Healing after a pedestrian accident is a long road that can wreak havoc on an individual’s physical, financial, and emotional wellbeing. Drivers have a duty to watch out for pedestrians. They must follow traffic rules and take every reasonable measure to protect them from harm. When that doesn’t happen, injured people can — and should — hold motorists accountable for their negligence.
Fortunately, Michigan law allows people to seek compensation for their injuries if they’ve been hurt by someone else. Put a Grand Rapids pedestrian accident lawyer at Christensen Law to work for you. We’ll use our legal muscle to push for maximum compensation in your case. There’s no fee unless we win.
Questions? Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Grand Rapids, MI
Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted driving: Making a phone call, texting, adjusting the stereo, eating or drinking, and daydreaming can all lead to a collision, even if the driver was only distracted for a few seconds.
- Left-hand turns: Intersections are one of the dangerous places for pedestrians to be. Accidents often happen when drivers are turning left because they lose focus of pedestrians while they are trying to pay attention to oncoming cars.
- Crosswalks: Michigan drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks when their vehicle is traveling in the same half of the roadway where the vehicle is crossing. Crashes can happen when drivers disobey traffic laws or pedestrians step suddenly into traffic.
- Negligent driving: Drivers who speed, run red lights or stop signs, fail to use their turn signals, and make aggressive lane changes run the risk of hitting pedestrians in their path. That’s because these behaviors limit the amount of time and space a driver has to try to avoid an accident. It also increases the likelihood of a driver losing control of their vehicle and striking a pedestrian.
- Drunk driving: Intoxicated drivers have slower reflexes, reduced mental function, and impaired judgment. This increases the chances of them making maneuvers that put pedestrians in harm’s way, such as drifting out of lanes onto curbs or failing to see someone in a crosswalk.
- Drugged driving: Like alcohol, drug use can slow mental processes and reflexes. Some substances can also make users behave in an aggressive or unpredictable way, making it hard for people on foot to avoid a collision, even when they see it coming.
- Bad weather: Rain, snow, and sleet make it harder for vehicles to stop or stay in control on slippery surfaces. Bad weather like fog can also reduce visibility on roadways, making it harder for drivers to see and avoid someone on foot.
What to Do If You’re Hit By a Car While Walking
Pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries. Getting prompt medical treatment is essential to protect your health. It’s also the best way to protect any future legal claim you wish to file.
Follow these tips if you’ve been in a pedestrian accident:
- Call 911: This will summon emergency medical responders to the scene, as well as law enforcement. It will also be the start of the accident investigation. Make sure to get a copy of the police report.
- Collect evidence: Take photos of the accident scene and your injuries. Make sure to include shots of details that are relevant to the case, such as crosswalks, traffic controls, and signs. If there are witnesses, get their contact information and a short statement from them.
- Gather driver information: Get the make and model of the car that hit you, its license plate number, VIN number, and the driver’s insurance information.
- See a doctor: If you didn’t need emergency care at the scene, now is the time to see a doctor. Many serious injuries, such as internal bleeding and concussions, have a delayed onset. That means symptoms don’t emerge until days or even weeks after the accident. Getting examined right away accomplishes two goals: it ensures that you aren’t suffering from any hidden injuries and shows that you made every possible effort to avoid further harm.
- Contact a Grand Rapids pedestrian accident lawyer: An experienced attorney with Christensen Law can handle every aspect of your case for you. We’ll take over all communications with the insurance company and negotiate for a settlement on your behalf. That gives you time to focus on what matters most — recovering from your injuries.
Distracted Walking vs. Distracted Driving
Contrary to popular belief, pedestrians do not always have the right of way. Michigan driving laws make it clear that motorists and pedestrians both have a duty to look out for one another.
Distracted driving is a major cause of pedestrian accidents. However, an equally dangerous problem is distracted walking. Pedestrians may carelessly step into the path of an oncoming car if they’re talking on the phone, with friends, or listening to music.
Distracted walking can also happen if pedestrians are intoxicated from using alcohol or drugs. In these cases, while the driver may still bear some responsibility for the accident, the pedestrian is also partially responsible for what happened. This can make it harder — but not impossible — for the pedestrian to recover compensation.
Can Pedestrians Get No-Fault Compensation?
Yes. Pedestrians who are struck by a motor vehicle can get no-fault insurance benefits in Michigan. These benefits can come from your own auto insurance company or a family member’s insurer. If none of those sources are available, you can apply for benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
What Happens if a Pedestrian is Also To Blame?
A pedestrian’s own liability does not matter in order to obtain no-fault compensation. However, his/her portion of fault can play a huge role in the ability to collect money in a personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering.
Pedestrians can only file a lawsuit if their injuries qualify as a “serious impairment of bodily function” under Michigan law. Individuals may only be eligible if:
- The impairment is observable by someone other than the victim.
- The injury affects an important body function and interferes with his/her ability to lead a normal life.
It’s important to note that the impairment does not have to be permanent in order for a pedestrian to receive compensation for pain and suffering.
If you are partially at fault for a pedestrian accident, Michigan’s comparative fault rule will determine how much compensation you are able to receive. Comparative fault means that your ultimate award will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are assigned for the accident.
It’s smart to work with a pedestrian accident lawyer if fault is ever being challenged in your case. You can lose your right to all compensation if you are found 50 percent or more to blame. Because this is such a fine line, you can guarantee that the other party will be doing its best to push the fault onto you. A skilled lawyer at Christensen Law can anticipate these tactics and counter them so you are not treated unfairly.
Grand Rapids Pedestrian Laws
While Michigan does not have a state crosswalk law, there are certain rules in the state vehicle codes governing how drivers and pedestrians must behave around intersections and in other potentially dangerous areas. These laws include:
- Traffic signals: Drivers and pedestrians are required to watch for and follow traffic control signals like stop signs, traffic lights, and crosswalk signs.
- School zones: Because school zones are especially busy with pedestrian traffic, drivers are required to follow all signals as well as instructions from crossing guards.
- Road workers and emergency personnel: Construction workers, first responders, solid waste and utility workers, and others who work in close proximity to traveling vehicles have special protection under Michigan traffic regulations. Drivers should exercise special care when these workers are nearby, either by slowing down or moving to another lane.
- Highways and other high-traffic areas: Pedestrians are prohibited from certain limited-access roadways and highways with high traffic. In these areas, pedestrian traffic is only allowed in the event of an emergency like a vehicular breakdown.
Need Legal Help? Contact Our Grand Rapids Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
At Christensen Law, we know you’re hurting. We’re here to help. Our accomplished Grand Rapids car accident lawyers will investigate your case, estimate what it’s worth, and fight for you to receive the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation with Christensen Law by calling or using our online contact form now.