Fairbanks, Alaska Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
According to the CDC, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in the United States in traffic collisions in 2016. This means that one pedestrian died in a car accident every 1.5 hours. In addition to these pedestrian deaths, another 129,000 pedestrians were treated in ERs for non-fatal, crash-related injuries.
On each trip made by a pedestrian, he or she is 1.5 times as likely to be killed in a car accident as those in a passenger vehicle. Older adults over the age of 65 accounted for a full one-fifth of all pedestrian deaths in 2016, and about 15 percent of all pedestrian injuries.
Children are also over-represented in pedestrian deaths and injuries; one in five children under the age of 15 who are killed in a traffic accident were pedestrians. Alcohol, either for the driver or the pedestrian, is a factor in many pedestrian accidents, as nearly half of all collisions which result in the death of a pedestrian involve alcohol.
Pedestrian Accidents in Alaska
Although there are many laws which exist to protect pedestrians in Fairbanks, Alaska, unfortunately, drivers may sometimes ignore these laws.
Pedestrians are given the right-of-way in safety zones—if a pedestrian is crossing the street in a safety zone, cars in the area must yield. Pedestrians are also allowed to finish crossing the street, even if the light changes while they are walking.
Pedestrians are not allowed to walk when the “Don’t Walk” light is on, and may not jaywalk, although drivers are still charged with looking out for pedestrians, even when the pedestrian is not properly following the laws.
Driver Negligence as a Cause of Pedestrian Accidents
When two automobiles crash into one another, there can be serious consequences, including severe injury and even death. Even so, those inside the car are at least somewhat protected by the metal and glass surrounding them as well as the safety belts and airbags. Imagine, then, a pedestrian walking along and suddenly being struck by a 3,000-6,000-pound vehicle.
When drivers attempt to multitask behind the wheel, vulnerable pedestrians can pay the price. Talking on a cell phone, texting, fiddling with the radio, turning around to scold the kids in the back seat, talking to passengers, eating, watching something interesting on the side of the road, and even reading and applying makeup are all behaviors exhibited by drivers more often than you might think. When drivers engage in any activity other than driving and paying attention to the cars and people around them, an accident can result, sometimes with tragic consequences.
Drivers who are unfamiliar with the area may be so focused on reading maps or street signs that they completely miss the pedestrian until it is too late. Aggressive driving behaviors can be the cause of pedestrian accidents when drivers are in a hurry or late to work. Drivers may also violate traffic signals and signs, drive at unsafe speeds, make improper turns, or violate the right-of-way of others—all, reckless driving behaviors which can result in a pedestrian accident.
Incidents of road rage have also been known to result in a pedestrian accident. Those who get behind the wheel have a legal tenet to protect other human beings from harm, including other drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
The Vulnerability of Pedestrians
The primary factor in auto/pedestrian accidents is the vulnerability of the pedestrian. A car traveling at a low rate of speed will do more damage to a pedestrian than two cars colliding at relatively high speeds.
Pedestrian accidents can be attributed to a wide range of factors. The most common maneuvers being performed by drivers immediately before hitting a pedestrian include making a U-turn, backing up without looking and making a right or left turn—usually in an intersection and without taking note of pedestrians crossing the street. Driver distraction or inattentiveness is also not only responsible for a large number of auto accidents, but also for a large number of pedestrian accidents.
When the Pedestrian is at Fault
Of course, in certain situations, the driver may not be at fault in the accident. Pedestrians must pay attention to their surroundings, avoiding stepping out from behind a row of parked cars, or walking with headphones on and the music turned up loudly.
As noted, children and the elderly are often victims of pedestrian accidents. Children may not understand the seriousness of running into the street, and the elderly may misjudge the amount of time it will take to cross the street.
This does not mean an elderly person or a child is at fault in a pedestrian accident, as drivers must watch out for pedestrians, altering their driving to reflect concern for the elderly and the very young. Drivers must always drive defensively in areas where pedestrians typically travel.
Simply slowing down and paying attention to the road and people around them can prevent an accident that could have far-reaching consequences for all involved.
What Damages are Recoverable for Victims of Alaska Pedestrian Accidents?
There are a number of damages available for a victim of a Fairbanks, Alaska pedestrian accident. These damages may include medical expenses, the cost of future medical care, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, pain, suffering, and emotional distress damages, and, in rare cases, punitive damages when a driver acted with malicious intent or gross negligence.
Can a Pedestrian Receive Compensation Even if He or She is Partially at Fault?
Alaska follows the pure comparative fault rules when both parties are partially to blame for an accident. A jury will be asked to calculate the total dollar amount of the plaintiff’s damages, then the percent of fault belonging to each party. The plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by a percentage equal to his or her share of fault. As an example, if a jury determined you were 20 percent responsible for your pedestrian accident, and your damages equaled $100,000, then your award would be reduced by 20 percent—you would receive $80,000, rather than $100,000.
Getting the Help You Need Following a Fairbanks, Alaska Pedestrian Accident
If you are the victim of an inattentive driver in Fairbanks, Alaska, and have been left with injuries, medical expenses and are unable to work, you need solid legal assistance. An attorney from Ringstad Law Office, P.C. can offer the help you need. We understand the nuances associated with a pedestrian accident and will immediately conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your accident as well as the injuries you sustained.
At Ringstad Law Office, P.C., we have a true interest in your future and will ensure your rights are fully protected following your pedestrian accident. Do not wait—contact an experienced attorney from Ringstad Law Office, P.C. today.