Whether for pleasure, health, or out of necessity, walking is both an excellent form of exercise and mode of transportation. Unfortunately, there are dangers associated with traveling by foot—namely, motor vehicles. When a car or truck strikes a pedestrian, Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC is here for you.
A Jackson pedestrian accident lawyer from our law firm can be a powerful advocate in your injury case. When you partner with us, you will have a legal team that is capable of building the strongest possible case to secure the compensation you are owed. We don’t allow the insurance company to bully or push around our clients, and we will always prioritize your needs and well-being in all actions that we take.
Pedestrian Accidents in Mississippi
According to nationwide data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,977 people were killed in 2017, accounting for 16% of all traffic fatalities. In Mississippi that same year, 71 pedestrians were killed in car accidents, making up just over 10% of all traffic deaths. Although Mississippi has an overall lower rate of pedestrian fatalities compared to the national average, even one pedestrian death is one too many.
Why Pedestrian Accidents Happen
As Jackson pedestrian accident attorneys, we have worked on a wide range of complex accident cases involving those traveling on foot. This experience has given us a unique insight into the types of situations that most commonly result in injured pedestrians. Although weather conditions and other uncontrollable factors sometimes play a role in pedestrian accidents, many more are the result of driver error.
Failure To Yield the Right of Way
Both drivers and pedestrians must yield the right of way to the other when it is appropriate to do so. This concept can be somewhat tricky in regard to pedestrians. Some people are under the belief that pedestrians always have the right to proceed, which is not the case. Although drivers have a duty of care to stop or take actions to avoid causing vehicle accidents should they see a pedestrian in the road, this is not the same as the legal concept of right of way.
The following situations are when a pedestrian has the right to use the road under the following circumstances in Jackson, MS:
- When in a marked crosswalk not controlled by traffic signals
- When in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection not controlled by traffic signals
- When crossing at an intersection controlled by a pedestrian signal that indicates it is safe for a pedestrian to cross
Mississippi § 63-3-1103 affords relatively few situations in which pedestrians have the right of way. However, a driver should always make their best effort to avoid causing a pedestrian accident with a person walking, running, or jogging in the road. If they don’t, they may still be held responsible for any resulting serious injuries sustained in the collision, even when pedestrians choose to cross against red lights.
Drivers should slow down and increase their following distances any time that there is limited or poor visibility. Poor visibility may refer to:
- Bad weather conditions, such as heavy rain or fog
- Time of day when there is limited light or too much sun
- Large vehicles obstructing your view of the road ahead
- Hills or curves that limit your ability to see
When a negligent driver fails to take visibility into account and hits and strikes a pedestrian, the victim can seek full and fair compensation for any resulting damages. To discuss fault and whether you have a legal standing to file a personal injury claim, contact Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Jackson pedestrian accident lawyers.
Cell Phone Use
In 2014, Mississippi enacted traffic laws that banned drivers from texting while behind the wheel. Despite this, 46% of drivers in our state admit to texting and driving. Although there is currently no ban on using cell phones to make or answer calls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers it to be a significant distraction and discourages drivers from engaging in this habit. Unfortunately, an even higher percentage of drivers in Mississippi (75%) admit to talking on the phone while driving.
Distracted drivers are much more likely to run stop signs, not notice red lights, and speed. These types of behaviors put pedestrians at an elevated risk of suffering devastating injuries in a collision.
The Mississippi State Department of Health reports that driver distraction in the three seconds leading up to a collision plays a role in approximately 80% of all traffic accidents, including pedestrian accidents in Jackson. At our personal injury law firm, we hold negligent drivers who refuse to put their phones down responsible for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that a pedestrian may incur as a result of a car accident.
How To Lower Your Risk of Being Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
If you travel by foot, you cannot wholly eliminate your chances of becoming yet another one of Mississippi’s pedestrian accident victims. However, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of being hit by a car or truck. The pedestrian accident lawyers of Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC recommend that pedestrians take the following precautions to stay safe:
Wear Bright Clothing
Whether at night or during the day, wearing dark-colored clothing is a safety hazard. Motor vehicle drivers have a much harder time noticing and identifying pedestrians that are wearing dark-colored clothes, so it is much safer to select articles of clothing that are brightly colored whenever you plan to travel by foot.
For an added layer of safety, you may also wear a reflector sash, belt, or vest when walking at night. If you do not have access to one of these, consider turning on your phone’s flashlight and aiming it at the ground to alert drivers of your location. Never aim the light ahead of you at oncoming cars, as this could interfere with a driver’s vision.
Use Crosswalks and Sidewalks
The safest place to cross the road is in marked crosswalks, at intersections controlled by traffic lights, and unmarked crosswalks at intersections and corners. Although crosswalk accidents can (and do) occur, you are much less likely to be hit in a crosswalk than when trying to cross the road mid-intersection.
When possible, you should always use the sidewalk rather than the road itself. On roads that are not equipped with sidewalks, walk on the far shoulder or edge of the road facing oncoming traffic.
While distracted driving is a serious problem among drivers, distracted walking is a widespread issue among pedestrians. Here are ways to reduce distractions as a pedestrian:
- Never look at your phone while walking
- Do not wear headphones, or use open-ear headphones that do not block or cover your ears
- Turn off or remove your headphones before crossing the road
If you choose to wear headphones that block your ears, keep the volume low and, if possible, use only one earbud instead of two.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accidents tend to involve much more severe injuries than the average vehicle collision. These types of injuries typically require prompt medical attention, and treatment may involve surgery, rehabilitation services, physical therapy, regular specialist visits, and more.
Although this is an incomplete list, the following are some of the most common examples of pedestrian accident injuries:
- Head and neck injuries
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries (including paralysis)
- Crushed limbs
- Jaw and dental injuries
- Broken bones
The Jackson, MS pedestrian accident lawyers at our law firm have years of experience successfully handling complex cases involving these and other injuries. If you’ve been injured in an accident and are prepared to seek maximum compensation for your damages, contact our Mississippi office today to schedule your free consultation.
Fatal Pedestrian Injuries
Not every pedestrian survives a collision with a large motor vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), pedestrian deaths are much more common in accidents involving SUVs and pickup trucks than those involving sedans and other smaller motor vehicles.
Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC extends its sincerest condolences to those who have lost a loved one at the hands of a negligent driver. We also want families who have lost loved ones in pedestrian accidents to know that they have legal options for seeking justice. A wrongful death case may be able to secure some of the following compensation:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Medical expenses incurred due to attempts at life-saving care
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Mental anguish
- Loss of guidance and nurturing
A wrongful death case is always a sensitive matter that we strive to approach with the utmost care and respect. Contact our law office today to speak with a Jackson pedestrian accident lawyer about your legal options to secure justice on behalf of a loved one.
Pedestrian Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Pedestrian accidents have the ability to turn your life upside down. Although you cannot go back in time to undo the harm, you can pursue legal action to address any and all resulting damages. The period of time following this type of collision can be confusing, though, and we understand that many victims are eagerly seeking answers to their questions.
Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC is pleased to provide initial consultations with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer at no cost to those in the Jackson, MS area. During this consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with a real pedestrian accident attorney about your case and to ask any questions you may have. In addition to this service, we have also compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pedestrian accidents.
Are Drivers Always at Fault for Pedestrian Accidents?
Drivers are required to exercise reasonable care when sharing the road with pedestrians. This means that even if a driver technically has the right of way, they must still do everything within their power to avoid striking a person in the roadway. If they don’t, an experienced pedestrian accident attorney from our law firm can help you file a personal injury case to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Who Pays for Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
In pedestrian accident cases, the at-fault party is responsible for paying damages to the injured pedestrian. This compensation will be paid by the driver’s insurance company rather than the driver themselves.
Unfortunately, Mississippi has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation, with nearly 30% of drivers carrying no insurance coverage whatsoever. Many others who have auto insurance policies do not have sufficient coverage to pay for injuries and vehicle repairs in the event of an accident.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, or the other driver’s insurance company is giving you a hard time, it is imperative that you contact a Jackson pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What Compensation Am I Entitled to After a Pedestrian Accident?
Compensation for foot traffic injuries typically falls into one of two categories—economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to your financial losses related to your accident, such as medical bills. Non-economic damages encompass the non-financial ways your accident has caused you to suffer.
In a small number of pedestrian accidents in Jackson, victims might also be owed punitive damages. These damages do not seek to compensate the victim for any specific loss, but rather to punish the at-fault driver. Punitive damages are frequently used as a deterrent to future behavior.
Do I Need a Jackson, MS Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
The legal process of seeking compensation for damages suffered in pedestrian accidents is challenging. At every turn, the insurance company will attempt to question your version of events in an effort to limit your settlement.
You will need the backing of an experienced law firm that is willing to work closely with you to investigate the crash, determine the cause, correctly value the worth of your claim, and negotiate maximum compensation on your behalf. We can also help match you with a qualified medical expert who is willing to conduct a medical evaluation and testify on your behalf.
A Jackson Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Is Just a Click Away
At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we prioritize the attorney-client relationship in every case that we handle. This dedication to our clients, in addition to our proven track record handling complex pedestrian accidents, makes us uniquely poised to guide you through the process of recovering compensation and securing a sense of justice.
You should only work with a Jackson, MS law firm that you confidently feel can win your case. To learn more about how our personal injury lawyers can help build your case, contact us by calling or filling out our convenient online form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.