Pedestrians hit by a motor vehicle can sustain catastrophic injuries because of the lack of protection from the impact. If you were hit by a vehicle while walking the streets of Mobile, you should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. The Mobile pedestrian accident lawyers at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience helping injury victims in Alabama.
If a negligent driver struck you, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Call us today at (251) 432-6691 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. There is no fee unless we win, so call now to get started on your case.
Pedestrian Accidents in Alabama Are Increasing
Pedestrian safety in Mobile should be a priority for motorists, government agencies, and all residents. According to a news report, pedestrian deaths have increased by 60 percent since 2008. Mobile County was in the top two counties for the highest number of pedestrian deaths in Alabama.
In 2018, there were 861 pedestrian accidents in Alabama, which resulted in 106 fatalities and 691 injuries.
According to the GHSA preliminary data for pedestrian fatalities in 2019, Alabama had a 25 percent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2019 compared to the first half of 2018. From January to June 2018, there were 41 pedestrian deaths statewide. During the same period in 2019, the total of pedestrian deaths increased to 51.
Sadly, the increase in pedestrian fatalities is nationwide. According to the GHSA, 6,590 pedestrians died in the United States in 2019, a five percent increase from 2018. The number of pedestrians who died in 2019 is the highest number of pedestrian deaths for one year in more than three decades.
There are several reasons given for the increase in pedestrian deaths. The higher number of large vehicles on the road, including SUVs, is one reason for the increase in fatalities. The need for safer road crossings and unsafe driving behaviors are also mentioned as reasons for the increase in pedestrian deaths.
Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur in Mobile?
Pedestrians and motorists must follow traffic laws when using the roads. In most cases, the cause of pedestrian accidents is human error or negligence. Both pedestrians and motorists can make poor decisions that lead to tragic accidents.
Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving continues to be one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. However, distracted walking can also be the reason a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle.
- Alcohol-Impairment – Drunk driving is another reason for pedestrian accidents. As with distractions, walking while intoxicated can also cause a pedestrian to step out in front of traffic.
- Speeding – Speeding not only reduces the stopping distance for a vehicle, but it can also increase the severity of injuries from a pedestrian accident.
- Failing to Yield Right of Way – With very few exceptions, pedestrians have the right of way in a marked crosswalk. If a driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the accident is usually the motorist’s fault. However, pedestrians must obey traffic lights and pedestrian signals.
- Backing-Up Accidents – Drivers have a duty to check before they begin backing up. Backing-up accidents are common in parking lots and along neighborhood streets.
- Failing to Signal Turns – Drivers should signal before they turn at an intersection, parking lot, or driveway. If a driver fails to signal, a pedestrian does not know he or she should stop if the vehicle has the right of way.
- Decreased Visibility – In some cases, a motorist may not see a pedestrian, especially at night, dusk, or dawn. Pedestrians can be difficult to see in parking lots. Also, weather conditions can make it more difficult to see a pedestrian.
Determining the cause of the pedestrian accident is crucial for recovering compensation for injuries and damages. If the driver is at-fault for the cause of the accident, the driver is liable for the pedestrian’s injuries and damages.
Common Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
The injuries in a pedestrian accident vary and depend on the circumstances. Each accident is different. A low-speed pedestrian accident could result in minor injuries or severe injuries, depending on the other factors.
A pedestrian has no protection from the impact of the vehicle. In many cases, the pedestrian is crushed beneath the vehicle or thrown backward or upward. The collision can result in life-threatening injuries and permanent impairments.
Although a pedestrian accident can cause numerous types of injuries, some common pedestrian injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Broken Bones
- Skull Fractures
- Crushing Injuries, including damage to internal organs and bones
- Concussions and Contusions
- Broken Necks
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Lacerations and Scrapes
- Sprains and Strains
- Soft Tissue Injuries, including damage to muscles, nerves, and tendons
- Emotional Trauma
It is impossible to list all of the pedestrian accident injuries that a person could sustain. However, any injury could result in intensive medical treatment or lifelong impairments that result in significant damages.
What Damages Are Available in a Pedestrian Injury Claim?
The damages from a pedestrian accident are typically divided into two categories — economic and noneconomic damages. A third category, punitive damages, is rare in pedestrian cases. Punitive damages are reserved for cases that involve gross negligence and a willful, wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Examples of economic damages that might be included in a pedestrian injury claim are:
- Loss of income and benefits, including wages, bonuses, overtime pay, and commissions
- A decrease in earning potential, in cases of permanent impairment
- Costs of medical care, such as doctor’s bills, counseling, physical therapy, surgeries, hospital costs, medications, and medical equipment
- Expenses related to personal care, such as help with household chores, bathing, dressing, feeding, and other activities of daily living
- Decrease in the person’s quality of life and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering, including physical, emotional, and mental suffering
- Permanent impairments, including disabilities, scarring, and disfigurements
The value of a pedestrian accident claim depends on the type and severity of injuries and the total financial damages. You can help increase your chance of recovering maximum compensation by carefully documenting your damages and injuries and working with an experienced Mobile pedestrian accident lawyer.
Can You Still Recover Compensation if You Were Partly at Fault?
Alabama has one of the harshest standards for contributory negligence in personal injury cases. Only three other states and the District of Columbia use the pure contributory negligence standard.
If you are partially to blame for your injuries, you cannot recover any compensation from the other party. In other words, if you contributed to the cause of the accident in any way, you are barred from recovering compensation for your damages and injuries.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys often raise allegations of contributory negligence. They use this defense as a way to avoid paying a valid claim for pedestrian injuries.
Why Should I Hire a Mobile Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
A Mobile pedestrian accident attorney understands how insurance companies and defense lawyers fight pedestrian accident claims. Therefore, it is usually in a person’s best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible after being struck by a vehicle. The attorney immediately begins investigating the crash and gathering evidence to prove fault.
Some of the evidence that your attorney may gather when investigating a pedestrian accident includes, but is not limited to:
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical records
- Video of the accident from traffic cameras or other sources
- Cell phone records for the driver
- Police reports and accident reports
- Results of any criminal charges against the driver
Some evidence could disappear with time. Also, the memories of eyewitnesses can fade with time. It is important to investigate the accident as soon as possible to preserve critical evidence that can be used to argue against contributory negligence allegations.
In addition to investigating the accident, your Mobile pedestrian accident attorney also:
- Provides support and guidance for you and your family
- Identifies insurance coverage for your claim
- Gathers evidence of damages
- Calculates the value of your pedestrian injury claim
- Monitors deadlines for filing claims
- Files insurance claims
- Prepares detailed demand settlement package
- Negotiates with the insurance company
- Files a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary
Our legal team works diligently on every aspect of your case to protect your best interests. We want to take away the stress of dealing with insurance claims adjusters, attorneys, and other parties so that you can focus on your recovery. We are here to help you when you need trusted legal counsel after an injury.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Pedestrian Accident in Alabama?
Most claims for injuries and damages in Alabama have a two-year Statute of Limitations. Therefore, pedestrian accident lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the accident, or you lose the right to do so. However, if your claim involves a government entity, you have just six months to file a claim with the municipality.
There are a few exceptions to the two-year deadline for filing a lawsuit in a pedestrian accident case. However, it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you miss the deadline, you lose your legal remedies for a pedestrian injury.
Contact an Experienced Mobile Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Were you injured in a pedestrian accident? If so, we want to help.
Contact the Mobile pedestrian accident lawyers of Lattof & Lattof for a free consultation to discuss your case. Let us help you seek the justice you deserve after being injured in a pedestrian accident.