties may have liability.
Who May Have Liability for a Pedestrian Accident?
Liability for a pedestrian accident could potentially include the vehicle’s driver, the vehicle owner, the driver’s employer, and whoever is responsible for maintenance of the sidewalk, street, or parking area where the accident took place.
Both drivers and pedestrians must obey the traffic laws and use caution. In some pedestrian accidents, the fault may appear to be obvious, but courts in Utah take a variety of factors into account when determining liability for any particular accident.
If you claim that a motorist injured you, the motorist may insist that you were the negligent party. If you’re struck by a vehicle while you’re walking, no attorney will be there to give you advice, so take the following steps to protect yourself against any false allegation:
- Immediately summon medical attention and the police.
- Don’t leave the accident scene before the police arrive.
- Take photos and try to get names and contact information from any eyewitnesses.
- Make no statement to the insurance company before you’ve consulted an attorney.
Can Pedestrian Accidents Be Prevented?
When you’re walking in the Salt Lake City area, take a few safety precautions. Cross at the crosswalks and walk on the sidewalks. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. After dark, wear brightly-colored clothing and bring a flashlight.
When you drive, don’t text or talk on the phone. Avoid distractions that may be caused by pets or children. Never read, groom, drink, or eat when you’re driving. Check routinely the vehicle’s wipers, lights, tires, and brakes. Always adhere to the driving laws.
If a negligent motorist injures you in Utah, ask a Salt Lake City car accident attorney to look at your case and to explain your right to compensation. The right lawyer will fight aggressively and effectively to recover the compensation that you are entitled to under Utah law.
When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When personal injury claims prevail, compensation is usually paid for all current and projected future medical costs arising from the incident, all current and projected future lost wages, and all other losses and damages.
Utah’s statute of limitations gives you four years to bring a personal injury claim to court. Don’t wait four years or even four weeks to speak to a personal injury attorney. Your attorney should see the evidence while it’s fresh and question the witnesses before their memories fade.
If you are injured while you are a pedestrian in the State of Utah, get the legal help you need right away. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, and you can prove it, the law will be on your side.