If you are hit by a car while on foot, your first priority should be to obtain the medical care you need. Your second priority should be to speak with one of our Seattle pedestrian accident lawyers to discuss your rights. When there is evidence that the other party was at fault for the accident and your injuries, Emerald City Law Group and our Seattle car accident lawyers can guide you through a personal injury claim. We are here to help you obtain the compensation that you need to move forward in life.
Many Seattle residents own vehicles. However, not everyone drives to work every day. Walking is on the rise in Seattle, and you may be one of the many individuals who walk as part of your commute. You probably also rely on walking to run errands or to just get out of the house. Walking is a healthy way to get to work, exercise, and have fun, but it is not without risks. In Seattle, where there is still constant traffic on the roads, you are at risk of being struck by a vehicle.
Washington Law Regarding Pedestrians
If you walk around Seattle often, it is essential to understand the Washington traffic laws that apply to you. Based on the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61. 235 and 261, you must use the sidewalk when it is available. If there are no sidewalks, you can walk on the left side of the road or the shoulder facing traffic. When you are on the sidewalk and in crosswalks as a pedestrian, drivers and bicyclists must yield to you.
Under the RCW 46.61.050, pedestrians are required to follow traffic control signals. If you come upon an intersection that has a stop light or other traffic control signals or devices, you must do what they say. Most importantly, if the sign says “Do Not Walk,” you have to give vehicles the right of way. Only cross a controlled intersection when you have a “Walk” signal.
At an uncontrolled intersection, with or without a crosswalk, or at a marked crosswalk, vehicles should stop for you based on RCW 46.61.235. The law says vehicles should stop and remain stopped until you have the opportunity to cross the road in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This does not mean you can cross the road anywhere. This is specifically in areas, mostly intersections, where there are crosswalks. Under RCW 46.61.240, if you are crossing a road at any point other than a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, then vehicles have the right of way. This is “jaywalking,” and Seattle police are well known for handing out jaywalking tickets.
Whether or not you were following the law at the time of an accident can matter. The at-fault party, whether they were on a bike, riding a motorcycle, or driving a car, may argue that you were also at fault. If you fear you are going to be blamed for the accident and your injuries, call our Seattle pedestrian accident attorneys right away.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Seattle
Pedestrian accidents can involve bikes, motorcycles, cars, and commercial trucks. There are even some cases in which someone walking or jogging causes an incident. However, our Seattle pedestrian injury lawyers have handled numerous cases in which a negligent driver collides with a pedestrian. We have seen pedestrians hurt in car accidents in Seattle caused by:
- Vehicles failing to yield right of way to pedestrians in marked crosswalks
- Vehicles failing to yield right of way to pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks at intersections
- Vehicles speeding
- Vehicles making left or right turns into crossing pedestrians
- Distracted drivers
- Drowsy/fatigued drivers
- Drunk drivers
Other factors that contribute to vehicle-pedestrian accidents are using unmarked crosswalks, jaywalking, wearing dark clothing at night, and using electronics while walking. These are all factors that can come up during your claim. The driver may try to argue that you were partially at fault because of one of these or other factors. When this occurs, it is important to have a lawyer for injured pedestrians, who will counter these claims and push forward in pursuit of compensation.
Personal Injury Claims Following a Pedestrian Accident in Seattle
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Seattle and believe it was the other party’s fault, you should speak with a Seattle pedestrian accident attorney. We will thoroughly review your circumstances and advise you about your right to file a personal injury lawsuit and pursue a financial recovery. When there is evidence that another party’s careless or reckless behavior caused the accident, then you have support for a personal injury claim. This enables you, under the law, to pursue compensation for your:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
The value of your claim depends on a number of factors, including the type and extent of your injuries. If you were directly struck by a vehicle moving at a significant speed, you might be suffering serious injuries or coming to terms with a permanent disability. In these situations, your claim would be typically worth a greater amount than if you suffered minor-to-moderate injuries. To discuss how much your pedestrian accident claim may be worth, you should contact Emerald City Law Group.
Wrongful Death Claims After a Fatal Pedestrian Accident
If your loved one was killed in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, do not hesitate to contact our Seattle pedestrian accident lawyers. We will carefully review the situation and advise you on whether your family may benefit from a wrongful death claim. Under RCW 4.20.010, when a person’s death is caused by another individual’s wrongful act, negligence, or failure to act, then a representative of the person’s estate may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members.
Through a wrongful death claim, your family may obtain compensation for:
- Medical expenses associated with the accident
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the decedent’s income
- Loss of decedent’s employment benefits
- Loss of decedent’s retirement benefits
- Loss of your loved one’s companionship and society
- Family members’ emotional distress
- A spouse’s loss of an intimate relationship
Washington’s Contributory Negligence Law
During a personal injury or wrongful death claim related to a pedestrian accident, the allegedly at-fault party may claim that you or your loved one were negligent as well. In some cases, the other party intends for this to be a full defense. They may claim you were more than half at fault. In other cases, the party hopes that this will be a partial defense that lessens their financial liability.
Under RCW 4.22.005, a court can compare the negligence of each party. When the other party claims you too were at fault, then the judge will decide whether you were also negligent and if so, by how much. If you are found to be less than 50 percent responsible, you may obtain compensation. However, it will be reduced by your degree of responsibility. If a judge finds you were 50 percent or more at fault, then you cannot recover any compensation from the other party.
A Seattle Pedestrian Accident Lawyer from Emerald City Law Group Can Help
If you were hurt by a motor vehicle while walking, jogging, or running outside, it could be difficult to know what to do. Your first thought is naturally on recovering so you can get back to your life. You may not initially think about contacting an attorney. However, we highly recommend you do. By speaking to a lawyer for injured pedestrians, you can learn about your right to be compensated for your losses. At Emerald City Law Group, we will also discuss how we can help you handle the other person’s insurer, navigate the court system, and fight for the maximum financial recovery.
To talk to a car accident lawyer about how they can help after a pedestrian accident, call Emerald City Law Group at 206-973-0407 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Seattle personal injury lawyers. We are here to listen to your story and determine the strongest defense strategy available.
How a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
After any serious accident, there’s a lot to consider. But you don’t need to go through it alone.
At Emerald City Law Group, we know you are in pain and unsure about how to pay your bills. Even enjoying everyday activities can sometimes be taken away. This would be a lot for anyone and that’s why out personal injury attorneys are here to help with the burden you’re facing.
From dealing with insurance companies to helping determine liability, and all the way through a trial if necessary, we are prepared for whatever comes your way, so you get the financial security and peace of mind you need to properly recover. If you have been injured in an accident in King County, Washington or any surrounding area, you deserve justice and compensation. Contact Emerald City Law Group today at 206-973-0407.