Walking is an enjoyable form of exercise and a great, low-cost way to get around. But in a city like Kansas City, the roads are full of fast-moving cars, trucks and other vehicles. This can make it difficult and even dangerous to get around. Walking around moving cars and trucks makes any pedestrian vulnerable in a crash and more likely to sustain serious injuries in an accident.
Pedestrians are at a greater disadvantage in accidents because of their vulnerability. They may be seriously injured or incapacitated after the accident, and they won't be able to give a statement to police at the scene. But a negligent driver may claim that you “jumped out in front of the car,” or give a version of events that indicates you somehow caused the accident.
That’s why it’s important for you to understand how pedestrian accidents happen and how fault may be allocated. It also underscores why you should hire an experienced Kansas City pedestrian accident lawyer who will protect your rights and help you recover compensation for your injuries after a pedestrian accident.
How Pedestrian Accidents Happen
Risk factors for pedestrian accidents include:
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Driving while intoxicated or impaired
- Texting and driving
- Not paying attention to road signs or lights
- Not driving appropriately for the road conditions (rain, snow, etc.)
- Failing to yield to pedestrians with the right of way, whether at an intersection or crosswalk
- Ignoring road conditions, looking at their smartphones
- Intoxication (“walking under the influence”) with similar results as a DUI
- Jaywalking, or walking where a driver wouldn’t see them coming
- Crossing against traffic lights or signs and darting into oncoming traffic
- Walking at night wearing dark clothing, minus any reflective safety gear that alerts drivers
- Walking where pedestrians aren’t allowed, such as bridges, freeways, on- and off-ramps, and other areas where drivers increase their speed.
- Hybrid cars—quieter motors mean someone may not hear the car coming, especially while wearing earbuds and listening to something streaming on their smartphone.
Children are unfortunately often victims in a pedestrian accident as they do not understand the dangers inherent in moving vehicles or the laws regarding traffic signs or lights. The elderly are also more at risk, who may not be able to cross a street as fast as a more agile adult would.
Who’s At Fault in a Kansas City Pedestrian Accident?
Most people assume that the driver of the car is always at fault in a pedestrian accident. However, that’s not always the case. When a pedestrian isn’t paying attention to their surroundings while walking, they can find themselves in serious danger of an accident.
Because Kansas City has comparative fault laws, pedestrians can, in fact, be held liable for their own injuries, or at least in part. In a claim or a lawsuit, you will be assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. If, as a pedestrian, you walked out into the path of a speeding car, you may be found to be 25% responsible for the accident. This means you will only collect some of the damages you might have been entitled to.
If were very intoxicated at the time you were struck by a car, you could be assigned as much as 100% of the fault, and will not be able to collect any damages.
How to Prove Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
Insurers are always on the lookout, and will always try to find a way to avoid paying your claim. Proving fault may be difficult without sufficient evidence. Did you see the driver texting while driving? Was there evidence that the driver was intoxicated? What did the police say?
While you recuperate from your injuries, conducting an investigation is probably the last thing you want to undertake. You may not know what questions to ask, or to whom. A pedestrian accident attorney can investigate, gather information (including the police report), seek out evidence, and build a strong defense for your claim and/or court case. He or she can also speak to insurers on your behalf and make sure you receive a fair settlement and compensation for your injuries.
Advocates for Pedestrian Safety
Because accidents are a growing problem in urban areas, there are numerous advocacy organizations dedicated to reducing the number of pedestrian deaths due to car crashes.
- Modeled after a plan implemented in Sweden in the 1990’s, Vision Zero is a campaign across the US to make the roads safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Their goal is to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries to zero. This nonprofit entity works with communities all over the US, including cities in California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey to make streets safer for everyone.
- The Project For Public Spaces believes that street design should be more “humanized,” and this blog highlights five cities that have implemented changes towards a better design. By changing the design of streets and the signage that directs all traffic, public streets can be safer for everyone who uses them, and not just a thoroughfare for motor vehicles.
- The mission of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is to improve communities with safer walking and bicycling for communities and increasing the visibility of these issues to the general public. Partnered with a wide range of pedestrian advocacy organizations, PBIC offers free resources and webinars about public safety, including a recent webinar on pedestrians injured in left-turn crashes.
- The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also lists a number of resources for pedestrian safety, including resources to help teach children to be safe when walking to and from school.
Call Our Kansas City Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Your life may change forever after an accident. You may not go back to work for a while—or ever. After the initial shock, you have to deal with the aftermath. You have doctor visits, lost work, and possibly long-term disability, all while you’re trying to heal from your injuries. Don’t try to handle it alone.
Our Kansas City pedestrian accident lawyer, Kevin McManus, has helped hundreds of accident victims in Kansas City recover from pedestrian accidents. He will work with you to get the compensation you deserve so you can recover and get on with your life. Call him today at 816-203-0143 or use the online contact form for a free, no obligation consultation.