When you’re driving a car and are involved in a crash with another vehicle, it’s certainly not a pleasant experience, but you at least have some idea of how to handle the situation: make sure any injuries are addressed as needed, exchange information with the other driver, gather photo evidence, and file a claim with your insurance company.

If you’re a pedestrian, however, and you’re struck by a vehicle while out walking, the experience can feel overwhelmingly different than if you were driving a car. And this is often because as a pedestrian, you lack any protective safety that comes with the steel and airbags of a vehicle, not to mention, the expectation is that drivers are always on the careful lookout for pedestrians specifically so that they don’t hit them. But the reality is that pedestrian accidents do happen, and they are, in fact on the rise in St. Louis. And they can be truly devastating to experience.

Q: What constitutes a pedestrian accident claim?

A: In most scenarios, if a car hits a pedestrian while they are out walking, it can be considered a pedestrian accident at the fault of the driver. This can even be true if a pedestrian was jaywalking or otherwise walking where or how they shouldn’t have been. If the pedestrian intentionally places themselves in the vehicle’s path to be struck, however, that would be a different scenario.

Usually, a claim or a lawsuit will be filed if the car that struck the pedestrian caused the pedestrian injuries that resulted in necessary medical attention to address those injuries. If you are struck by a vehicle while walking, it’s almost always wise to seek professional medical attention to get yourself checked out, even if the impact didn’t seem to cause any visible bodily damage.

Q: What are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents? 

A: Distracted driving is the number-one cause of pedestrians being struck by vehicles. This is followed closely by speeding and disobeying traffic laws. Many people assume that pedestrians are most often hit by vehicles when they are walking somewhere unsafe, and while this can happen, more often than not, a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle when the driver isn’t paying close enough attention to the road.

A common scenario is when a pedestrian has the right of way to cross a crosswalk, and a car making a right turn through that crosswalk strikes the crossing pedestrian because they weren’t paying attention, or they didn’t correctly obey the right of way law.

Q: What kinds of injuries can occur to a pedestrian struck by a car?

A: Any number of injuries can befall a pedestrian who is struck by a moving vehicle, most dependent upon the speed and manner in which they are struck, as well as the size of the vehicle. Most commonly, pedestrian injuries include severe abrasions or burn to the skin, lacerations, broken or sprained bones, whiplash, and head trauma. If the accident is particularly severe, it can result in traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, internal bleeding or damage to internal organs, and death. Usually, the faster or larger the vehicle, such as if a pedestrian were struck by a 16-wheeler or semi-truck, the more severe the injuries they suffer.

Q: What should I do if I’m struck by a vehicle while out walking?

A: First, obtain the medical attention you need to address any injuries. Call 911 if emergency services are needed. Next, if possible, gather as much information from the driver as you can, such as insurance and contact information. If you are able to gather evidence at the scene of the accident, such as photos of the vehicle and location, contact information from any witnesses, or make note of any cameras that might have captured the accident, also be sure to do so. Once you’ve left the accident scene, get medical treatment, even if you aren’t sure you’ve suffered any injuries. It’s always better to let a medical professional determine that. Finally, contact your insurance provider as well as a personal injury lawyer to help you determine what your next best steps are.

Q: What is the process of filing this type of claim?

A: A pedestrian accident claim should still be filed through your car insurance company because a vehicle will still be considered the cause of the accident and your injuries. Your insurance provider may investigate whether any comparable negligence was at play in causing your injuries, just as they would if you had been driving a car instead of walking, so you should also be prepared to detail your actions leading up to the accident. These processes can be more complicated than if you were also driving a car because the injuries can be so much more extensive, so it’s always recommended to get a pedestrian accident attorney involved to help you make sure you’re receiving all the compensation you deserve.

Q: What if I was crossing or walking illegally when I was hit?

A: People operating vehicles owe a duty of care to all drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians they share the road with no matter where in the road those others might be. So even if you were illegally crossing when you were struck by a car, you still have a right to seek damages and compensation for the injuries you suffered. However, under comparative negligence rules, if it’s found that your actions were partially responsible for causing your injuries in some way (such as jaywalking in front of oncoming traffic), you may receive less compensation than you would otherwise.

Q: What kind of compensation can I recover after being hit by a car?

A: As mentioned, because the injuries suffered by a pedestrian can be so much more extensive than if they were struck while inside a vehicle, the potential compensation for addressing those injuries can often be much higher as well. It’s dependent upon the extent of the injuries suffered, the costs to medically address them, and what the actions of the driver were leading up to the incident. If the driver is found to have been particularly reckless or negligent, it’s possible for compensation for the pedestrian to range into millions of dollars.

Protect Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, taking the right steps immediately can make all the difference in protecting your rights and securing the compensation you deserve. At Finney Injury Law, we understand the complexities of these cases and are here to guide you every step of the way.

Contact us today for expert legal advice. Our experienced team is ready to fight for your rights and help you navigate the aftermath of a pedestrian accident. Don’t wait—reach out now to schedule your free consultation and take the first step towards justice and recovery.